5 ways to cat-proof your Christmas tree

Christmas trees will soon begin popping up in homes across the nation. But, if you are a cat owner, this might cause a few issues.

To keep your cat calm around your festive decor, the cat insurance and wellbeing experts at Animal Friends Pet Insurance and have revealed five ways to help stop your feline friend from paying too much unwanted attention to your beautifully decorated tree:

Image credit: Adam Barge’s cat JoJo at Animal Friends

  1. Place your tree away from furniture

To help prevent your cat from pouncing on your Christmas tree, Catrin George, animal wellbeing specialist at Animal Friends Pet Insurance says: “Cats love to climb and pounce, and this is nothing to worry about. But, an adventurous cat and Christmas tree combined can make for a terrible twosome. Real pine trees can pose a health risk to your cat as they are mildly toxic1, but even if you opt for a fake tree, any glass decorations can become dangerous if placed within the cat’s reach.

“To help prevent temptation, we suggest placing your Christmas tree away from surrounding furniture. This should make it harder for your cat to pounce at or on it. You may also want to consider switching to pet-safe decorations so that if your cat decides to attempt a climb, nothing will get broken and no pesky paws will get hurt.”

  1. Give your cat a distraction

Cats can become bored if there are no toys around for them to play with, and this is when they might turn their attention to your tantalising Christmas tree for some entertainment. Catrin says: “To prevent your feline friend from getting bored, make sure you’re providing your cat with regular playtime. Investing in some exciting new toys will also help stop your cat from playing with your decorations.”

Image credit: Sean Battern’s cat, Papi, at Animal Friends

  1. Choose your decorations wisely

You might already know that chocolate can be fatal to our canine friends, but did you know it’s just as poisonous for cats, too? Chocolate contains something called theobromine which is toxic to our pets and their health can decline quickly after ingestion, so chocolate on the tree should be avoided.

Catrin adds: “Flashing lights, edible or even scented decorations will be sure to get your cat’s attention. This might therefore rule out certain fairy light settings, chocolates, or cinnamon and dried oranges for example. The same goes for decorations that look like your cat’s toys – we wouldn’t suggest anything feathery or shaped like a small animal.

“To hinder any particularly curious kitties, or convicted tree climbers, you might also want to consider putting your more precious decorations higher up your tree to avoid any temptation for furry paws.”

  1. Be careful around lights

To ensure your cat is safe around lights and wires, Catrin says: “Christmas tree lights pose a hazard to cats as they can often be seen as a tempting item to chew on. We always recommend that you choose low voltage LED fairy lights to reduce the risk and make sure lights and wires on the floor and around the plug socket are as tucked away as possible and out of your pet’s reach.”

  1. Make a safe space

Christmas can be a busy period with lots of different people and new additions entering the home making it quite unsettling for some pets. To ensure they have a safe space, Catrin says: “Often, cats will change their behaviour and start doing things we perceive as ‘naughty’ if something is upsetting them. To help keep them calm through the festive period, make sure your cat has a comfortable spot they can retreat to whenever they start to get overwhelmed. This will not only make them feel more secure, it may also stop them from resorting to hiding in your Christmas tree.”

For more information on how to cat-proof your Christmas tree, visit: https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/cat/cat-advice/cat-maintenance-and-safety/how-to-stop-your-cat-attacking-your-christmas-tree/

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