Cats are known for their curious antics. The holidays, with their tempting, shiny orbs, flashing lights, and indoor trees (!!!!) prove to be a cat's winter playground. No need to fear for your ornaments' lives, though, there are ways to keep your decorations and your cat safe. Read on for 12 ways to cat-proof your holiday decor.
1. Start Slow
Instead of shocking your cat with an explosion of Christmas overwhelm, ease them in gently. Put up your tree without decorations and leave it that way for a couple of days, and then slowly add a few elements a little at a time. Cats are very territorial and do better with gradual changes to their environment. If you take away the novelty, there is a greater chance that your cat will ignore your tree and other holiday decor.
2. Consider an Artificial Tree
We all love that Christmas smell of a fresh pine tree. Sadly, those pine needles can be hazardous to cats and cause punctures to their eyes or skin. Even worse, if your cat drinks the water used to hydrate a real tree, they could accidentally ingest the needles, causing internal punctures. There are ways to deter cats from a real tree, which we will get into later, but the best way to mitigate this safety risk entirely is to get an artificial tree.
3. Secure That Tree!
Cats LOVE to climb trees, so is it any wonder that when you bring a tree inside that they will want to climb it? However, if this happens, an unsteady tree could be a hazard to your cats if it topples over...with your cat perched in the branches. Anchor your tree with a sturdy tree stand that has a good amount of weight to it. Better yet, tether the tree to the wall or ceiling for added security.
4. Hang the Keepsake Ornaments Up High
If you have heirloom ornaments or expensive decorations that you don't want your cats to bat at, hang those up high in the tree to prevent little paws from swatting them right off of the tree. Think of your cats as toddlers and "baby-proof" your tree like you would if you had a toddler scooting around.
5. Skip the Fake Snow
Artificial snow flocking is toxic to cats. We know it makes your home look like a winter wonderland, but the chemicals in this flossy concoction can cause liver damage in your feline friend if ingested. Not worth it.
Just like toddlers, cats do well with redirection. Keep them entertained with their favorite types of toys. Play with them daily and make sure that they have easy access to their toys. If they are distracted with the toys that they love, they may stay away from the shiny new toys around the house.
7. Pepper and Citrus
Cats HATE pepper and citrus, so one idea is to spray pepper on your tree branches or other decorations you'd like your cat to steer clear of, or to put orange rinds around the Christmas tree. Even better, make some garland out of orange peels for a decoration that doubles as a deterrent and a festive addition to your decor!
8. Corner That Tree
If your cat insists on climbing the tree, make it harder for them. Put your tree in a corner, away from any furniture that your cat can use as jumping leverage. This will make using your tree as their own personal jungle gym much harder.
9. Watch the Lights
Be cautious with Christmas lights. The safest course of action is to use a cord protector to keep cats from chewing on the wires, and to make sure that the lights are unplugged when you are not at home. Let's keep the lights magical and avoid any accidents!
10. Beware of Other Toxic Decorations
We already mentioned the dangers of fake snow and real Christmas trees, but there are other decorations that can be hazardous to our eternal toddler cats. Mistletoe and poinsettias, though popular holiday additions, are toxic to cats if ingested (especially poinsettias). Opt for fake options instead. Additionally, tinsel can be an intestinal nightmare for cats if swallowed, so avoid that holiday item. Safety first!
11. Christmas Presents as Decorations
Brown-paper packages tied up with string look like toys to any cat (especially the string!). Ribbons and strings can also be dangerous to cats' insides if they are ingested, so, instead of keeping presents under the tree, consider incorporating them to your holiday decor and placing them around the house. If they are in less tempting spaces for your kitties, it's safer for them and for your wrapping paper! Plus, what a cute decorating idea!
12. Create a "Yes" Space
Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, your poor cat has got to feel overwhelmed and is for sure hearing a lot of "no," but for every "no," there must be a "yes." Create a space in your home that is just for your cat, complete with scratching posts, favorite toys, boxes, cat trees, and anything else to combat all of the "no," of holiday decor. When kitty is climbing your tree, redirect them to their "yes" space cat tree so that they can get their climbing needs met. This takes patience and consistency, but it's worth it in the end!
We believe that all kitties are on the "nice" list, they just might need a little help from their human parents to ensure a peaceful cohabitation during the holidays! Happy cat-proofing.
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