The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to deck your halls and make your house look merry.
For most, it’s fun and exciting to break out the tree and turn your home into a winter wonderland, but it gets a little stressful when you have a four-legged friend or two in your home. Year after year you spend hours making it look perfect, only to turn your back and find your favorite ornaments broken or your whole tree lying across the floor.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to choose between your pets and your tree. With these simple tricks, you can enjoy both this year.
1. Choose location wisely
If you can, put your tree in a room that you can close up to keep your pets away when you’re not around to supervise. If that’s not a feasible solution, at least keep from placing it near shelves or surfaces from where your cat can jump.
2. Keep it upright
Climbing cats and chasing dogs can cause your tree to spend just as much time on the floor as upright. Keep your tree from toppling by securing it to the wall or ceiling with an eye bolt or molly hook and heavy fishing wire.
3. Make it heavy
If you don’t secure your tree to the wall or ceiling, use a base that is sturdy, wide and heavy to help prevent it from tipping over.
4. Cover the water
If you use a live tree, keep your cats and dogs from using the base as a water bowl by making sure the skirt reaches all the way to the trunk of the tree.
5. Delay decorating
Before you fill the tree with tempting baubles, let it sit, unadorned, for a few days. Give your pets the chance to get accustomed to the tree before you add the tempting ornaments.
6. Use scent deterrents
Cats hate the smell of citronella, so it works as a pretty good deterrent for your tree. Spray a few pine cones with the scent and place them throughout your tree to keep your cats on the other side of the room.
7. Use texture deterrents
Cats (and some dogs) won’t walk on a texture they don’t like. Use aluminum foil, pine cones and sticky textures like double-sided tape under the tree to keep the cats away.
8. Skip the shiny stuff
Those glass ornaments are gorgeous, and your cat thinks so, too. Skip the shiny, reflective surfaces and opt for ornaments made of felt, paper, wood and fabrics. They’re still fun and colorful but won’t be half as interesting to your feline.
9. Go for noise makers
Add lots of bells to your tree decor so you’ll get a noisy alert when the animals start to go exploring.
10. Keep the breakables up high
If you can’t stand the thought of a tree without your favorite ornaments, at least keep them on the top half of the tree and make sure they’re tightly secured to the tree.
11. Protect from shock
Keep your pets from chewing on cords by covering them with cardboard or plastic tubes and unplugging the lights when they’re not in use.
12. Fake it
Live trees are beautiful, but they’re more tempting to your pets — and more dangerous. Cats and dogs tend to chew on branches and needles from live trees leading to irritated mouths, punctured intestinal tracts and maybe even poisoning due to chemicals used to preserve cut trees.