We’re sure you’ve seen the memes: a wide-eyed cat surrounded by shimmering lights, glistening ornaments, and glittering tinsel or ribbon. The meme-cat has a manic, crazed look in its eyes that tells you how swiftly the holiday ephemera will be obliterated.
Unfortunately, memes like this have gained popularity for good reason. Cats are notoriously attracted to the shiny sparkly accoutrements of Christmas. But that doesn’t mean you want to forego decorations entirely! At West Ballantyne Animal Hospital, good cat care is important to us; we want to help you keep your cat safe and healthy this holiday season. Read on for our suggestions.
Be Tree Smart
Your tree is probably the centerpiece of your holiday decorating, but it is also the biggest draw for your feline. They can get tangled in the lights, break ornaments, get sick from nibbling on the tree’s needles, and accidentally pull your tree over onto that priceless heirloom. So how do you balance keeping your kitty safe while appeasing your family’s decoration expectations?
One of the big reasons cats get into Christmas trees so much is because they are attracted to the smells and sensations of a real tree. An artificial tree will pose much less of a temptation. However, if your family prefers the real, there are still a few things you can do to minimize risk to both tree and your cat.
- Make sure you have a solid base and that your tree is firmly inserted – this will reduce the risk of your tree toppling onto something irreplaceable. A shorter tree will also reduce this risk.
- Let your tree hang out undecorated – give your kitty a few days to get used to the tree without all the glittering attractants. If your cat tries leaping on/at the tree, sternly say “no” and spray with water as a deterrent.
- Bitter Apple, citrus, and citronella sprays smell unpleasant to cats so misting these on the tree usually keep them away.
- Decorate away from your cat – many cats think you’re trying to play as you dangle ornaments. Give Fluffy a toy or treats and shut her away while you hang ornaments. If you don’t want to shut your cat in a room, be sure you and your kids are not purposefully dangling anything in a playful way.
Decorate less on the bottom – Leave the bottom third of your tree sparse to be less visually appealing.
- Put shinier ornaments up higher where they will be less tempting, and all the paper, felt, matte ornaments lower to minimize your cat’s attraction to the tree.
- Use strong hooks – wire twist ties and other more secure attachments will make those glimmering ornaments less appealing than the weak hooks that easily release.
- Secure your wiring – use tiebacks or covers to keep all the wires running to the wall from looking like kitty playthings.
This holiday season, a bit of preparedness can prevent a trip to the animal hospital. Following the tips above should help prevent the need for anything beyond a routine cat care visit to a veterinarian. If you have more questions about holiday cat care, give us a call!