Christmas trees and cats! Meow! Most cats cannot resist them, as their branches serve as swings and punching bags for some felines. Last year I went to my friend Shay’s home and–Wowza! Her cat “Lex” had a love affair with her Christmas tree! Lex would fight with the branches, jump in the tree; Lex is crazy and that is just the way we love him. The good news is my friend’s Christmas tree is totally cat-proofed. I advised Shay about the dangers of Christmas trees and cats the year she brought Lex home from a shelter. I will share the same advice with you; Why are Christmas trees and their decorations considered toxic? What can you do to protect your feline?
- Real Christmas trees contain fir tree oil that is considered to be mildly toxic to cats. The fir tree oil, if consumer by your cat, can cause mouth and stomach irritation. Though most cats typically will not eat the needles of a tree, there are some cats that be curious enough to do so. Tree needles, if digested can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, gastrointestinal irritation, and/or vomiting.
- Artificial Christmas trees contain toxins in the materials used to make the Christmas tree. These toxins, if digested can be released can be dangerous. The sharp points on the needles of the tree can also cause gastrointestinal obstruction.
- Christmas Tree Decorations are a target for most cats. We as cat lovers know that our curious babies want to know why lights are blinking, why balls are shining; Wait until the cats see the ornaments swinging! Can we say, challenge? Pounce? The best way to cat-proof your tree is by placing smaller Christmas balls, as well as glass towards the top of the tree.
- Tinsel is potentially risky for cats. If the tinsel is chewed and swallowed, chocking and intestinal blockages may occur. (Imagine that vet bill, your anxiety, and the poor kitty!) I would not recommend pitting any type of tinsel on a tree if you have a cat. Sure the tinsel makes the tree glow, but your cat makes you glow. Right?
- Artificial snow is a beautiful addition to a Christmas tree skirt, but it is toxic for cats and children. f you have a household with one or both (cats and/or children), skip the artificial snow and wait for the real stuff! *smile*
- My friend Shay placed the tree away from tables, bookshelves, and other launching pads Lex typically uses. Keeping the tree in an area where it stands alone is a great idea. You know how cats can jump, so giving them a head start, like setting the tree next to an end table, is a bad idea.
- If your cast insists on biting the tree there is a product called Apple Bitter. This is an unpleasant smell to cats that leaves no scent for humans. Also, keep in mind that cats are turned off by the smell of citrus. If you cannot obtain the Apple Bitter, try a light citrus spray on the tree.
- If possible, place your tree in a room where you have the ability to close the door when you have to leave. I would recommend a baby gate, but to our cats–that’s a joke. Jump! Done!
- Be mindful of your cat’s activity with your tree. NO catnip items on the tree! If you don’t want your cat going bonkers with your tree, it might be a good idea to pause the cat nip until the holidays are over.