Edible decorations such as strings of popcorn, cookie ornaments, cranberries, etc., are beautiful to look at but dangerous for your cat. These types of decorations are just too hard for a pet to resist with all those tempting aromas coming from the tree.
Be careful about using metal ornament hooks because they can easily fall from the tree with the ornament if the cat swipes hard enough. If your cat is very determined to play with ornaments, use green twist-ties so you can tightly secure the ornament to the branch. No matter how much swatting the cat does, the chances of the ornament staying put are much better.
If you have a kitten or a hard-core tree-climbing cat, consider making this the year you decorate with totally unappealing decorations (from a cat’s point of view). Paper ornaments, paper garland and wooden tree decorations can look beautiful, nostalgic and will probably be of little interest to a cat.
Tinsel and Garland aren’t Cat Friendly
Don’t use tinsel at all. It’s lightweight, easily falls from the tree and can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed by your cat. If you use garland, spray it with a bitter anti-chew product before placing it around the tree and secure it around branches so it can’t easily be pulled off.
Offer Your Cat Something Better to Do
Cats just want to have fun and now that you’ve done all this preventative work, the other half of the job involves giving your cat something better to do. I know it’s a busy time of year and it might even be the time you often skip a few play sessions with your cat but he really needs them now. Engage in interactive play sessions at least twice a day to help your cat work off that energy and hopefully tone down his fascination with the Christmas tree. In-between play sessions, give your cat some early Christmas presents in the form of fun puzzle feeders or other environmental enrichment toys. Even a few paper bag tunnels with safe toys inside may interest your cat enough to stay away from the tree.
Since cats love to climb, make sure your Christmas tree isn’t the only climbing option in the house. If you don’t already have a sturdy cat tree, I would certainly suggest you do a little early Christmas shopping and invest in one.
As Cats Mature
Typically, it’s the kittens and younger cats who show an interest in Christmas trees so hopefully, you’ll be able to ease up on this type of Fort Knox security tree prep after the first year or two. Some cats, though, never give up on the challenge.
For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the articles on our website and the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett. If you have a question about your cat’s behavior or health, contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a medical diagnosis nor is it a replacement for your cat’s regular veterinary care. This article is for general information purposes only.