As you begin your holiday decorating, we know some of you will be dealing with the annoyance of keeping your cat from wrecking – or completely knocking down, your beautiful Christmas tree. You want your cat to be able to enjoy the Christmas season with you, but you also want your breakable ornaments to remain in one piece. If this sounds like something you’re constantly dealing with, we’re here to help. 

Aside from not wanting your tree to get broken, cats messing with Christmas trees can be dangerous as well. Tinsel and electric string lights can pose as choking hazards, as well as a risk for electrocution if chewing on power lines. Broken ornaments can cause shards of glass which may cut your cat, so it’s important to make sure that your tree is cat safe before putting it up, as we all know how curious cats can be. 

To keep your cats (and your tree) safe this year, here are a few simple ways to “cat-proof” your decorations. 

The first tip we recommended is to simply proceed slowly. Cats react with a lot of curiosity when given new changes to their environment, so of course if Christmas throws up in the living room in a span of two hours, they’re going to want to investigate. Experts suggest putting the bare tree in your home for a few days before adding the ornaments to it, as the cat can investigate the bare tree without the risk of breaking anything or injuring itself on the decorations. 

Another tip is to hang ornaments as tightly as you can to branches. Skip out on the metal hangers that are traditionally used, as cats will want to swat at the hanging objects. Instead, try and use wires or twine so that the ornaments are tightly secured to each branch, not posing as a toy to the cat. Hanging more fragile ornaments up high will also ensure nothing glass breaks and create sharp shards; hang plastic, cheaper ones closer to the bottom so if the cat does get curious, nothing will happen. 

Although cats may remain curious about lights on a tree, make sure to shut them off whenever you aren’t around, so in the event they get in contact with a cord, at least they aren’t harmed. If you have a house full of curious cats, it may be recommended to keep your cats out of the room with the tree altogether. This may be hard, as some people keep their trees in a living space with no doors, but if you have an alternative and a lot of cats to keep away from it, this may be your best option. 

Artificial trees will be more ideal if you have curious cats running around. Cats may want to chew on the tree branches and pine needles are sharp and may cause injuries to them. at least if the tree is fake, there will be less mess, and less risk for getting sick and or cut. Placing the tree itself in a corner away from furniture is a good idea so that the cat cant leap from the furniture onto the top of the tree, knocking it down. Keeping it in a corner away from everything is the best way to make sure it’s difficult for the cat to climb it, and it will be most protected if the cat tries to knock it down. 

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pet store if you have questions on this or any pet related topic.