The lights are twinkling, the festive classics are playing and the floor is covered in wrapping paper; it can only mean one thing. It’s Christmas!
It’s that time of year when all your decorations are hauled down from the attic and your room is turned into a Winter Wonderland. But if your festive experiences are anything like ours, it’s also that time of year where your four-legged, destructive companion – also known as the cat – steals your baubles, gets caught in the lights and sends the tree tumbling.
We get it. They’re curious. They’re strong-willed. It’s why we love them, right? But with all the potential risks and harm involved, it’s also important to protect their safety and your sanity.
So, let our team give a helping hand in keeping your feline safe with our top tips on how to cat-proof your decorations and create a purr-fect Christmas with your furry friend.
How to protect your Christmas tree from your cat
With its dangling baubles and bright lights, the tree is a strong temptation for your cat to resist! Luckily, there are still a few things you can do to make your tree safer.
Fake over real
A fake tree is always the better option if you have pets around. It eliminates the risk of pine needles getting caught in paws and prevents your cat from drinking the stagnant and potentially toxic water that sits at the base of the tree.
And since companies now sell Christmas trees where the foliage only starts halfway up, you can make your fake tree even safer by making it harder for your cat to get their claws around the branches.
If you’re set on having a real tree, however, look for one that has low-needle shedding and make sure it’s well-watered at the base to prevent further loss of needles.
However, you don’t want your cat drinking the potentially toxic water so always ensure it’s covered at the trunk with a tree skirt.
Think about location
We’ve been told enough times by Kirsty and Phil that location is everything. So what about when it comes to the Christmas tree?
Thankfully, placing the tree in the corner of the room is a firm favourite and ideal to keep it out of the way, but you can make it more secure by tying it to a wall with a fishing line and stick-on Command hooks. Just keep these high up so again, your cat can’t get to them.
A heavy base or stand will also prevent falls as much as possible if you can’t stick anything to the walls. Move any furniture away from the tree too, so they can’t use it as a springboard to launch into the tree.
Also, put the Christmas tree somewhere that your cat doesn’t spend a lot of time. Don’t move their bed to make way for the tree, as this can be upsetting for them. They like things in the same place, and decorations changing everything can be upsetting enough.
If your cat is particularly a terror, you may want to put decorations in a room they can’t go into.
It isn’t just the tree you need to think about. You will also be decorating both the tree and the rest of your room.
The glistening, the warm glow and the cosy atmosphere; there’s no denying that lights truly do make everything that little bit more magical. But to ensure the lights remain a paw-sitive addition to your tree, try incorporating some of these disaster-proof, savvy ideas:
- Start your lights halfway up your tree to keep them out of reach of your cat. This should minimise the temptation to grab the bulbs and chew the wires
- Cover the wire that leads to the plug with a cord so it’s more difficult for your cat to chew through and give itself a nasty shock
- For other lights, including candles, place them on high surfaces that are less accessible for your kitty
What’s a tree without baubles and tinsel? We don’t want your tree to look sad and bare at Christmas, but we also know decorations are a cat’s kryptonite with their shininess and easy resemblance to the toys your cat is so used to playing with.
But as glass baubles can smash and tinsel can get stuck in their throat, it really is important to consider alternative options such as:
- Using ornaments made from fabric, plastic or wood as opposed to using delicate materials such as glass
- Choosing bigger decorations that are less easy to break and swallow
- Tying the ornaments onto the tree with ribbon rather than wire
- Consider incorporating wall decorations instead so you’re still creating a festive feel but keeping as much out of reach as possible
- Avoid using tinsel. It’s a decoration your cat will be drawn to but also one that’s highly dangerous for them
Vets have reported incidents where cats have choked on tinsel or have encountered intestinal damage as the material has built up in their stomachs. One vet recounts a cat that was brought in for vomiting and when they carried out life-saving surgery, the vet found 3ft of tinsel inside of him.
As an alternative to tinsel, try using a fabric material such as burlap. Not only does it create a traditional and sophisticated look that’s Pinterest-worthy, but it’s a safer option for your cat too!
You can also find cat-repellent spray for fabrics that will act as a deterrent since they’re packed with herbal fragrances that cat’s have been known to be less than fond of. Orange peel or citrus spray does the same job, too
The more of these handy ideas that you incorporate, the less likely you are to experience a stressful Christmas with your feline friend.
And who doesn’t want a purr-fect, paw-some festive season?