Christmas is an exciting time for any kitty — new smells, new toys and a mysterious new object to climb, scratch and ultimately destroy. Even as you’re taking out all your decorations and setting up your tree, your cat’s mind is already teeming with possibilities of late-night destruction, discovering new forested heights and polishing up those chewing skills. Not liking the sound of that? Check out these five ways you can kitty-proof your tree this holiday season.
Spray the entire area with Bitter Apple spray or any type of cat repellent. As one of the original, all-natural animal repellents, Bitter Apple spray is a quick and easy way to keep kitty away from the tree and the area surrounding it. Available online or for purchase at most local pet shops, you can spray Bitter Apple around the entire area to keep kitty away for a little while. The scent of the spray wears off over time, so you may have to reapply often. You can also browse your local pet store for other similar spray repellents if your cat isn’t deterred by Bitter Apple.
Place aluminum foil or other deterrents around the base of the tree. When kitties think of an ideal surface to sink their claws into, aluminum foil is not their first choice. Aluminum foil doesn’t provide a tactile, appealing surface for cats to walk on, climb, shred or chew. Placing aluminum foil around the trunk of the tree or around the entire perimeter can help keep kitty from climbing the tree when you’re not looking. Cats also dislike the smell of citrus or perfume-like scents, so orange peels or Citronella sprays can keep them away as well.
Secure the tree either to the wall or ceiling. If kitty does manage to get past your barriers and successfully climbs the tree, you don’t want your cat to become trapped under the tree or injured when it inevitably falls over. To keep your tree from falling onto your cat, consider a heavy weighted tree stand or securing your tree to the ceiling or nearby wall. To secure your tree to the ceiling, screw a hook into the ceiling directly above your tree, then tie a string around the hook and find a good, safe place to attach the string to the top of the tree.
Pick a strategic location for your tree. It’s no secret that cats have world-class jumping abilities. Placing your tree too close to nearby furniture, ledges, shelves or bookcases can provide a perfect launching point for your cat to initiate an attack on your innocent Christmas tree. Choose an open area for your tree or, if possible, place the tree in a room that you can close off access to when you’re not home.
Choose your ornaments wisely. Bright and shiny ornaments that light up, reflect light off the ceiling or walls, sparkle and glow are nearly impossible for kitty to resist. Choose ornaments that aren’t quite as bright, ornate or enticing. Avoid long, dangly ornaments that just beg your cat to come swat at them. Also, garland, tinsel, ribbons, artificial snow and décor with sharp edges can be dangerous and even toxic for your cat if ingested.
Keep in mind that some live trees are poisonous to cats. The oils in fir trees can irritate your cat’s mouth and stomach, resulting in discomfort, drooling and vomiting. Additionally, kitty’s tummy will have trouble digesting pine needles, which can cause GI irritation, vomiting or even a gastrointestinal puncture or obstruction. For most pet owners, artificial Christmas trees are a safer bet. Keeping your cat safe, healthy and away from your tree will definitely make for a great holiday season for all.