Cat in a Christmas tree

Christmas trees can be harmful to cats.

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How to cat proof your Christmas tree

By Natasha James Content Writer

Updated on the

Sparkly lights, shiny baubles, brand-new scents. The run up to Christmas means one thing to most cat owners, keeping the cat away from the Christmas tree!

We love Christmas and we love cats but unfortunately, they aren’t the best pairing. With all those bright shiny baubles acting like a festive version of catnip and all those pesky pine needles that won’t do your moggy any good, Christmas trees need to be treated carefully in order to make them cat proof. 

About to put your tree up? Get the complete low down on how to keep both your cat and your tree safe this winter.

Are Christmas trees toxic to cats?

Christmas trees and their decorations can potentially cause harm to cats without the right care and attention but there are a host of different types of tree to choose from. An artificial tree is a wise choice for cat owners but if your heart is set on a real tree, a Spruce or Fir tree could be a safer bet. Pine trees are best avoided as they can be mildly toxic for cats and cause irritation to the mouth and stomach if consumed.

But, whichever tree you choose, it’s vital that you keep a close eye on your cat around the tree and make sure they’re not munching on needles. It’s unlikely that your cat will eat the needles but have the hoover handy to be on the safe side.

Is it bad for my cat to drink water from the Christmas tree?

Cat owners will know that no matter how much fresh water they have available in their bowl, most cats will prefer to drink water from just about anywhere else! And, if you have a real tree, the water in the pot may prove irresistible. Never put chemicals or plant food in the water as this could be dangerous for cats. You should also cover the base of your tree securely so that your cat cannot access the water.

What type of Christmas tree is safe for cats?

A small tree is a safer bet with kitties around. The higher the tree, the more appealing it will be for cats who love to climb, and no one wants to have to redecorate the tree every time the cat decides to do some festive gymnastics.

If you’re desperate for a real tree, then opt for a variety that doesn’t drop many needles such as a Nordman Fir.

How can I make my Christmas tree safe for my cat?

While there are many things to take into consideration when getting a tree with a cat, you don’t have to go all Ebenezer Scrooge and ditch the decorations, you just have to consider some of the following tips for keeping your Christmas tree safe for your cat.

  1. Find a spot where you can secure your tree to the wall or ceiling so if your cat does decide to jump, they won't pull the tree over. Fishing wire is strong but won’t be noticeable.
  2. If securing your tree isn’t possible, consider placing a playpen around the base so that if it does fall, it won’t cause too much damage.
  3. Use ribbon or string to attach decorations to the tree. Hooks could prove dangerous to your cat.
  4. Avoid edible decorations. Chocolate tree decorations might be a huge hit with the kids but they could be harmful for your cat.
  5. Don’t use glass ornaments. Fragile ornaments could shatter and cut little paws.
  6. Don’t use tinsel! The shiny stuff is very appealing to cats but could be dangerous if ingested.

How do I stop my cat from attacking my Christmas tree?

If you’ve done everything you can to keep your cat safe and now need to spare a thought for your tree too, think about placing lemon or orange peel around the base – cats are not fans of citrus. You could also place pine cones around the base to keep them away.

With a little planning, both your tree and your cat will be safe all festive season. All, that’s left to say is, Merry Christmas and good luck!

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