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9 Tips For Saving Your Christmas Tree From A Cat-astrophe

Things cats love: plants, sparkly things, dangly things, ribbon-like items, shiny lights… It’s no wonder that Christmas trees the world over find themselves on the receiving end of four-pawed feline attacks each year.

Although we can’t guarantee these tips will deter the precocious, wild-eyed predator that lies within your house cat, hopefully they will at least help you minimize damage and keep your kitty safe from harm.

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1. Wait 24 hours between setting up your tree and decorating it.

Allowing your cat a day to get used to the gigantic piece of nature (or artificial “nature”) that has suddenly infiltrated their living room is a good idea. First, a naked tree is much safer for a curious kitty to explore than a fully decorated one. Also, you can assess your cat’s level of interest  – and likelihood of strike – before you cover it with expensive baubles!

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Short of an invisible force field, I’ve yet to hear of any barricade a determined kitty cannot cross. However, baby gates and strategically placed objects may buy you some time to intervene before an aerial assault. Try placing bells or cans on your barricades so you know when the perimeter has been breached.

2. Surround the tree with items kitties hate.

Cats cannot stand the way that tin foil and double stick tape feels under their paws. They may not be the most festive decorations, but strategically placing them around the base of the tree could deter kitties with sensitive tactile senses.

3. Employ safe, natural feline repellents.

There is some evidence that citrus aromas and citronella may repel cats. Try orange peels or grapefruit essential oil in the tree’s water reservoir. For cats who like to gnaw on the bark, diluted vinegar, camphor, or hot sauce will put a bad taste in their mouth and hopefully break that habit.

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4. Living with past offenders? Try tethering your tree!

Place the tree in a corner or area away from furniture. Secure fishing line around the trunk of the tree at a few different heights, then attach the line to picture-hanging hooks on the walls and/or ceiling.

5. Choose a tree stand with a covered reservoir.

If you cannot find a covered tree stand, cover yours with tin foil to keep curious cats out of the water supply. Christmas tree collars can also deter cats while looking stylish.

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6. Unplug lights at night and when you are not home.

Cats love long, string-like items and cords have the extra benefit of a delightfully chewy rubber coating. Protect your kitty from a life-threatening electric shock by securing loose wires and unplugging the tree whenever you are not around to supervise.

7. Avoid tinsel.

Sorry tinsel lovers! This shiny, stringy stuff is just far too tempting to playful kitties and not worth the risk. Swallowed tinsel can pose a choking hazard or lead to a life-threatening intestinal obstruction.

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8. Hang small and fragile ornaments high.

Using wire hooks, hang your most precious pieces well out of reach of prying paws. Be sure to tightly clamp the hooked end on the hanging branch for extra security.

9. Relax and enjoy your holiday!

The most important part of the season is enjoying precious time with family and friends – including your cat. Take a few precautions to protect your tree and your kitty, then pour yourself a glass of eggnog and relax!

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Kelli Brinegar
Kelli Brinegar
To say Kelli loves cats is an understatement. Ever since her parents put a cat in her crib, the feline kind have been her best friends. Now, she loves to hang out at home with her kitty clowder while reading, writing, and doing her best to keep her house plants alive.