Cat vs Christmas tree – How to keep your tree upright and your cat safe

At this time of year you’ll often see cute Christmas cards showing cats embracing the festivities but, the truth is, it can be a potentially dangerous time of the year for our feline friends.

Christmas trees can a particular problem, not least because a lot of cats tend to have a fascination with them. Older cats who enjoy a quiet life may not be very interested but for the more mischievous and curious kitty, a fully decked out Christmas tree can be one big shiny temptation!

Potential problems

If your cat can’t resist your Christmas tree, it could lead to a few issues:

  • Your cat may try to climb the tree and may even bring it down in the process! If you have a real tree, this can mean that needles come off and may potentially get embedded in your pet’s paws.
  • They may also try to fetch baubles and other decorations off the tree to play with. This can be dangerous, especially if they’re made from glass (or something else that could break easily) and are likely to smash.
  • Edible decorations such as chocolate can be dangerous for your cat and can even lead to chocolate poisoning in some cases.

Tinsel is another concern as it can be swallowed by accident and will usually require emergency surgery.

Making your Christmas tree smell unappealing

One of the best ways to discourage your cat if they venture near the Christmas tree is to make it smell unattractive to them.

Cats and Christmas trees

A lot of cats really dislike citrus smells, for example, and will actively avoid an area where this is present. Using a citrus deterrent in the vicinity of your Christmas tree can therefore be effective – just make sure that your cat can’t get hold of any cotton wool balls or peel that you use for this purpose.

Another option is to spray the base of your Christmas tree with diluted vinegar. Again, cats will generally find this an unpleasant smell.

If your tree is usually up for a few weeks, it’s best to ‘top up’ the deterrent smell so your cat doesn’t get too used to it and are no longer put off by it.

Physical deterrents

Wrapping aluminium foil around the base of your Christmas tree (right up to the bottom branches) can derail any plans they may have had to scale its heights. A lot of cats don’t enjoy the feel or texture of it.

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