Max Dalleyhunter from VIC writes: ‘ Every Christmas I have the same battle with my two cats – keeping them away from the Christmas tree! I know they love to play with it, its like a new toy that comes out once a year. But I am worried about their safety, so how can I get them to stay away from the tree?’
Having a Christmas tree seems like great fun for our animals, particularly our cats. All those flashing lights, those dangly ornaments, and not to mention the giant green climbing toy (the tree) – what do you mean you didn’t set up that tree for your cats? It’s not how they see it. Your cats see it as a new extreme toy that comes out once a year, built just for them. Aren’t you so generous?! Despite the entertainment that comes from watching your cat scale that Christmas tree, it can also be a danger to your cats. Chewing on ornaments, pulling out Christmas lights and knocking the entire tree down can injure your cat, no matter how many lives they have. Veterinarians have even sent out warnings about cats eating tinsel and being rushed to the vet only to pull the string out of you know where. So how do we protect your Christmas tree from destruction and keep your cats happy? Or better yet, how do we create the Ultimate ‘Christmas Tree’ that our cats can enjoy and us too?
BOXED CHRISTMAS TREE
Why not forgo the traditional real or artificial ‘tree’ and create your own version with boxes? Everyone knows cats love boxes, sitting in them, lounging and sleeping. They are cheap, effective and you can decorate them anyway you like! You can create a pyramid of boxes with hidey holes for your cats, decorate them in Christmas paper or use green paper to create your ‘tree’. You can decorate your tree with cat toys, rolled paper balls, and foil balls for your ornaments. Not only are they safe for your cats, but they can also look festive. You can certainly create your own cat toy ornaments, using natural things like leaves, paper, treated pine cones, and cane cat balls. Any tree is not complete without a star – pick a bouncy toy that you can stick the base into the top box and watch your cats have fun all day pouncing on it. It may not be your traditional Christmas tree, but it certainly will give you and your cats lots of joy throughout the Christmas season.
Photo Credit: Cole & Marmalade
SCRATCHY POLE CHRISTMAS TREE
If you do not have a giant tall scratchy pole with a solid base, now would be the best time to invest in one for your cats instead of a traditional tree. Not only can your cats use it all year round, but you can certainly decorate it too. A tall scratchy pole with several platforms will give your cats variety for personal space and less arguments over favourite spots. You can make paper ‘tinsel’ to wind around the poles and add lots of foil balls and cat toys for your ornaments. If your scratchy pole is new, add some catnip throughout the carpet so your cats will be attracted to the new furniture. There are also some great pre made cat scratcher Christmas trees online too, already decorated with ball ornaments and platforms for your cat to get into the spirit!
LET YOUR IMAGINATION GROW
Excited by an unconventional Christmas tree? Why not get creative and create your own! DIY Christmas trees give you the freedom to create a unique tree every year. Make your tree out of all sorts of materials like egg cartons, pillows, cork, even toilet paper rolls! Anything natural and safe for your cats is going to be appreciated. When we think outside the box, there are so many different Christmas trees you can create that are special to you and to your cats.
If you really love building that beautiful Christmas tree every year, then here are a few tips for making it cat friendly:
- Use an artificial tree with soft foliage, and in built lights on it. Real trees have sharp pine needles and sap that can be dangerous to your cat.
- Avoid putting lights all over the tree – your cat will make a meal out of chewing on those cords
- When using decorative ornaments, make sure they are not too small or easy to break. Your cat can swallow these when having a curious chew
- Avoid using tinsel – yes, it is so pretty, however many veterinarians have seen cats rushed to emergency only to pull the tinsel string out with no tinsel attached.
- If your tree doesn’t have a solid base, add some sandbags or water bags to the bottom so your cat cannot tip the tree over.
Finally, keep your Christmas tree as cat friendly as possible. It is wonderful to see your cat enjoy playing with the tree; they make for hilarious YouTube videos, but in the end your cat’s health and safety beats any tradition any day.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!