How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas

Updated on December 16, 2019
Allain Christmas profile image

Christmas is a month-long state of mind for me. This festive time of loved ones, parties, gifts, and religious celebrations is so special.

Dangling ornaments are just too tempting even for older, sedate cats. They love to bat them around. Younger cats find them irresistible and will knock them off, chase them about, and try to look innocent when they break.
Dangling ornaments are just too tempting even for older, sedate cats. They love to bat them around. Younger cats find them irresistible and will knock them off, chase them about, and try to look innocent when they break. | Source

Cats and Christmas Can Be a Disaster

Those of us who live with cats know that Christmas can be a struggle. Their hunting instincts kick into overdrive when we place a tree loaded with dangling ornaments in their habitat.

In other words, your beautiful Christmas tree loaded with fragile ornaments is a tempting playground for the average cat. It's a disaster just waiting to happen. There are some ways to protect the tree and your pretty presents with their tempting ribbons. Read on to see some suggestions for cat-proofing your Christmas.

Be Vigilant Over Holiday Foods
Be Vigilant Over Holiday Foods | Source

Don't Tempt Your Cat With Festive Foods

There are new and interesting foods around the house to tempt your cat in December. Be aware that if you leave these items unsupervised, your cat might find them interesting and tempting to sample. Here are some things that may be potentially dangerous:

  • Cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream by the fireplace
  • A platter of Christmas cookies set out to take to a neighbor
  • The Christmas Day feast set out on the sideboard in the dining room
  • Appetizers ready for the oven before a party
  • A gingerbread house on the mantel
  • Food presents wrapped and placed under the tree

I brought home a delightfully decorated gingerbread house from a Christmas bazaar. Hurrying to get to my afternoon job, I placed the decorated house on a bookshelf.  When I came home, it was smashed to bits, but still inside the clear bag.
I brought home a delightfully decorated gingerbread house from a Christmas bazaar. Hurrying to get to my afternoon job, I placed the decorated house on a bookshelf. When I came home, it was smashed to bits, but still inside the clear bag. | Source

Down Goes the Christmas Tree

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My aunt's cat successfully destroyed the Christmas tree last year.
My aunt's cat successfully destroyed the Christmas tree last year.
My aunt's cat successfully destroyed the Christmas tree last year. | Source
Source

Saving the Christmas Tree From Your Cat

What can you do to keep the cat out of the Christmas tree? This is quite a challenge for pet owners every December. Here are ways they deal with it:

  • Try behavior modification by spritzing your cat with a spray bottle every time it approaches the tree
  • Put up a tree but skip the ornaments
  • Attach the tree to the wall with a rope so it can't get knocked over
  • Put only plastic ornaments that won't break on the tree
  • Get one of those trees that you hang from the ceiling
  • Get a Christmas tree mural to put on the wall or put a tinsel outline of a tree on the wall
  • Put a small Christmas tree inside a cage
  • Put the tree outside on the patio or balcony if you live in a moderate climate
  • Don't put silver tinsel on a tree that a cat might ingest

Funny Cat vs. Christmas Tree Disaster

Has Your Cat Knocked Over the Christmas Tree?

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A Warning About Christmas Wrapping

One word of advice, don't wrap up some catnip for your cat. He will find it long before Christmas and go berserk tearing open the present and strewing pieces all around. The curly ribbons and dangling tags on gifts are tempting for cats to play with. Be prepared to rematch the tags and gifts if they get detached. You could discreetly note the recipient's name on each package so you can set it right after your cat's play session.

Puffy bows are not as attractive to cats but sometimes even those come under attack. If you have kittens, the stacks of gifts become a playground and pretty much everything is at risk.

Pretty presents attract cats. All is calm at the moment, but those curly ribbons are sure fun for a cat to play with.
Pretty presents attract cats. All is calm at the moment, but those curly ribbons are sure fun for a cat to play with. | Source

Protecting Your Christmas Village

If you have a glass-fronted bookshelf or china cabinet, I'd recommend displaying your Christmas village inside one of those. This keeps it safe from being toppled, chewed on, or sat upon by your cat.

If everything is pretty sturdy, you could place it at ground level like under the Christmas tree. Then assign one of the children to straighten everything up once a day or just tolerate things being knocked over.

How can tiger resist this new lounge area complete with little items to knock over? If it is on a high place like a table, that makes it even more fascinating to tip the things over the edge and watch them fall to the floor.
How can tiger resist this new lounge area complete with little items to knock over? If it is on a high place like a table, that makes it even more fascinating to tip the things over the edge and watch them fall to the floor. | Source

Poinsettias

Poinsettias are especially dangerous for cats and dogs.

Holiday Plants Can Be Dangerous for a Cat

Here are some typical plants and greenery that people bring into their home at Christmas that may be harmful to cats.

  • amaryllis
  • holly berries
  • mistletoe
  • peace lily
  • poinsettias

An additional problem with plants is some cats like to dig in the dirt creating a mess with dirt on the carpet or table.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
If a cat nibbles on a poinsettia plant, it can make your cat sick. Enjoy these flowers outside if you can or in a hanging basket inside the house where a cat can't reach it. Fortunately, my parent's cat showed no interest in the lovely poinsettias, but it's risky.
If a cat nibbles on a poinsettia plant, it can make your cat sick. Enjoy these flowers outside if you can or in a hanging basket inside the house where a cat can't reach it.
If a cat nibbles on a poinsettia plant, it can make your cat sick. Enjoy these flowers outside if you can or in a hanging basket inside the house where a cat can't reach it. | Source
Fortunately, my parent's cat showed no interest in the lovely poinsettias, but it's risky.
Fortunately, my parent's cat showed no interest in the lovely poinsettias, but it's risky. | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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    © 2019 Virginia Allain

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