How To Survive Christmas With Cats

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Cats and Christmas

It’s a difficult holiday to celebrate when you have cats to take care of! There are dangers to your cats. There’s always that Christmas tree to try to keep your cats from destroying. Don’t forget about your other Christmas decorations your cat wants so badly to explore. This time of the year is stressful enough. Let’s cat proof your Christmas tree and keep your cats safe to make things easier on you.

Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree

This is the biggest concern from cat parents everywhere. How do you keep your tree safe from your cats and your cats safe from the tree? First, avoid live Christmas trees and buy yourself an artificial one. Real Christmas trees are not safe for cats. The pine needles can poke through their skin and are toxic. You know your cats will try to bite and chew on them. With that being said, an artificial tree isn’t 100% safe for your cats either. They’re chewing on those fake needles and branches. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, artificial Christmas trees are made from plastic (PVC) and metal. The PVC used to make the plastic pieces, such as the pine needles, can be hazardous because it may contain lead. That’s not good for anyone. Keep your cats safe with these steps –

  1. Choose a small tree. Cats love knocking Christmas trees over, so go with a smaller one to avoid the bigger damage a giant tree will have.
  2. If you choose a real tree make the tree’s water completely inaccessible to your cats. You risk your cats being poisoned by the water if they drink it.
  3. Try wrapping aluminum foil around the tree trunk to keep your cats from climbing the tree. Cats don’t like to claw the foil and might be dissuaded.
  4. Choose a base for your Christmas tree that is sturdy. You can even anchor your tree to the ceiling or the wall for more sturdiness.
  5. Pick a good location for your Christmas tree. There should be plenty of space around it. Avoid putting it near anything your cats can climb, otherwise they’ll be more tempted to jump from one point to the tree.
  6. Discipline your cats with a spray bottle filled with water. Put your tree up and allow your cats to check it out. Keep the water bottle in hand. When one tries to scratch it, bat at it, climb it, etc. firmly say “No!” and spray your cats. You’ll have to keep this up, but your cats should be less tempted to mess with your tree.
  7. Have someone take your cats into another room while you decorate the tree.
  8. Consider having no decorations. They’re shiny. They spin. They glitter. Cats love these things, and will definitely want to play with them.
  9. Do not use tinsel to decorate your tree. Tinsel is extremely dangerous to cats. When eaten, as cats love to do, the tinsel can cut the wall of the intestine or stomach, which will require surgery.
  10. No chocolate either. It’s toxic to cats.
  11. If you must add Christmas tree decorations attach them with clamps or wires so they aren’t easily knocked off.

Those are the steps to follow if you must have a Christmas tree in the same house as your cats!

Other parts of Christmas can be dangerous to your cats as well. Here are some final tips on keeping your cats safe.

Christmas Food

Avoid leaving food out during the holidays. Chicken or turkey bones splinter and can get stuck in your cats’ throat, stomach and/or intestines. Chocolate is toxic, so keep it away from your cats.

Christmas Plants

The easiest way to avoid this problem is to not have any plants in your home, especially since poinsettias, mistletoes, and holly are all toxic to cats. If you have any of these either get rid of them or place them where your cats will never reach them.

Christmas Ribbons

These have the same hazards as tinsel, so avoid them.

Cats as Gifts

Don’t do it, and persuade anyone you know not to do this! Cats are a big responsibility, and live up to 25 years or longer. It is a good gift only if the person knows they are getting a kitten and are willing to take on the responsibility. Never gift a kitten as a surprise.

What are your safety tips for cat parents during Christmas time? Share in the comments below!

Photo:  iStock

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Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at www.nickylamarco.com.

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