Have a Cat? Here’s How to Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree
Do you have a cat? Are you ready to decorate for Christmas with a feline friend in your family? Christmas trees and cats can sometimes be a disastrous combination, and it’s important to take steps to keep your tree safe and secure from your cat—and vice-versa—during the holiday season.
In the article below, you’ll find a few tips that can help you protect your cat and your tree both when Christmastime rolls around. You can use this information to figure out the best method for decorating, cat proofing the Christmas tree and ensure your cat is safe and secure, too.
Fasten the Tree
Make sure the tree is very sturdy. Place it in a tree base or on a stand and consider fastening it to the wall as well. If you use a real tree, opt for the type of stand that screws into the tree; fake trees usually come with their own stands. By securing the tree to a stand and to the wall, you limit the ability your cat has to knock it over altogether.
Cover the Water
If you use a real tree, it will have a bowl attached to the stand at the bottom for water. This will help keep the tree alive for a few weeks and prevent it from becoming a fire hazard by the time Christmas is over, too.
This water is tempting to cats (and dogs) who have access to it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to cover the water with a tree skirt. If your cat can get through the tree skirt too easily, consider covering some cardboard with holiday wrapping paper and taping it to the top of the bowl instead.
Consider Fake or Short Trees
Fake trees are a better solution for many cats. Since real trees shed their needles from the moment you put them up, they become tempting to cats who might pick the needles up off the ground and swallow them. Fake trees do not do this; however, if your cat chews on the tree regardless, fake trees are still dangerous.
Short trees can also be a better option for some cats, since they are less likely to climb a short tree than a tall one. If a short tree falls over, it can do less damage, too.
Avoid Tinsel and Reconsider Lights
Tinsel is very dangerous to cats. It is a choking hazard and is much too tempting to most cats, who will want to pull it off the tree, chew on it, and otherwise play with it. Skip the tinsel entirely when decorating your cat-safe Christmas tree.
Additionally, you may want to reconsider using lights—or get creative with the way you use them. If you do use lights on your tree, and if your cat is prone to chewing on cords, make sure you always unplug the Christmas tree when the cat is unsupervised.
Secure Ornaments Well
You will need to plan to attach your ornaments to the tree with more than just a simple ornament hook. Try using some craft wire to tie the ornaments onto the branches of the tree instead or use yarn or ribbons to do the same. Just make sure whatever you use to tie the ornaments with is not something that will entice your cat further.
Also, try placing your ornaments further back on the branches than you ordinarily might. With more of the branch to support them, it is harder for cats to remove ornaments from the tree, even if they do play with them.
Ignore the Bottom of the Tree
Some pet parents might think it can look a little silly to only decorate the top two thirds of your Christmas tree but skipping the bottom of the tree can make it much safer for your cat. With nothing hanging low on the tree to entice him to play with it, your cat will be a lot less likely to bother the tree in the first place.
If you do want to decorate the bottom third of the tree, consider using very cat-safe ornaments. Plush ornaments are a great option here, since they won’t break if your cat knocks them off and they won’t create a choking hazard, either.
Time to Decorate Your Cat-Safe Christmas Tree
As you can see, with the right planning and coordination, it’s not too difficult to keep your cat and your Christmas tree safe from each other. However, since there are several parts of a Christmas tree that can pose a risk to cats, it’s important to consider which ones you absolutely must have and which you can do without, too.
When it comes to keeping cats around Christmas trees, less is always more. The fewer decorations you use, the less likely your cat will be to run risks during the holidays. This is true of all Christmas and other holiday decorations as well.