Christmas is a month-long state of mind for me. This festive time of loved ones, parties, gifts, and religious celebrations is so special.
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.
The busy holiday season offers many challenges for households with cats. Foods, plants, and decorations all have potential for mayhem from your cat. Read on to see some suggestions for cat-proofing your Christmas.
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
Down Goes the Christmas Tree
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
A friend told me her cat never bothers the Christmas tree. Here's the story, "Our Christmas tree was cat-proof by accident. Literally. Our Siamese's first Xmas, he came into the living room while I was testing a string of lights and somehow stuck one whisker into a slot in the connector plug. He got enough of a shock to put a permanent curl in that whisker, and that year and every year after, he gave the tree a wide berth!"
I do not recommend shock treatment but just wanted to share her unique story.
Read More From Pethelpful
Funny Cat vs. Christmas Tree Disaster
Has Your Cat Knocked Over the Christmas Tree?
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.
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.
Holiday Plants Can Be Dangerous for Cats
Here are some typical plants and greenery that people bring into their home at Christmas that may be harmful to cats.
- holly berries
- peace lily
An additional problem with plants is some cats like to dig in the dirt creating a mess with dirt on the carpet or table.
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.
© 2019 Virginia Allain