How to Cat-Proof Your Home for the Holidays

The holidays are upon us. And for those of you who celebrate, that means it's time to decorate! There's nothing quite like decking out our homes in all sorts of festive flair, whether it's shiny ornaments, twinkling lights or blooms of mistletoe and holly.
For all you cat owners out there who want to decorate for the holidays, you know it can be a challenge to keep those ornaments on the trees when curious kitties come sniffing around. They can't help themselves -- they're cats, after all! If you've got a cat who's aiming to get on Santa Paws' Naughty List, here are a few tips on cat-proofing your home this holiday season. We want everyone to have happy holidays, after all, cats included! 

1. Cat-Proof The Christmas Tree

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This traditional Christmas symbol might just look like a fancily decorated tree to you, but to your cat, it's the ultimate kitty playground; the perfect place to climb, hide, and it even comes complete with shiny, dangling toys (also known as ornaments). 

To keep your tree safe from any playful kitties, you don't have to go all out and barricade your tree in a cage. But there are a few things you can do to prevent Christmas tree catastrophes. 

  • Make sure you choose a tree base that is sturdy and tip-resistant! You want a base that can hold up to cats with a penchant for tree climbing. It can also help to anchor the tree with something like clear fishing line to keep it from tipping when a cat decides to go climbing.

  • Place your tree away from furniture or other potential launching pads for cats

  • If you opt for a real tree, be careful of fallen needles. Norfolk pine needles can be mildly toxic to cats (and dogs) if ingested, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. Keep your tree well-watered to avoid excess needle shedding and clean up any fallen needles as you find them. 

  • For those with real trees, be sure to block your cat from easily drinking the water. Tree water treated with additives (like fertilizer) can make cats sick. Even non-fertilized water can accumulate bacteria that your cat shouldn’t drink. Covering the water base with a tree skirt, netting, or blocking it with some kind of barrier can keep your cat away.

  • Avoid hanging tempting ornaments towards the bottom of the tree - reserve them for the top! Instead, hang plastic or wooden ornaments on the bottom branches, preferably ones that don't dangle too much or draw a playful cat's attention. 

  • If your cat is especially persistent, most cats don't like the smell of menthol or citrus; you may want to consider spraying the trunk with these scents to discourage an adventurous cat. 

2. Deck The Halls With Boughs of ... What?

Via otisandjr

Deck the halls with boughs of holly - but just make sure they're fake boughs! The leaves and berries of traditional holiday plants like mistletoe and holly are actually toxic to cats when ingested. Instead, opt for a plastic lookalike that are equally as festive ... and you can reuse them every year! 

Also be wary of decorating your trees or surfaces with tinsel; if eaten, your cat cannot digest this shiny, crinkly plastic. Tinsel can cause a bowel obstruction which can require surgery to fix. So maybe skip the sparkly stuff this year if you have a cat who loves to chew! 

3. 'Tis the Season for Giving ... But not table scraps! 

You might want to bring your kitty in on the holiday festivities, which include feasts - but many traditional holiday foods are not only unhealthy for your cats (high in fat, sugar and salt), but some foods can also be toxic! If you want to include your kitty on the holiday feasts, give them a special cat treat just for them. 

4. Careful of Candles  

While this one might seem obvious to most pet owners (and parents), it can be difficult to remember that our smart, intelligent kitties don't know the harm candles can cause. Cats love to explore and jump up high, often where candles are placed and lit to give off their light. A cat can burn themselves on the flames or knock candles over and cause a fire. If you still want to achieve that warm holiday glow, opt for battery-operated candles. 
When decorating for the holidays, it's important to keep your cat in mind - not only for the safety of your decorations, but most importantly the safety of your feline family member! 

Do you have any tips and tricks for cat-proof decorations? Let us know in the comments! 



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