Christmas tree vs. your cat

The Cat Offensive:

Some cats are the self-appointed mortal enemies of the Christmas tree. The cat offensive is a multi-fronted assault on your holidazzle display. Here are some tips on how to ensure your cat and tree stay safe.

First the decorations. The tinsel is eaten, hanging ornaments are batted down and light strings are tangled or chewed. Next, they isolate the tree from its resources by ignoring their perfectly good bowl of water and drinking the tree-stand water instead. Finally, your cat will launch the ultimate attack: delicately climbing to the top of the tree, then hanging up there until your tree crashes to the floor.

The Christmas Tree Defense:

To defend against this cunning plot, your Christmas tree may employ one of many defensive maneuvers. First, Sapping their Strength: by leaking sufficient sap into the tree water the tree attempts to force your cat to drink enough sap to cause painful vomiting and diarrhea. Second, The Tinsel Tie Down: That tinsel is tough to digest, as it sits in the stomach it can become tangled and stuck requiring an emergency surgery to remove it.  Third, Joining the Dark Side: When your cat chooses to chew through the lights, they take their life in their hands (or rather, paws). Those wires carry an electric current that can cause electrocution for your kitty. Finally, The Take Down: Some cats fail to get out of the way fast enough when the tree comes down and can be injured by ornaments or branches.  

Making Peace on Christmas Day:

Much like other age old conflicts, resolving your felines Christmas angst may take some work. Mediation isn’t very effective, but you don’t have to give up your holiday decor. Take a few simple precautions to ensure your felines attempts are thwarted. First, secure your tree to prevent falling by tying it to the wall or ceiling. Second, don’t use tinsel. Third, fill your tree water at least once daily (this is good for the tree and dilutes the sap in the water) and place a barrier over the top when you’re done so your cat can’t get access (a tightly fitted tree skirt is usually enough). Finally, pay close attention to your cat and if they are interested in the lights. You can cover them with soap suds, sour apple spray or other bad tasting deterrents to stop the chewing. When picking a deterrent it may seem like a good idea to use a spicy powder like chili or cayenne, but I would advise against it. Two reasons: First, cats don’t spit, they drool. Once that taste is in their mouth they will drool all over your house in utter misery and spicy discomfort for hours unless you rinse it out. That seems a bit harsh (and messy). Second, if you forgot when you took down the lights at the end of the season and then rub your eyes, Christmas karma will be there to give you a nasty bit of payback. If detterents doesn’t work, consider unplugging the lights until your cat ignores them. If your cat still goes for them, consider removing them or confining your cat away from the tree when you aren’t able to supervise.     

Good luck, but if you lose the battle this year there is always next year. Besides who needs a tree in their house when they have a snuggly kitty purring in their lap?

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