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- Christmas Safety Tips for Cat Owners
- Prevent your cat from chewing on the tree and ornaments
- Make your Christmas tree as stable as possible
- If you have a live tree, never let your cat drink from the water in the tree stand
- Avoid using tinsel, strings, and hooks as part of your tree decorations
- Christmas foliage can be toxic!
- Candles are dangerous
- Christmas can be very stressful for some cats
- Rich Christmas food is not good for your cat!
- Never give a kitten or a puppy as a Christmas gift
- Keep your cats safe over the holiday
- Cats and Christmas - Members Pictures
- Cats and Christmas Trees Caught on Video
- Are you a Grinch or a Santa? Take the Quiz!
Christmas Safety Tips for Cat Owners
You will be hard-pressed to stop your cat from exploring the tree. So instead, here are some tips to make that tree cat-safe.
Prevent your cat from chewing on the tree and ornaments
Some cats just love chewing on stuff. When it comes to the Christmas tree, branches and needles seem to be a favorite item on the menu for many a feline. Real pine needles can be toxic to cats, and even plastic ones can hurt the cat's digestive system. Trees are often sprayed with fire retardants which could be harmful if ingested in large amounts. Chewing on the lights -- and any electric cords -- is very dangerous as well.
Here's What You Can Do:
- If possible, opt for a plastic tree. Plastic pine needles are less harmful if ingested and they are less likely to fall off the tree on their own. If you have a real tree, water it properly to prevent it from drying out and excessively shedding its needles.
- Unplug the lights and any electric appliances when not in use or during the night when you cannot monitor your cat's interaction with the tree.
- Place some orange peels around the base of the tree or spray the lower branches and electric cords with bitter apple spray. Some cats can be repelled by the scents and stay away from the tree (or will at least avoid chewing on it).
Make your Christmas tree as stable as possible
Chances are your cat will try to climb all over it sooner than later. Most cats try to climb the tree at some point or another, or at the very least use it as a scratching post. A regular tree stand may not be able to support the weight of a cat or hold up against a well-aimed charge, and you may end up returning to a toppled-over tree with the decorations shattered or strewn around the home.
Make sure that the base of the tree is heavier than the top, even after all the decorations are hanging from those branches!
If you have a live tree, never let your cat drink from the water in the tree stand
The water in the tree stand can be hazardous to your cat. The tree itself secretes toxins into the water, and as if that's not enough, many people add preservatives to the water, aspirin being a common choice, that is just as toxic to cats, if not more so.
What You Can Do:
- Opt for a plastic tree that doesn't need watering.
- If you have a live tree, make sure the water is not accessible to your cat by covering it tightly.
- Keep your cat away from the base of the tree by spraying the area with bitter apple spray.
Avoid using tinsel, strings, and hooks as part of your tree decorations
All are extremely dangerous to cats if swallowed. Fragile ornaments can be dangerous. Glass shreds on the carpet are a safety hazard to humans as well as felines. So keep all breakable ornaments out of your cat's reach.
Christmas foliage can be toxic!
Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, ivy, and Christmas roses, as well as the Christmas tree itself, are all harmful to pets. Holly and mistletoe can be fatal. Poinsettias and ivy bring on bad digestive upset and pine needles when swallowed can pierce internal organs. Try not to use ornamental plants or keep them well out of reach. Spray the lower branches of the tree with an anti-chew plant spray. Sweep up any dead needles lying about, and always be vigilant.
Candles are dangerous
If you burn candles, do so safely. A curious swish of a tail can cause a burning candle to dump over and disaster can result. Inquisitive cats can burn their nose, ears paws, or tail getting too close to a flame. Instead of spending the holidays with your family, then you might end up spending it with your vet!
Christmas can be very stressful for some cats
All the changes in the decoration, having guests over or simply changing the familiar routine can bring on anxiety in your cat. Make sure you don't neglect them. Spend at least 15-20 minutes a day with them, grooming and playing interactive games. If you're having guests, your cat has to maintain some privacy in the house. Be sure the litter pan and the feeding area are far enough away from the festivities, so as not to disrupt their normal habits.
Rich Christmas food is not good for your cat!
Make sure your cat keeps to their regular diet and doesn't feast on Christmas delicacies. Most of the foods we love are bad for cats and may cause upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea. Instruct your visitors and guests not to feed your animals without your permission.
Never give a kitten or a puppy as a Christmas gift
Let all your friends know that this is not an acceptable gift under any circumstance. Too many cute kittens and puppies who begin their lives as Christmas gifts, end them shortly afterward in the local shelter or on the streets. Getting a cat or a dog is a lifelong commitment that should receive the special consideration it warrants.
