The holiday season is a time for celebration, and one of the most festive events is decorating your Christmas tree. However, cats can be fickle creatures when it comes to decorations.
Why are cats so interested in Christmas trees?
Cats are curious and love to climb trees and hide in small spaces, so it’s no surprise cats are drawn to our Christmas trees. Although we can’t guarantee that your Christmas tree will be 100% cat free, there are a number of considerations when buying, preparing and decorating a tree that can help minimise the risks involved.
Buying the tree
Artificial trees are best
When it comes to buying a cat-friendly Christmas tree, artificial is best. Real trees are far more attractive to cats for a number of reasons; not only are they fragrant, but the pine needles can also be fun to chew on and the tree trunk is perfect for climbing or scratching. We also recommend picking a tree that can support your cat’s weight, so they don’t fall out of the tree if they try to climb it.
Setting up the tree
Position it out of the way
The first step to putting up the Christmas tree is getting it into position to ensure it’s as cat friendly as possible. It’s important that there aren’t any sharp objects near the tree; this includes anything with glass pieces like vases and picture frames and wreaths with ribbons attached–these things could increase any injury caused by the tree falling over.
Prepare the base
Place your tree on an even surface and ensure it doesn’t rock. If your tree isn’t stable, your cat could tip it over and cause damage to the base, or even worse, push it over completely. If you choose a real tree, make sure your cat can’t get access to the water in the stand, as this could be potentially toxic for your cat. The soil could also get used as a litter tray, so it’s crucial that your cat can’t get access. If your cat loves Christmas trees, you could wrap your base in tin foil to act as a deterrent.
Avoid positioning it near “launching zones.”
Place the tree away from windows, doors, and other furniture your cat could use as a ‘launching zone’ to jump onto the tree.
Decorating the tree
Be careful with the lights and electricity
If your cat is particularly curious, hide any electrical chords as best as possible. For maximum safety, we recommend securing them in a cupboard or box your cat can’t access and spraying them with cat repellent spray. It’s also vital to always unplug the lights when your cats may be close to the tree unsupervised.
Tie instead of hang ornaments
If you’ve got a cat, the best way to keep them from messing with your Christmas tree is to tie ornaments instead of hanging them; this will ensure they’re more secure and stop your cats from playing the fun game of knocking them off. If you need to DIY your ornaments to make them tie ornaments, try using nylon string or sewing thread instead of real tinsel—it’s safer for cats and easier to remove if needed!
Choose durable ornaments
Always choose durable ornaments, and avoid anything made of glass, china or other fragile materials which may maximise the damage or potential injury if your cat plays with your Christmas tree.
Never use tinsel in a household with cats; if it’s accidentally swallowed, it can get stuck in your cat’s mouth or stomach and cause life-threatening injuries that cost a lot to get fixed. If you would like a similar aesthetic, using ribbon is a great alternative.