Fatal attraction: Cats and Christmas decorations – but it can still be a time of peace!
Many a cat’s eyes will widen like saucers when their master, mistress or the family haul the Christmas decoration box down from the attic just before Christmas. Santas and elves, candles, balls and fairies, straw, goats and elks, stars and nativity figures are all pure temptation for nosey little pussy cats. But a lot of it is harmful to these four legged creatures, even dangerous. Moggie can cut her paw open on bursting baubles and unsuitable fine things such as tinsel or even the poisonous Christmas poinsettia can have nasty consequences. A bit of education is called for here to ensure moggie keeps her paws off these tantalising adornments.
You should at all costs prevent cats from sucking on the tinsel (absolutely harmful!), choking on the hanging threads of straw stars or eating pine needles (highly indigestible for animals). If the little tiger goes for it, hold her back with a sharp “No!” Don’t scold her by using her name in a severe tone which would only confuse her and give rise to future negative connotations when she hears her name. If you want to discipline her anonymously then give pussy a fright with a squirt from a water pistol when she starts prowling towards the advent wreath. She won’t connect this with you so your relationship of trust won’t be shaken. If that doesn’t work, you can ban the cat from the Christmas room for a short while.
The Christmas tree
Many problems can be got round anyway if you put up the Christmas tree and the other dangerous decorations in a room where the cat doesn’t normally hang out. Most cat owners don’t buy highly poisonous poinsettias in any case – however, if a well-meaning acquaintance brings one along, simply set it on the window sill in the kitchen if moggie is not allowed in there. Thus there’s no danger that she’ll eat it and you can still enjoy the admittedly very pretty bright red flowers. The same goes for breakables: put these decorations up out of cat-paw reach.
One problem is often the Christmas tree itself. If your pet is a “tree clamberer” you would be better hanging pretty, but unbreakable, adornments on the branches. Small apples and wooden articles can make lovely decorations and are mostly very robust. But even here you should make it absolutely clear to your cat early on that she’s not allowed to climb up the trunk and merrily bounce around the branches. If needs be, send kitty out of the room or again, get the water pistol out.
However, the pine tree is often such a magical attraction that none of this does any good, even if you give your pet an especially attractive toy for Christmas. So here’s a little trick with which you can quite easily break moggie’s habit of trying to scale the Christmas tree. Don’t buy a Nordmann fir this year, but go for a blue spruce instead. Because it pokes and pricks! Indeed, you’ll have to be a bit plucky yourself while you decorate it and cope with the thorny needles, but you can be sure your little tiger will leave the tree in peace. Who’s going to badger it even if they’re thick-skinned in the truest sense of the word?
And by the way, you still shouldn’t allow your cat to eat the falling needles. These are highly indigestible for your pet and on top of that, if your tree has come from a plantation, it will have been sprayed. So take care, too, if you’ve bought a potted pine tree. When you water it, this water often collects in the under tray. Remove this because moggie could take a drink from it which would likewise be anything but healthy for her.
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