That’s right – your cat isn’t the only one who messes up the Christmas tree! Plenty of cats around the world also have a sneaky obsession with Christmas trees. Some cats have even gone viral thanks to their curiosity paired with the family Christmas tree and a little YouTube video.
While it’s easy to have a laugh at the silly nature of these kitties, the seriousness of the situation still stands. Many cats can become critically injured or severely hurt if they end up with a tree toppled over them. Luckily, as we know, cats have nine lives, they usually live to tell the tale. While this seems fairly ominous, there are a few precautions you can take to ensure that your cat doesn’t make contact with the Christmas tree this year. So save yourself the strife and cat proof your Christmas tree now!
What’s their obsession?
Christmas trees are naturally tempting for cats to jump on and climb because they’re colourful, bright and intriguing. They pop up once a year and then get packed away or thrown out so it’s natural for your cat to be curious about the tree. Think about it – if you were a cat, you’d be immediately drawn to the big green tree with flashy coloured lights, fluffy gold tinsel and big dangly baubles! It’s just like a giant play-thing for your cat to pounce on. Christmas trees, both artificial and real have a natural and distinctive scent so they are generally quite enticing for your cat.
There are plenty of hazards surrounding the seemingly humble Christmas tree once your cat gets involved. Real trees in particular can pose a big threat to cats if they’re played with or pounced on. They can take a tumble and fall on the cat, trapping them underneath and bringing down things around it. Spikey pine trees are sharp and can cause some real damage to cats, plus their sap can get stuck in fur and whiskers which might cause a bit of strife to remove.
There are a few more serious dangers that come with having a real Christmas tree in your house. Your cat can easily bite off needles from the tree and if they’re digested they can pose a threat to your cat’s digestive system. Similarly, if they munch on any tinsel hanging off the tree this can seriously upset their tummies.
If kitty manages to pull down the Christmas tree into the fireplace or on top of candles the result can be disastrous! Make sure that the tree isn’t nearby any potential fire hazards to keep everyone, especially your cat safe around the festive season.
Cat proof your Christmas tree
1.What kind of tree?
Cat proofing the Christmas tree starts from the moment you ask what kind of tree you want. Artificial trees are far less hazardous for cats to be around. They pose less of a threat to your cats because they aren’t as heavy and the pine needles are fake so in most cases they are softer than the real deal. Real pine can be sharp and has the potential to pierce or puncture your cat’s skin. Plus if the tree contains sap, it’s likely to be quite poisonous for your cat.
We recommend that you get an artificial tree that has inbuilt LED lights with soft greenery. This way if disaster strikes and your cat brings down the tree, it won’t cause as much damage as a larger tree would. It’s small enough to not bring down surrounding items with it and light enough to not wound your cat if they get trapped under it.
2. Select a solid base
When selecting a base for the tree, pick one that is solid and not flimsy or insecure. This includes thick buckets or pre-made stands which anchor the tree to a particular spot. By selecting a tree with a sturdy base, you’ll lower the risk of the tree taking a tumble should your cat jump on it. If you have a real tree and the base contains water then use a cover or a sheet so that your cat cannot access the water. Your cat should not be drinking this water because it is murky and unclean. Place the cover over the base so that your cat cannot access the water or the base, making it near impossible for them to push the tree over or drink from the tree’s water supply.
3.Location, Location, Location.
It’s very important to scout for the perfect area in your house for the tree before assembling it. Position the tree in an area away from fragile items and electronics. If possible, pick a room in your house that can be sectioned off. An ideal place to put up the tree would be in an area that isn’t around any electrical equipment, valuables or fragile items. Should the tree take a fall ‘TIMBER!’ because of a spontaneous feline attack, then it won’t damage anything coming down.
As always, electrical wires and cats do not mix. This is no different around Christmas trees. Exposed wires or suspended cords appeal to your cat because they’re flimsy and in most cases, down to your cat’s level. If they’re within reach for your cat they can easily chew, swat or pull the cables which can be a recipe for disaster. Tuck all wires for your Christmas lights behind the tree and make sure they aren’t easy to access for your cat. Popular temporary fixes include using electrical tape which can be found at Officeworks to cover the wires and tape them to the floor. It’s important that they aren’t accessible to your cat because instinctually, the moment they get their paws on cords they will want to have a sneaky chew.
5.Use cat scratch spray
Yes this does exist! Anti-scratching spray is the secret weapon used by cat owners everywhere. Most sprays are made from natural and non-toxic ingredients which are not harmful for your cat. By using a spritz of the spray on any object in your house, your cat will be deterred from scratching. Use some on the base of the tree to discourage your cat from sniffing, scratching or climbing the tree.
6.Distract with cat toys
If your cat is totally fixated on the Christmas tree, you need to offer them an alternative to distract them. Something that requires their full attention. Cat toys and teasers serve as a good distraction.
There are plenty of adorable Christmas themed toys to get your cat into the festivities without bringing down the tree! You can use these toys to get your cat’s attention away from the tree whenever you suspect they might be sizing it up.
Uses up their energy
By giving your cat particular toys to play with, this will drain their energy faster – giving them less energy to pull down the tree! Instead of sniffing out the tree or sizing it up they’ll be too occupied with something they’re actually meant to be playing with. Good for the cat, good for you and good for the tree!
Don’t leave anything dangling at the bottom of the tree. This is important because should your cat get a hold of even the tiniest bauble, they can use it to tilt the tree enough that it tips over.This includes ornaments, models and candles or candle holders at the base of the tree. Basically anything that might be extra tempting to play with for your cat. If it resembles a cat teaser, your cat will be attracted to it – it’s as simple as that. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use decorations at all – where would the fun be in that?! The best thing to do is to hang dangly ornaments in your tree higher up and fill the bottom half of your tree with tinsel and small lights, ensuring that they’re tucked into the tree properly and not drooping below the bottom branches.
Plenty of people will tell you not to use decorations like tinsel at all if your cat keeps mucking around with your Christmas tree. We think that’s a bit of a Scrooge decision, after all what’s a tree without a little shiny tinsel? By placing tinsel in the middle layers of the tree and tucking it in towards the trunk, your cat won’t be able to access it. It’s a quick fix that will keep everybody happy.
Finally, do not place presents at the base of the tree that can easily tempt your cat. Avoid laying out presents on the floor for kitty to hack into – the last thing everyone wants is a spoiler alert before Christmas day! Some presents may even be used as a booster for kitty so they can jump higher up on to the tree. The best thing to do is fill up stockings with all the Christmas goodies so that they’re out of reach from your cat.
Summing Up It All Up
It’s really important not to lose sight of the fun and joy that comes with Christmas time. Even if you do encounter a little accident and your cat brings down the Christmas tree, don’t get angry! Simply pull the tree back up and make sure your cat is alright. Cats and Christmas trees can be a recipe for disaster, but once you’ve cat-proofed your tree all that is left to do is celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!So make sure this Christmas is a safe one - keep your Christmas tree upright and your cat out of it! Finally, don’t forget to treat your cat to a little gift too this Christmas. Reward them for keeping peace with the Christmas tree and include them in on the festivities!
There is one last suggestion:
On behalf of the team here at My Pet Warehouse, have a very Meowy Christmas!