The Dangers of Having a Christmas Tree and a Cat
Christmas is around the corner and as usual, Christmas trees and decorations are abundant. If you have a cat in your home, it can be difficult managing everything without getting frustrated. Live, trimmed Christmas trees, in particular, can be hazardous for cats. The pine needles once ingested, can damage the feline’s intestines. In fact, pine is extremely toxic to cats and can cause severe liver damage and even death. The water in which you place the cut trees is also toxic and is usually concentrated with fire retardants, preservatives, and pine resin.
The fire retardants sprayed on both live and artificial trees have been linked to thyroid disease in cats. Although artificial trees are considered to be generally safer than live ones, they can lead to intestinal blockage when consumed by a cat. Here are a few things you can do to protect your pet.
Using Feline Repellents
Feline repellents can be very effective at keeping the cat away from your Christmas tree. Excellent examples include citrus oil and cotton balls or orange peels soaked in citronella and then placed under the tree. You can also spray a diluted vinegar solution, camphor, or hot sauce around the base of your Christmas tree, which are extremely distasteful to cats.
Alternatively, you can purchase certain commercial products specifically designed to repel cats. However, the repellrnt scent tends to fade away over time, so you may need to reapply regularly. The cat can also get accustomed to the repellent scent and become unresponsive to the product.
Another excellent solution is to surround the Christmas tree with objects or obstacles that will keep the pet from reaching under the tree and climbing over. To prevent aerial attacks, use double-sided tape or tin foil that will make it difficult for the cat to dig its claws into. You can also reinforce this strategy by making loud noises whenever the cat gets close to the tree.
Enhancing the tree’s stability
Tree stands can be great for ensuring stability. Look for a tree stand that comes with a covered water reservoir or simply cover the reservoir manually using plastic wrap or aluminum foil. This will prevent the cat from getting into the water. You can also enhance stability by tethering the tree to the ceiling or wall using hooks and fishing line.
Preventing electric shock
Once you have decorated your tree with lights, make a habit of unplugging them at night when you go to sleep. When they are in use, check them regularly to ensure they don’t have any damaged or frayed areas from the cats chewing on the wiring. Noticeable signs of electric shock include drooling and physical or mental impairment, and should be given immediate medical attention.
Dealing with tinsel and angel hair
Most people consider these little strings of silver to be customary holiday decoration and a part of the Christmas experience. However, you may have to give up tinsel or your pet may soon find himself in the E.R of your veterinary hospital. Once ingested, tinsel can cause chocking and/or deadly intestinal obstructions. Additionally, try to stay away from edible ornamentation such as candy canes, cookies, and popcorn strings during the festive season.