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Are Christmas Trees Toxic to Cats? What You Need To Know!

Cat with a christmas tree in the background

Christmas trees, whether live or artificial, can be a hazard for a household with cats. While you are hanging popcorn garlands or tinsel, or ornaments on your attractive pine tree, your pet will be salivating at your feet, anxious to dine on the freely hung treats. And even if your Christmas tree doesn’t have edibles or sparkling decorations, it can pose a threat to your kitty.

Consider these potential hazards before putting up your amazing Christmas card photos or a gnome hat in front of the tree.

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Potential Hazards to Watch Out For

Cat reaching for ornaments from a tree
Image Credit: Myshun, Pixabay

Live Tree

Spruce, pine, and fir make perfect Christmas trees, but the oils they produce can irritate your cat’s stomach or mouth, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The needles may create more problems since they are not easily digested and can lead to gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, an obstruction, or pierce the intestines.

Artificial Trees

Although artificial trees are sap and oil-free, their needles may cause gastrointestinal or other problems, depending on what material makes up the tree.

Fertilized Water

When you set up your Christmas tree the day after the benediction, you will want to make sure it lasts until Christmas by adding preservatives and fertilizer to the water. Sadly, these chemicals, bacteria, and mold can make your cat ill if they drink from the tree stand.

Ornaments

Your cat might think clay keepsakes, glass baubles, or pottery ornaments are good toys for clobbering. However, they may crash to the floor and shatter, cutting the cat’s paws.

Lightings

Glaring light stands can lure or delight your cat, only to cause electrical burns or choking hazards.

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Holiday Plant Poisons

holly plant
Image Credit: JosephMonter, Pixabay

Besides the garlands and tinsel, some holiday plants may take part in causing toxicity in your cat. Avoid these toxic plants when decorating for your holiday.

Holly

The holly plant can cause physical injuries through its sharp leaves. In addition, the plant contains soap-like elements known as saponins, which can lead to severe stomach upset. The pointed leaves and saponins may cause blood in your kitty’s stool or vomit.

Mistletoe

Just one twig from a mistletoe plant can lead to diarrhea, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and a low heart rate in cats.

Amaryllis

The bulb of this attractive flower can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, salivation, diarrhea, and tremors in cats.

Lilies

Cats are susceptible to lilies. They are so sensitive that grooming lily pollen off their coat can cause kidney failure. Other signs of lily toxicity may include heart arrhythmias, convulsions, and gastrointestinal upset.

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How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree

You cannot alter your cat’s instincts, but you can put in place safety measures to ensure their love affair with the pine or fir in your house does not end in tragedy. Here are some of the ways to cat-proof your Christmas tree.

1. Select Your Tree Wisely

Christmas fake tree
Image Credit: Pixabay

If your cat is prone to bite on off-limits objects, you should consider an artificial tree. Plus, if your feline is likely to climb and knock over the tree, choose a smaller tree that will lead to minor damage when tumbled.


2. Spray Repellents

There are various commercial spray repellents you can use to keep cats away from your tree, though you can also make your own. Some cats don’t like citrus smells, so try a spray of water mixed with citronella or citrus oil. Or else, you can place orange or lemon peels around the tree base or within the branches.

Make sure to replace the peels every few days to maintain the fresh scent. Spraying diluted apple cider vinegar around the tree base can also be an excellent repellent for cats that aren’t fond of the smell.


3. Contain Cords

Hanging electrical cables are an invitation for a feline to play and bite. If your cat bites through a wire cable, it can cause burns or electrocution. Cover the cables and fasten them to the wall from the outside to avoid such disasters.

When decorating your tree, wrap the lightings firmly around the tree trunk to make them inaccessible. And to make your Christmas tree safe for your cat, do not forget to unplug lightings when you go to sleep or before you leave the house.


4. Decorate Intelligently

If you have covered your tree with glittering, hanging baubles, it will not matter how much fetid repellants you spray on it. Your cat will be agitated to resist.

Don’t dangle any breakable decoration on the tree’s lower half for a more cat-safe Christmas tree. And if possible, keep the lowest tree branches from any ornaments or potential temptations.

Avoid decorating with tinsel or edible ornaments, which are both toxic to cats. Tinsel may lead to stomach obstruction when ingested, and edible decorations such as candy and popcorn may lead to a blockage.


5. Create Barricades

Depending on the size of your tree and your feline, you can be able to create obstacles that will keep your cat out of the Christmas tree. Remove furniture that might serve as a launching rack to help your cat jump higher the tree.

In addition, you can place a baby gate, fence, or an exercise pen around the tree to limit your cat’s access to it. Some cats don’t like trampling on pinecones and will not get too near if placed around the tree base.


6. Cover Your Tree with Aluminum Foil

An aluminum foil is an excellent barrier to keep cats away from your Christmas tree. Wrap the tree base and trunk entirely with aluminum foil. Because most cats don’t like the sound of the foil and the feeling of penetrating their claws into it, they will keep away from the tree.


7. Secure Your Tree

Christmas tree with beautiful ornaments
Image Credit: Hollanddesign, Pixabay

Regardless of all your efforts, your cat may still find its way into your Christmas tree. It is crucial to secure your tree well so that your curious feline does not accidentally knock down the entire tree.

To keep the tree stably on the ground, begin with a heavy tree stand, or add weights to a lighter one. Or else, you can attach the tree stand to a massive piece of cardboard to keep it secure.

Ensure you place the tree near a wall. Tie a thin wire or clear string to the top of the tree and fasten it to the wall to ensure the tree remains upright.

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Final Thoughts

It is very crucial not to miss the fun and joy that comes with the Christmas holiday. Don’t become irritated if you experience a minor accident when your cat knocks down your Christmas tree. Pull up the tree back and ensure your feline is alright.

Cats and Christmas trees can be a recipe for disaster. However, once you have cat-proofed your tree, all that is left is to celebrate the most enjoyable moment of the year. So, ensure this Christmas is a safe one by keeping your Christmas tree upright and your kitty out of it.

Finally, don’t forget to treat your cat to a small gift, too, this Christmas. Reward your cat for maintaining peace with your Christmas tree and involve them in the festivities


Featured Image Credit: Nadtochiy, Shuttterstock

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