Whether a real tree is an annual tradition in your home or an artificial one is a decor staple, cats consider them some of the most curious toys around. To help your home prevent a mess of a fallen tree, broken ornaments, and a grounded kitty cat, check out these 5 steps to help keep your cat away from the Christmas staple.
- Place the tree in an area that is a fair distance from climbable surfaces. This includes bookshelves, sofa arms, and coffee or end tables. Having multiple surfaces and levels from which to jump only further tempts your feline friend to jump into the tree. Limit that availability from the start by picking an open corner a fair distance from other surfaces to place the tree from the start.
- Start placing ornaments at a higher point on the tree. Leave the bottom foot of the tree undecorated. When the cat goes by in passing, there is less to draw him or her to it, and prevents ornaments getting broken or damaged as well.
- Fill small balls, ornaments, or sachets with citrus zest and place towards the bottom of the tree. Cats abhor the scent, and are more likely to steer clear of the tree. Apple cider vinegar is another option. Put it in a spray bottle, and spritz the tree skirt.
- Offer the kitties an alternative—bring the scratching post into the same room as the tree or occupy him or her with a new toy or an old favorite. Cats are naturally curious, but often easily distracted as well. Keep your furry friend distracted by other means.
- Continually reinforce steering clear of the tree. When your feline friend approaches the tree, scoop her up and gently place her facing the other direction a few feet away. Cats are intelligent creatures—they’ll pick up the behavior reinforcement over time.
Remember, cats have personalities all their own. What may work for one cat, may not work for another. See what works best, and relax—it’s the holidays!