December 17th, 2013

Cats And Christmas Trees: The Two Can Coexist

PicturePhoto: © Dbrus |

One of my clients has a huge, lavishly decorated Christmas tree outside on her deck this year. It was in the family room until Pi and Tinkerbell decided to climb it.

Cats and Christmas trees can coexist. But keeping your cat away from the Christmas tree may take some ingenuity on your part. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Put the tree in a heavy stand so it’s stable and can’t be knocked over.
  • Screw a hook into a wall and attach a string to both the hook and the tree. Or screw the hook into the ceiling and connect the string to the hook and the top of the tree.
  • Before you decorate the tree, spray it with Bitter Apple. You won’t notice the smell, but the cats will hate the way it tastes.
  • Use an electronic deterrent, like a ScatMat, which causes a tingling sensation when stepped on. Other electronic deterrents that are safe for cats include devices that emit a blast of air or make a high-pitched noise that only cats and dogs can hear. Or try putting pine cones around the base of the tree. While they’ll look festive to you, the cats won’t like walking on them.
  • Leave the bottom third of your tree undecorated or use unbreakable ornaments and tie them on with twist ties. Don’t put tinsel where the cats can reach it. It can be a choking hazard.
  • Tape down excess wire from the lights or wrap it around the base of the tree. Dangling wire can look like an enticing toy to a cat.
  • Put a corrugated cardboard scratcher near the tree. Use an inclined scratcher and sprinkle it liberally with catnip to give the cats something even more fun than the tree to sink their claws into. 
  • My favorite idea: Give the cats their own little tree with lots of dangling kitty-safe ornaments to bat around. Make your own, or buy felt ornaments and remove all the tiny pieces that could be a choking hazard.

Are poinsettia plants really toxic to cats? Do cats make good Christmas gifts? What did my cats ask for in their letter to Santa this year? Check their list of favorite toys to find out.

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