How to Have a Cat-Safe Christmas
Top 5 tips to make your home a feline-friendly festive delight
By Reanne Rodrigues
♪ Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, your ornaments are history ♪
With wide eyes and a puffed-up tail, Chester pulled his ears back and made a dash for my newly decorated Christmas tree—swatting the ornaments, sliding down the tree skirt, and chewing ribbons off neatly wrapped gifts, as I watched in horror.
Chester is my cat, and after many a Christmas calamity, I’ve learned the importance of cat-proofing the winter wonderland that is my home—or at least trying to. Here are my top five-holiday decor do’s and don’ts so you, too, can make your home a feline-friendly festive delight:
- Artificial Christmas trees are safer.
It’s no secret that cats love Christmas trees. A brand new climbing tree covered in glittering baubles, colorful tinsel, twirly ribbon, and sparkling fairy lights—oh boy! Real trees are also teeming with free snacks for your kitty in the form of pine needles. Not only are they very sharp and able to puncture your cat’s skin, but they’re also toxic if ingested. Tree water may also contain pesticides and fertilizer that can cause poisoning in cats. Invest in a fake tree that still looks realistic. Bonus: you can use it year after year.
- Limit Decorations.
Broken, nibbled, or swallowed, Christmas decorations can cause serious health problems for your cat. Instead, opt for safer items and hang them at the top of the tree so that your cat isn’t tempted to make a soccer game or a meal out of them.
- Cat-proof candles and fireplaces.
Ah—there’s nothing better than cozying up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and your cat. That is until your frisky feline decides to investigate the warm hearth. Be sure to use a fireplace shield to prevent him/her from getting too close to the flames. And don’t leave burning candles unattended either. With your kitty meandering or zooming around the house, he/she could knock over a candle and potentially start a fire. Consider electric candles/fireplaces instead.
- Pick non-toxic plants or silk flowers.
Decking the halls with boughs of holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can make your cat sick if they decide to make a snack of the new plants. Never bring Christmas lilies or amaryllis into your home, as they are especially dangerous. Get some artificial plants instead.
- No figgy pudding or other human food
The aroma of a juicy pot roast can attract your cat. But avoid letting him/her feast on pan drippings or lick whipped cream off your leftover pie. It’s not all bah humbug for kitty, however. Try this little gourmet Christmas dinner menu for your kitty instead:
○ Starter: flakes of fish in a delectable broth
○ Main: moist and tender turkey pâté
○ Dessert: luckily, sugar, spice, and everything nice hold no interest for your cat, so don’t let the longing looks with those big, green (or blue or amber) eyes fool you. Just enjoy tucking into your fifth dessert of the day with no guilt!
The bottom line is that no one—especially your cat—wants to do the countdown to Christmas from the vet’s office. And with these safety measures in place, you’re well on your way to making sure your kitty’s love affair with the fir by the fireplace (and more!) doesn’t end up in tragedy.
Wishing you and your cat a Meowy Christmas!
Reanne Rodrigues is owned by her cat, loved by all dogs, writes about both, and still longs for a parrot.
Edited by Rena Henderson