Cats vs Christmas Trees
Okay, this isn’t a TXT Stories video but it’s entertaining nevertheless.
Okay, that’s adorable and quintessentially feline but it’s not quite as funny when it’s your own tree crashing to the floor. Here are some important considerations when trying to get cats to co-exist with your Christmas tree:
⁂ Selection: The age-old question of real vs artificial comes into sharp focus when you have pets. Real trees have needles that can be tempting for cats and dogs to chew, but are actually toxic. This also goes for the water used to keep the tree fresh during the holiday season. An animal drinking from the tree’s water can become quite ill from the toxins. Granted, eating a plastic tree branch isn’t much good for their digestion but they’re less likely to go after an unscented plastic limb than an aromatic pine bough.
⁂ Slow your roll: There’s nothing more exciting than erecting your tree and proceeding to go completely Martha Stewart on the thing, but if you’ve got cats you’re well advised to let the thing sit a bit before decorating. This will give your fuzzies a chance to get used to the new item in the room and become bored with it. If you can let the tree stand a few days before decorating, it will prevent some possible issues. Cats are notoriously curious and will want to climb it just because it’s there. To that end, it might be better to have a shorter tree so that if they do climb and topple it there is less chance of them getting hurt in the process.
⁂ Site prep: We’ve already spoken about the benefits of going artificial for your animals’ sakes as well as opting for a shorter tree that’s less likely to do injury if it falls on them. Additional steps you can take are to secure a wide base by duck taping the feet of the artificial tree’s base to a wide, heavy surface. The same can be accomplished with other materials, but whatever you decide to use should be able to withstand the weight of a cat who has climbed to the top or a big dog who is leaning against the tree.
⁂ Scent: Another tactic is to make the tree smell displeasing to your cats. Citrus is lovely for us, but it’s horribly strong and repellent to cats. You can spray the tree with a citrus scent or you can soak some pine cones in citronella oil and hang them from the bottom branches among the decorations. A pine cone with some white paint and glitter on top and a loop of ribbon hot glued near the stem looks lovely as a decoration and can be dipped periodically to maintain its repellent aroma. Pomanders are also a good resource. An orange punctured with cloves and hung from the tree as an aromatic decoration will make a lovely scent for you and an invisible fence for your cats.
⁂ Separate but equal: As much as decorating the tree is an opportunity for family togetherness, you might want to seriously consider shutting the cats away while the activity is going on. All of those different decorations coming out of their packing are just going to wind up looking like an ever-changing variety of toys for your kitties to swat at and want to play with. If it can all occur while they’re being distracted in another room or napping, it’s going to be less tempting for them overall.
⁂ Spray: When all else fails, keep the spray bottle handy. A squirt of water and a “No” will generally get the idea across. Keeping a citrus-based air freshener near the tree will also help serve as a deterrent.
Another consideration for your pets is how to handle holiday visitors. With the excitement of the season, dogs and cats can get overly excited when friends and family arrive. Not only can it annoy your visitors, but it also can be harmful to your pet. All the same, you don’t have to keep your animals crated or locked in a room in order to avoid problems. The following tips will help your pet stay calm enough to not miss out on the holiday fun:
❁ Give your pet an extra workout: According to the American Humane Association, taking your pet for an extra long walk or having a longer playtime can help tire your pet out before the party starts.
❁ Encourage guests to greet with care: As your guests wander in, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests asking your guests to calmly greet your pet. Giving an excited greeting will undoubtedly be reciprocated.
❁ Amuse your pet with a toy: The Humane Society of the United States recommends using toys as a distraction from jumping up on guests or getting into things. For dogs, toys with hiding places for treats are suggested. Catnip toys will keep cats busy.
❁ Reward good behavior a few times during the event: The American Humane Association suggests keeping treats handy. Encourage your guests not to feed “people food” to your pets. Using inappropriate foodstuffs as a treat can lead to begging for more at your guests’ feet.
❁ Relax your pet with a supplement: Many experts say that calming products can help relieve your pet of hyperactivity. After three or four squirts in your pet’s mouth, Pet Calming Spray acts quickly to relieve fear, nervousness, restlessness and aggression. It helps rutchy pets sleep through the night.