Sparkling lights, dangling ornaments, and shiny tinsel are all hard for cats to ignore. This can spell disaster for your holiday Christmas tree and be potentially dangerous for kitty. This doesn’t mean you need to choose between beautiful holiday decorations and your cat’s health and happiness.
Before setting up the tree, plan ahead to avoid potentially dangerous situations:
Correctly position the tree: Position the tree away from chairs, tables, or any surface that would provide kitty easy access. Don’t inadvertently provide a perch for kitty to climb on to access the high branches of the tree.
Forget the garland or tinsel. Cats are drawn to the shine and texture of garland and tinsel. Both can be easily ingested which could lead to intestinal blockage. Strands of beads are a safer alternative.
Prevent dangling ornaments: Kitty will be attracted to ornaments that are dangling. Don’t hang ornaments at the ends of branches where they will be a target. Instead, position them farther into the tree where the will rest on the branch below without dangling.
Keep tree water out of reach: If you have a live Christmas tree sitting in a base of water, be sure the water is not accessible. Many cats are fascinated with water and will drink or play in it.
Familiarize kitty with the tree: Allow your cat to examine the tree but set boundaries. Once they start chewing branches, reaching for ornaments, or other unwanted activity, make the experience unpleasant with a loud noise, squirt of water, or other gentle reminder that what they are doing is unacceptable behavior.
It takes a little advanced planning, but the result will be a happy and safe holiday that you and your cats can enjoy together.