Keep your cats safe over the holiday
What measures need to be taken in your home is for you to figure out, depending on the temperament of your own cat. Some people choose not to have a Christmas tree because of their cats; others choose not to have any ornaments on the tree or avoid electric lights and tinsel, and many simply keep ornaments off the lower branches. If this is your cat's first Christmas with a tree, make sure all interactions are supervised until you identify all possible risks and address them.
Let us know in a comment to this article what you do to keep your kitty safe during the holidays! If you have any questions or wish to share your pictures too, do visit the cat forums section and post them there. And now, let's share some Christmas fun, of the feline kind!
Cats and Christmas - Members Pictures
Enjoy these pictures of TheCatSite cats and Christmas we've had posted on the forums over the years:
Cats and Christmas Trees Caught on Video
Indeed, it almost seems like our cats' wild ancestry hard-wires them to interact with trees. It's little wonder that when we bring a tree into our house, it proves to be a source of infinite fascination for our felines. We usually don't stop there, either: We make the extra effort of hanging these wonderfully attractive jingling cat toy decorations all over them. It's little wonder that these trees become cat magnets the moment they're put up.
Over the years, members of our forums here on TheCatsite.com have shared many stories about their cats' interactions with Christmas trees. To be fair, cats' reactions to Christmas trees are as idiosyncratic as cats themselves. Many report that their cats, usually elderly ones, show little interest in the tree or its decorations, while others describe a variety of shenanigans -
- "They love the tree skirt. Occasionally they will fight for a spot and climb on the lower branches during their attack."
- "PJ just sneaks through the doorway, races around the corner upstairs.....stops dead in his tracks when he sees the Christmas tree....we've had it about 4 hours now, not decorated yet. Realizes I'm hot on his heels, so he takes off... makes his leap... and.... lands smack in the middle of the Christmas tree! "
- "I can only have a tree up on a table. There's no way I could ever have a tree on the floor, Sash would destroy it. He loves to eat any artificial plants or trees or real trees."
- "We put our tree (fake) up about 2 weeks ago. The first few days we had to stop Jack from chewing the lights. That stopped and he decided to use the trunk as a scratching post (which works great because it's better than our couch) and yesterday my husband pulled Jack out of the middle (he had climbed up the trunk)."
- "I couldn't keep the four cats OR the 2 dogs out of mine last year... Swiffer was the absolute WORST of them all. For whatever reason, she was fascinated with the tree topper and tried every single, possible way to get to it. Including climbing on top of a lamp."
Bringing a tree with cat toys, a.k.a. ornaments, hanging from its branches into the domain of a cat can be a recipe for disaster. No self-respecting cat can ignore its flashy presence and many set off to explore the fascinating new glittery jungle of toy-laden branches. The results can be dramatic and fortunately, they are sometimes caught on tape. We've brought together a bunch of video clips depicting feline efforts to topple Christmas trees, often successfully!
With this being TheCatSite.com, where cats come first, we'd like to stress that some of these video clips depict situations you should avoid. Before we let the fun and laughs begin, keep the advice offered above in mind and keep your cats safe.
Are Christmas trees the enemy?
This kitty was asking herself that very question. She was dealing with such a small specimen, you'd think it would be safe, wouldn't you? Wrong! This is one of the scariest Christmas trees ever!
Important note: Do not try this at home! Always best to avoid scaring cats in your household.
Knocking over a tree isn't always a bad thing
In rare cases like this one, toppling a Christmas tree takes on a whole new meaning.
The Christmas Bird
Look at all the lights! Oh, wait, who cares about the lights, there's a bird in the tree! Whoever decorated this tree obviously does not know Da Bird is irresistible to most cats...
Do not tie a rope to the tree
No worries, it's not going to run away in the middle of the night if you leave it rope-free. On the other hand, isn't tying down the tree and leaving the rope just out there an irresistible temptation for Kitty? It's not going to end nicely... In other words: Never let your cat walk your tree on a leash.
It's a jungle in here, I tell ya!
Watch this video to see why it's never a good idea to let Kitty play "King Of The Jungle" on your tree:
A curious Siamese and a tree loaded with baubles? That's a disaster waiting to happen. This Meezer-Teaser of a tree just can't stay upright.
Are you a Grinch or a Santa? Take the Quiz!
Finally, let's see who you really are! Grinch or Santa - based on all things feline!
We hope you enjoyed this Christmas Special! If you did, please share this post with your friends. You'll be spreading holiday cheer and promoting cat safety at the same time!
Comments? Leave them in the comment section below. Questions? Please use the cat forums for those!