O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, how I must climb your branches...
If you have a cat or cats, chances are that you are nervous about putting up that Christmas tree. Even the slowest, fattest, oldest, laziest cats become kitty Olympians the moment the tree makes an appearance. Decorating for Christmas can happen for cat owners - just keep the cat in mind to keep the holidays merry, bright and safe.
my cat has more Christmas spirit than me... pic.twitter.com/QHImpaSzD2
— lauren jackson (@Laurenkayy33) December 3, 2015
Many decorations are unsafe for our feline friends, and it's our job to ensure that we keep the holidays fun, festive and safe for them. Let's start with the tree itself, as we know how much kitties love it. Christmas trees need a stable stand, and while you might have a petite cat or kitten, the tree should be secured to either the wall or window with something like a fishing line. The shorter the tree, the better, as it's safer to drop from a three-foot height than a seven-foot one.
Have you seen trees hanging from ceilings? Those must have been designed by a cat owner and are not a bad idea at all, according to Pet Education. Also, keep an eye out in case you have a cat who loves to chew. Tree needles can be toxic if ingested, so keep the dropped needles swept up. If you have a young kitten, try wrapping the trunk in tinfoil, since cats don't like the feel of it on their paws nor the sound it makes, according to Wikihow. Dab a little tea tree oil on the tinfoil, too. The scent should also deter the curious kitty.
Next in line is the tinsel, icicles and garland. Shiny is festive, and it will surely attract your cat! However, if ingested, those sparkly things can also cause blockages that require expensive surgery. Cat lovers should find another way to add sparkle to the tree and forgo these cat attractants.
It just goes without saying that we have to watch our chewers around the electrical cords at the tree. Just like any other electrical cord, these are dangerous to any animal that chews, with electrical shock or worse, death, as the danger here. Use a repelling product such as Bitter Apple spray, or dab some tea tree oil on the cord to deter your tabby.
What kind of ornaments do you have on your tree? Glass ornaments knocked off can shatter and cause cuts, and the hooks they dangle from can embed into your cats paws or mouth. If you have some ornaments you just have to have on the tree, then place them high and out of reach. Use the lower branches for large, less cat-intriguing ornaments.
If you are using a live tree, change the water daily. The water can harbor dangerous bacteria, fertilizers and insecticides from the tree, all of which are deadly for you cat. Many are flame retardant, using deadly chemicals to get them that way. Use a tree skirt to make it tougher for your curious cat to get into the water.
When in doubt, don't use it, Pet 360 noted. They are just material things; your cat is so much more important. Come up with a creative idea to showcase your special decorations in other ways around your home. Decorate your holiday home with your cat in mind, and you should have a fun, festive, merry Christmas this year.
— Darren Hultgren (@darrenhultgreno) December 16, 2014