Cat Proofing your Christmas Tree
Veterinarian Reviewed on December 14, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Cats love Christmas and Christmas trees. It is only natural that your cat should be interested in all the lights and ornaments on your tree and the tree itself, but many cats (including one of my own) have caused havoc by climbing the tree or pulling it over. Here are a few tips to keep your cat and the tree safe.
An artificial tree is safer for the cat as it does not shed the needles that some cats love to eat. If you have a real tree, keep it well watered and vacuum up the needles regularly. Tinsel is always a no-no when you have cats. It causes gastrointestinal issues and obstructions. Never leave lights on when you can not supervise the cat and the tree. Cats have been known to chew cords and get fatal electrical shocks.
How about keeping the cat away from the tree?
Without a doubt the best thing to do is locate the tree in a room or area that the cat does not have access to. Most of the time, though this is not possible, so try these other suggestions.
Be sure the tree has a sturdy stand that is well balanced and weighted. Attach some fishing line to the tree and fasten it to hooks in the wall to help keep the tree in place.
Place the lights and ornaments up higher than the cat can reach. Use only non breakable ornaments.Try spraying the lower branches with bitter orange or peppermint as the cats do not like the smell of either. Apparently orange peels around the base of the tree will also keep cats away, provided the dog does not eat them. Carpet runners upside down around the bottom of the tree help keep the cats away as they do not like the feel of the nubs on their feet.
If all else fails, do what we did when my kids were small–put the tree in a playpen. At least that way if it falls, it is not going far!
Happy Tree Decorating and best wishes for a safe Christmas season.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan