Yes, it’s that time of year again. And this year especially, people seem to be stepping up their decorating. Now, of course, that could be good . . . . Or bad.
So let’s talk about the thing that cats seem most willing to "redecorate" and that's Christmas trees. However, living with kittens and young cats, and those who have a wild guy or gal like our Ali Cat, life can be a bit stressful, to put it mildly.
Cats do like Christmas trees, especially with all those things that glitter, rattle, shake, shimmer and roll. It's true, toys are fun, but Holiday decorations are a whole different game - a real step up and far more thrilling. Unfortunately, some people tend to get a bit touchy about the things that they have worked so hard to arrange for the holiday, particularly since cats can do a fine job of rearranging things, really, really well. Although I'm sure, if they could, they'd thank you for all the time you've spent setting everything up for what they think is just them. LOL!
It's true, some people say they don’t mind, let the cat play with whatever he/she wants to, we love him/her so much. We do love our cats, but there are some concerns you might want to consider before being so . . . lenient.
Let's go over a some points for the holiday season, particularly for those with kittens and young cats. And let us be aware that there are adult cats out there with a mischievous streak, as well, to which much of that below will apply.
1 - If you have glass ornaments, vintage or new, inexpensive or not, you might consider leaving them in storage for a couple/three years, that is until your young furry friend learns some manners about what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Remember, glass breaks.
2 - Forget the tinsel of any kind for any cat, because you just might find yourself rushing to the vet with a seriously ill kitty. Cats have a tendency to “eat” string-type items and get "blocked."Our Ali Cat is one of those.
3 - Watch those electric cords. For some reason, cats love to chew on them. If you insist on not using an alternative for your electric lighting, buy a bad tasting product to spray or rub to apply to each cord. And hide the cords the best you can and hope that your cat doesn't get curious (we all know how that goes sometimes. Sigh of resignation.)
4 - As for the tree itself, there are a number of things to consider if you don’t want your cat climbing Mount Evergreen or knocking it over.
a - Think about putting your tree in a separate room where you can shut the door to keep your four-legged friend out, until you’re able to supervise.
b - Don’t put up a a full-sized tree. Try a small one with a heavy base instead. Consider a table-sized one, and don't forget about that weighted base.
c - Maybe not put up a tree at all. This is something we had to do with our Ali Cat. He’s a terror at times, and honestly, I'm not sure if he'll be ready for one next year.
d - Hang your tree from the ceiling. I know, weird, but I’ve seen people do it. Great conversation piece, I've heard.
e - Consider an alternative, like a big evergreen branch. Let me explain. Years ago, a woman I knew loved to do unique decorations. Well, her big white pine lost a large branch in a storm before the Holiday, so she decided to put it in though the top of her window (opening it first), then stuffed white towels or sheets around the bark and balanced the branch at the broken end with a pail filled with gravel, which she wrapped appropriately and turned into a giant ornament decoration. She then hung the branch on the inside with ornaments, etc. Looked rather nice. Definitely a novel idea.
f - Now, if you have a small kitten, you could place an “x” pen around your tree. However, an older kitten or young cat will likely go over the barrier, and once on the other side, your cat will think it arrived in Disneyland. There might even be a loud crash to accompany the event, spreading some pretty enticing new "toys" at its feet.
g - And about a live tree, know that the tree water can be toxic for any cat, especially if you are putting additives in the water to prolong tree life. Do not allow access to the water. Bad thing!
But here's an idea, I learned from a very smart vet tech, I know. If you have an Elizabethan collar from when your dog had to wear one (or get one from a family member or friend who have a dog who had to wear one to prevent it from getting at its stitches or keep it from scratching) and wrap it around the base of your Christmas tree, wide side down. Be sure it's tight, then carefully wrap your tree skirt around it. This is about your pet's safety, not your convenience.
h. If you insist on having a tree - live or artificial - be sure to anchor it. A weighted base isn't necessarily the only answer. In fact, you might want to consider putting it in a corner or against a wall, with a secure rope or cable. You don't want to come to "SURPRISE!"
I’m sure there are other preventative measures out there, but these are the most common ones I’ve come across. And, please, if you have one or two to add, feel free to leave a note in the comment section so everyone can learn what to do and avoid. Thanks!