With its sparkling lights, dangling ornaments and climbable limbs, a Christmas tree is irresistible to most cats, but be aware that your festive tree poses many dangers for a curious feline. However, there are steps you can take to help ensure that your cat stays safe this holiday season. The most foolproof way to protect your cat and your Christmas tree is to place the tree in a room your cat does not have access to. If this isn’t possible, here are some Christmas tree safety tips:
- Secure the tree. Cats love to climb, so make sure the tree is secure and won’t topple onto your cat. The tree should have a heavy base that will stay firmly in place if your cat decides to scale the tree. You can use a tree skirt to hide the base.
- Avoid breakable ornaments. Broken glass ornaments can cause injury to your cat. If you must use glass ornaments, place them higher up on the tree where your cat is less likely to reach, and attach them securely to the tree. Try decorating with bows or fabric, wood or plastic ornaments instead.
- Skip the tinsel. Ribbons, tinsel and string are enticing to cats and can cause a dangerous intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
- Watch the Christmas presents. Gaily decorated gifts under the tree are a magnet for curious cats. Avoid decorating with ribbons and bows that your cat may ingest, and don’t place gifts of edible treats under the tree because they can be easily chewed through.
- Keep the tree hydrated. Pine needles are toxic, and if ingested, the sharp needles can puncture the intestines. A properly watered tree will have fewer dry pine needles falling to the ground and into your cat’s path. Periodically sweep up around the tree to capture any pine needles that do fall. While it’s important to water your Christmas tree, make sure your cat doesn’t drink the water from your tree because the pine sap and any chemicals used in the water can be toxic to your cat.
- Be careful with the holiday lights. Electrical cords pose a serious danger for pets that chew on them. Supervise your cat around the holiday lights and unplug the lights when you aren’t home. Tape down loose electrical wires so they’re more difficult to chew.