It’s hard for your cat to imagine why the large, green snack is off limits. It even has a built-in water bowl and dangly toys! If your cat can’t resist messing with your tree, try these tips. 

Prevent unfortunate incidences of tree mauling by limiting access to the tree. If possible, close it off from him during the night and while you’re at work so it’s not tempting your cat, sitting there in paw’s reach when no one’s nearby to deter him. 

Use a good-quality tree stand that holds your tree upright without using wires or strings, but use those to anchor it just in case. Select a tree base that closes off the water so kitty doesn’t drink it. Tree preservatives can harm him.

Use shatter-proof ornaments around the base and place your precious ones only around the top of the tree. Some cats like eating tinsel and icicles (possibly because its fluttering ramps up their prey drive), so avoid these. Wide, shiny foil ribbon crinkles in a way most cats hate, so you do have other options for glitz. 

Edible items like strung popcorn and cookies may overly tempt cats who love these snacks. Try artificial alternatives. If you’re giving cat treats or catnip, seal them well before placing them under the tree because guess who has a very sensitive nose and no qualms about waiting for Christmas morning?

Protect cords with cord covers, available at hardware stores. Chomping on a live wire could kill your cat.

If you can’t close off your tree from kitty at night and while you’re at work, spray the lower branches with cat repellant. Avoid spraying on items that could stain. If in doubt, designate some cloth ornaments for spraying with repellant. Since the odor fades within 24 hours, spray daily.

Offer your cat a few new toys as an early Christmas present. These may help distract him from the tree’s temptations.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant