The time to put the Christmas tree and decorate it is one of the most anticipated of Christmas. But this family moment that we love to prepare is synonymous with difficulties for many cat guardians since these mischievous and playful creatures like to climb our Christmas tree or destroy it a bit like a game.
To prevent this long-awaited moment from becoming a little nightmare for our acrobatic cats, in AnimalWised we are going to give you a series of tips to prevent your cat from climbing the Christmas tree, damaging it, or eating it. Keep reading and discover our proposals.
Tips for choosing the most suitable Christmas tree for cats
If you still don’t have a tree, the first step will be to choose the most appropriate type of tree for us and for our cat. Between a natural Christmas tree and a synthetic one, the latter may be the safest option: its needles are less sharp than those of a natural tree and you can choose a small one, which can be a good option if your cat is a puppy or if things are going very badly and the tree falls.
Pick a tree that has an exceptionally firm and strong base to keep it as steady as conceivable in the event that your feline leaps on it. If you still choose a natural tree, keep in mind that your cat could be poisoned if he drinks the water from the tree and you should absolutely avoid utilizing composts or items that could be hurtful to your feline. We advise you to avoid very tall trees, since if despite everything the cat climbs the tree and falls, the damage would be greater.
Why do cats like the Christmas tree?
Cats and the Christmas tree have always developed a somewhat complicated relationship in which our precious tree almost always ends up losing. If you have already chosen the tree and decorated it, and your cat has decided to climb on it, play with the decorations and even throw the tree, you are probably wondering why he does all this. The answer is simple, the Christmas tree is too attractive and offers you a lot of stimuli that capture your attention.
On the one hand, it is an object that is not always present in the home, so it immediately captures your attention as it is something “new”. It is the same when he has a new toy that he finds very stimulating. On the other hand, all the elements of the tree are stimuli of great interest for these animals:
· The tree itself is an ideal item to climb, hide, and stay at a height, and we know that cats love this!
· The hanging ornaments arouse their hunting instinct, so try to catch them and play with them. If, in addition, you can get them to fall from the tree, the stimulus will be even greater and the activity even more pleasant. In these cases, he will play with the fallen ornaments, but will also try to throw others.
· The lights quickly catch the cat’s attention and it will try to “hunt” them, just like the shadow they cast. Something similar happens with the laser pointer, which catches the cat’s attention and tries to catch the light it emits. However, in neither case will he achieve a result, so this will only lead to stress and frustration. If you notice that your cat is trying to catch the lights, the best thing to do in this case is to remove them to avoid frustration and injury.
How to prevent my cat from damaging or eating the Christmas tree?
Despite being a really stimulating object for our cats, it is also very harmful if, for example, it falls on them, they swallow an ornament, make a wound, etc. Likewise, pine needles are toxic to these animals, so it is not convenient for them to try to eat them, nor is it convenient for them to ingest artificial ones. Therefore, it is important to try to prevent cats from climbing the Christmas tree, eating it, or damaging it. To do this, remember the accompanying tips:
Put it in a suitable place
Attempt to put the tree in the most proper spot to keep your feline from climbing. To do this, you must place the tree in a clear place, with space around it, avoiding objects or furniture nearby because they would be a strong temptation for the cat, which could climb through them and jump on the tree.
It would be ideal to fix the tree to the ceiling or the wall to give it more stability and prevent it from falling easily. If possible, you should close the room in which the tree is at night or when no one is present to prevent the cat from having access to it.
When you’re done, let the cat sniff and explore everything. Reinforce him if he is not trying to climb with a “very good” or a caress, but if he is trying to climb, it is best to place some type of object that prevents him from getting too close, such as a small fence.
Use aluminum foil
Now that you have set up the tree, cover the base of the tree with aluminum foil. The presence of aluminum foil has a certain repulsive effect on the cat because it does not like the texture of this type of paper or digs its nails into it, thus preventing it from climbing on the base to climb the tree. This trick also prevents you from urinating at the base of the tree.
Choose the right decorations
Now is the time to choose the decorations for your tree. You should first avoid ornaments that are too attractive to your cat, such as objects that hang too much, spin, or make noise. Likewise, it is better to avoid electric garlands because they attract a lot of attention from cats and could be very dangerous for them. We also recommend being careful about decorating the tree with food or sweets, since chocolate and sugar are harmful to these animals.
We advise you to use fabric ornaments, or unbreakable ornaments, and large in size to prevent the cat from swallowing them, such as dolls or large balls. After placing the tree, we advise you to let your cat get used to it for a few days before placing the decorations.
If you have more questions about Christmas decorations and the safety of your cat, we recommend you visit the article on dangerous Christmas decorations for pets.
Decorate it when you are not around
If possible, it would be better to decorate the tree when the cat is not present: seeing the ornaments move would greatly increase his interest and cause him to see them as toys.
In addition, we advise you not to decorate the lower third of the tree, more or less the part that is at eye level with the cat. As there are no objects at his level, his curiosity and interest in the tree will decrease, and thus the probability that he will jump on it also decreases.
Use natural repellants that are not harmful
If nothing works, in the market you have natural repellants with which you can spray your Christmas tree. Of course, it is essential to use repellants that do not harm your cat, simply that, due to the aroma, they cause rejection and it does not want to approach. For example, there are repellants made from citrus fruits that are really effective, since these are part of the smells that cats hate.
In the case of opting for this method, it is important not to spray the tree with the repellent when the animal is present, since if it falls on it or inhales it excessively, it could cause respiratory problems.
Offer safe alternatives
Another way to prevent your cat from damaging the Christmas treeis to offer safe alternatives for him and just as stimulating. For example, if you don’t have a scratching tree, that is, a scratching post with various heights, it is time to purchase one to use instead of the Christmas tree. In this scratcher, you can also place hanging toys designed for cats that simulate Christmas decorations. Thus, you will have your own Christmas tree and can play and entertain yourself freely. If you want, you can even make the scratching post at home by following our advice: ” How to make a homemade scratching post for cats? “.
On the other hand, don’t forget to play with him to keep him entertained and teach him that there are many other toys that are suitable.
How to protect the Christmas tree from cats?
If despite putting all the above tips into practice, you have not managed to prevent your cat from playing with the Christmas tree, the time has come to try to protect it so that it cannot access it. To do this, as we have already mentioned, you can place a fence around it, which is high enough so that the cat cannot jump over it.
Since this option is not very attractive and prevents you from enjoying the presence of the Christmas tree, remember that you can choose to spray it with a natural repellent, always trying not to be harmful because the health of the animal is the most important thing. Also, cover the wires to prevent damage or, if possible, don’t use lights to decorate the tree.
Finally, you can consider the option of letting your creativity fly and choosing a different tree, such as those that hang on the wall, or inserting it into decorative elements if it is not very large, such as a lantern.