Trust me. With some planning, cats and Christmas trees can coexist. I’ve come up with lots of ways to keep cats off the Christmas tree, some of them based on my own unhappy personal experience. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you what they are.
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How do you keep cats off the Christmas tree, Thomasina? I’m so tired of picking ornaments up off the floor. –Annoyed Cat Mom
Hi Annoyed Cat Mom…
I’m so sorry you’re having problems keeping your cats off the Christmas tree. But look at it from their point of view. They don’t realize it’s something really special to you. They must be so excited that you brought a tree inside for them and filled it with glittery, dangling things for them to catch and swat around the house. They’re probably wondering why you’re upset that they’re scattering their new toys all over everywhere.
I can tell you some ways to keep cats off the Christmas tree. But first…
How To Keep Cats From Knocking Over The Christmas Tree
I actually did this, and it wasn’t good. I was terrified, and our human was really upset. Fortunately, none of the ornaments broke. That would have made things even worse.
So here are some ways to avoid my unhappy mistake and keep cats from knocking over the Christmas tree.
♦ Put the tree in a heavy stand so even a clowder (Did you know this? That’s what a group of cats is called!) working together can’t knock it over.
♦ Screw a hook into the wall and attach a thin wire to both the hook and the tree. Or put a hook in the ceiling and attach the wire to both the hook and the top of the tree.
♦ Put your tree as far from furniture as possible so your cats won’t leap into the tree from the sofa or their favorite chair.
♦ If you have a small tree (under six feet), tape the tree stand to a piece of plywood and put the whole thing on a low but sturdy table. Your cats might not even notice it, and they’ll be less interested in it if they have to look up to see it.
♦ Put your tree up a few days before you decorate it. That’ll give your cats a chance to check it out and even climb it if they want to. By the time you decorate the tree, they’ll have lost interest in it. And take it from me. Climbing a tree with prickly little needles once is usually more than enough. When I did it, the needles got stuck in my long fur. I’ll never do that again!
Trust Me, You Can Keep Cats Off The Christmas Tree
It takes some planning to keep cats off the Christmas tree. And it helps if you can think, not just like a cat, but like your cats. All of us are different, and what works for one cat might not work for all. Here are eight ways to keep cats off the Christmas tree.
1. Before you decorate the tree, spray it with Bitter Apple. You won’t notice the smell, but most cats hate the taste.
2. Put a curved ScatMat around your tree. It won’t harm your cats. But they won’t like the tingling sensation underfoot and will stay away. Personally, I hate these things. A neighbor put one on her doormat, and none of us ever went near her condo again. Electronic deterrents that make a loud noise only cats can hear work, too.
3. Put pinecones around your tree. While they’ll look festive to you, your cats won’t like walking on them.
4. Leave the bottom third of your tree undecorated or used unbreakable ornaments.
5. Use twist ties or ribbon to attach the ornaments to your tree so even the most determined cat can’t pull them off and swat them across the room.
6. Put an inclined corrugated scratcher near the tree. The bigger the better! Sprinkle it with catnip or silvervine. This will be even more fun than the tree because there won’t be any prickly needles to deal with.
7. This is my favorite suggestion. Get your cats their own little tree and decorate it with cat-safe ornaments. They’ll have so much fun, and they’ll leave your tree alone. And if they like sleeping under it, could you leave it up all year or until they get tired of it? That would make them very happy!
8. Just one more thing: Tape down the excess wire from the lights or wrap it around the tree. You don’t want the cats to play with it or chew it.
Please, please don’t use a spray bottle to keep your cats off the Christmas tree. That will only teach them to play with the ornaments when you’re not looking, and it could make them afraid of you.
Holiday Hazards For Cats
I hate to say this, Annoyed Cat Mom, but keeping cats off the Christmas tree isn’t the only thing to plan for during the holidays. There are all kinds of hazards to think about, too. The poinsettia plant isn’t one of them though.
The ASPCA’s Poison Control Center says eating the leaves of a poinsettia plant can cause mild stomach upset, but they’re not lethal. The Christmas plants that are really dangerous for cats are Holly and Mistletoe.
Other holiday food hazards for cats include onions and onion powder; chocolate; eggnog, wine and any other kind of alcoholic drink; and cooked or raw turkey bones.
Artificial snow, pine needles and the water in your tree stand can be toxic to cats, too, so be sure to keep your tree stand covered. And about those pine needles: They can puncture internal organs if swallowed, so don’t let your cats lick them off their fur.
Tinsel and ribbon are choking hazards and can cause a nasty blockage if swallowed.
And finally, the essential oils in those scented candles you love so much and in potpourri can make your cats very sick. We also find the smell really annoying. Try to celebrate the holidays without them, if you can. Or think about unscented flameless candles. They even come with a remote!
If you’ll excuse me, Annoyed Cat Mom, I need to go now. All this dictation has made me tired, and I need to take a nap under our cat Christmas tree. We leave it up all year, and it looks so pretty in our living room.
I hope some of my suggestions help you keep cats off the Christmas tree. And happy holidays to you and your cats from all the cats at my house!