How to Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree
Christmas trees and festive decorations look beautiful but can be harmful to your cat, you can help keep them safe with our handy guide.
It’s no surprise that a Christmas tree with twinkling lights and shiny decorations will intrigue your cat, but you’ll need safety measures to protect your feline friend from potential harm.
Fortunately, we have some handy tips to help cat proof your Christmas tree so that your kitty and trimmings stay safe this year.
Christmas tree dangers for cats
Although it might look cute to see your cat pawing at all the festive decorations, there are potential hazards when you allow your kitty too close to your Christmas tree.
Needles – The sharp needles on your Christmas tree could cut your cat’s paws and mouth if they eat or play with them. Needles on real trees may also be mildly toxic and, therefore, harmful to your pet’s tummy.
Decorations – Sparkly tinsel and lights may look beautiful but can pose a significant risk to your cat’s health if chewed or eaten.
Falling trees – If your four-legged friend tries to attack the tree or paw at the baubles, it all could come toppling down, injuring your cat, and leaving you smashed decorations to clean up.
What kind of Christmas tree should I buy if I have a cat?
The needles on all Christmas trees have the potential to harm your cat if chewed or eaten; however, the benefit of a fake tree is that the needles don’t usually drop off, so your cat is less likely to find them on the floor.
Fake tree needles are also less likely to be toxic and don’t carry the same smell as real ones, so they’re less tempting for your cat to eat.
If you go for a real tree, try to buy one with a low needle drop, such as a Nordmann Fir.
Whichever tree you decide to buy, going for a shorter tree might be the best option, as it’s less likely to cause your kitty harm if it falls over.
How to cat proof your Christmas tree – dos and don’ts
√ Secure your tree – Try and put your tree up in the corner of a room, away from any furniture or shelves your cat could jump on to reach the tree. If possible, use wire to secure the top of your tree to the ceiling to prevent it from falling over.
√ Buy a solid tree stand – Providing a sturdy, wide base will help reduce the risk of your tree tumbling over.
√ Cover the water bowl – If you have a real tree, you’ll need to cover the water bowl to prevent your cat sipping potentially toxic water.
√ Buy a tree gate – A great way to cat-proof a Christmas tree is to fence off the bottom with a gate, so your cat can’t get close enough to attack the tree.
√ Consider a deterrent – Wrap tin foil around the base of the tree – cats don’t like the sound it makes, so they’re more likely to keep their paws off.
√ Wait to decorate – Suddenly having a tree with shiny objects and lights can be too intriguing for your cat to ignore. Leaving the tree bare for a couple of days may mean your cat is less interested when you eventually add decorations.
√ Keep lights concealed – If you don’t have a prelit tree, hide wires as much as possible to prevent your cat from chewing on them, and remember to unplug the lights when not in use.
√ Secure your decorations – Tie baubles to the tree with non-metal hooks to prevent them falling off.
√ Clean up broken ornaments immediately – Try and buy shatterproof baubles where possible, but if any glass ornaments do smash, clean them up immediately to prevent injury to your cat.
X Keep presents under the tree – Glitter, shiny paper and ribbons are all tempting for cats, but they may cause a blockage in their tummy if eaten.
X Put chocolate treats on the tree – Chocolate is highly toxic to cats, so save your chocolate coins for the kitchen cupboards.
X Use snow spray – Artificial snow has been found to have potentially toxic chemicals which can be dangerous for cats.
X Add tinsel – Cats will be attracted to the shine, but if they try to eat tinsel, it could cause significant damage to their internal organs.
X Dangle baubles off the tree - Keep dangling baubles in the centre of your tree rather than hanging off side or low branches, and put all your decorations as high as possible to keep them out of reach.