The Christmas tree is a symbol of the holidays, but for a cat it’s one big amusement park of sparkling lights and coloured baubles. There are cats that steal a few decorations and run off feeling guilty, and others that are more brazen and proceed to investigate further, just to make sure you’ve put the star in the right place.
- If this is the first year you are sharing the festivities with a cat, you should try to convince it to leave your crystal decorations and the tree alone.
Many people may decide not to have a Christmas tree at all, simply because they think the cat and the tree won’t be a good combination. However, it’s really just a question of a few simple precautions, to teach kitty not to break our ornaments, but also to avoid any accidents that could hurt the animal: cuts on its paws or tummy upsets (even poison) from chewing on the ornaments.
Here’s what to do:
- CHOOSING THE TREE: better small and artificial. If you choose a real tree, don’t get one that is too big and do wrap the trunk in aluminium foil so the cat doesn’t use it as a scratching post. Remember to place the tree, whichever you choose, on a solid base.
- A SAFE PLACE far from the sofa and shelves that the cat could use as a launch pad. It’s also a good idea to set up the tree a few days before decorating it, so the animal gets used to its being there.
- SAY NO firmly if the cat goes near the tree. If he keeps doing it, spray him lightly with water from a spray bottle to discourage him. Getting wet really bothers him! Another tip is to spray the tree with citronella or citrus essence, which cats detest. A few orange and tangerine peels under the tree are also a good repellent.
- THE ORNAMENTS should be placed beginning two thirds of the way up the tree using metal hooks that can’t be pulled off and carried around the house. It’s a good idea not to have the ornaments hanging from the lower branches. Avoid ribbons that can be swallowed and artificial snow, which is poisonous for cats. Don’t hang chocolate ornaments as they are very bad for cats. Plastic ornaments are better than glass ones.
- NOW JUST RELAX. Cats are unpredictable and if they’ve decided that the tree will be their hiding place for a few days you’ll simply have to come to terms with it. Just make sure the ornaments are secured so they don’t fall down, and if you surprise kitty hiding in the branches take its picture… it could make a perfect Christmas card!