This Is Why Cats Hate Christmas Trees
The real reason your feline friend is so intent upon destroying your holiday fun.
You spend all night putting up the perfect Christmas tree, only to wake up and find those once carefully-placed ornaments scattered all over the living room floor. Once again, your cat has snuck its way into your spruce—and, suffice it to say, none of your decorations have made it out alive.
Unfortunately, this is the reality of the holidays for countless households with cats. In fact, cats destroying Christmas trees is such a common holiday trend that recently, a special “half” Christmas tree—a fake fir with branches that start a few feet off the ground—went viral for the very reason that felines can’t reach it (and therefore can’t destroy it). But while it’s generally accepted and understood that cats and Christmas trees do not get along, one question still remains: Why?
All you have to do is look at a Christmas tree to discover the answer. The holiday centerpiece is adorned with many a hanging object—objects that, to a cat, look very much like toys begging to be played with. Coupled with the fact that cats’ claws are designed to help them climb trees—something they frequently do in the wild to escape predators—and your Christmas tree is essentially a would-be playground for your feline friend.
“You just installed the most amazing, real-life climbing tree in your home, then covered it with enticing dangling fabulous toys and you expect to be able to keep your cat away from it? I’m going to make this really easy for you: You can’t,” says veterinarian Dr. Liz Bales, founder of Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co.
So it’s important that you make sure to keep your pet far away from this Christmas decoration—and not just so you don’t have to spend Christmas morning vacuuming up shattered ornaments.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, tinsel—one of the more popular Christmas decorations—is toxic to cats, and, should your animal consume it, they could experience everything from vomiting to damage of the intestinal tract. And not only that, but should your cat accidentally ingest pine needles, they risk puncturing their intestines, damaging their liver, and dealing with the health-harming long-term effects of the chemicals covering your tree.
If you’re a cat owner, then you’re probably asking yourself at this point whether it’s possible to even keep a tree in the house without risking your pet’s health. The answer, fortunately, is that you can. In addition to ditching the tinsel, Dr. Bales recommends ensuring your tree is well-secured, both on the bottom with a sturdy tree stand and on top by attaching it to your ceiling with fishing wire.
Additionally, refrain from putting any additives into the water surrounding your tree, and cover any water you do use to keep your cat from lapping it up. And if your cat still seems intent on destruction, try keeping your tree behind closed doors or a baby gate to keep your pet out of harm’s way.
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