cat lying under Christmas tree.

When you have a kitty at home, the holiday season can bring more stress than joy. What if the cat tries to climb the tree? What if she breaks your great-grandma’s heirloom ornament, the one that was passed down to you when she passed away? What if your kitty rips open the gifts under the tree or knocks down your menorah or Kwanzaa candles?

Luckily for you, the team at Clairmont Animal Hospital has seen it all—and we’ve got tips to share with you! Read on to find out everything you need to know about making holiday decorations safe for pets. 

3 Tips for Pet-Proofing Your Christmas Tree and Other Holiday Decorations

1. The Setup 

Do you really need a real Christmas tree in your house? Christmas trees are usually spruce, fir, and pine, all of which have needles that smell nice but can be toxic to cats if ingested. The water you use to keep the tree fresh can be harmful to your kitty, too. 

Consider putting up a realistic-looking fake tree instead. Or if you must have a real tree, make sure your kitty can’t access the water. Wrap tinfoil around the base—cats hate the stuff and are more likely to stay away.

Whether it’s real or fake, make sure you put your tree in a space without any nearby furniture. This reduces the chances of Kitty climbing on the bookcase and leaping onto your tree. Or climbing on the TV cabinet and leaping onto your tree. Or climbing onto the back of the couch and…

You get the idea. 

2. The Decorations 

Leave your tree up without ornaments for a day or two so your cat can check out the tree and get bored with it. 

After that, focus on decorating the top half of your tree. If you’ve ever had a toddler living in the same home as you, this drill will be easy to repeat. Make sure large ornaments are closer to the ground, and no small or choke-worthy ornaments are within reach. 

As for lights, keep them unplugged if you’re not there with Kitty. Use a cord cover to make sure she doesn’t chew them. 

3. The Hazards 

When it comes to cats and the holidays, there are lots of nos to follow. 

No fake snow. No tinsel. No poinsettia, lily, cyclamen, or amaryllis plants. No leaving chocolate coins out for your cat to eat. No using real candles in the house if you can’t supervise both cat and candle the entire time there’s an open flame. 

Use fake candles if possible or use real candles only when you’re there to supervise. 

These nos might be annoying, but they’re important. Or, rather, your cat is more important than your affinity for poinsettias or candlelight. And unlike fake snow, fake poinsettias and fake candles are safe to use around your kitty! 

Find creative alternatives to the most common cat hazards and you’ll still enjoy a very merry holiday indeed. Avoid leaving your cat and any lighted candles alone in the same room, even for a few seconds. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to keep your pet safe during the holidays, reach out to our caring veterinary team at Clairmont Animal Hospital.