Sunday, December 9, 2012

How to Keep Kitty Out of the Christmas Tree

I got a new kitty recently and a new christmas tree! Not a good combo. He loves climbing up it and eating the branches and decorations, YIKES!! So I did a bit of research and found this great article from Cats International about how to keep your cat from hanging out in the Christmas tree. I posted some of it here.

How to Keep Kitty Out of the Christmas Tree

The arrival of the Christmas tree is a big event for Kitty. Life was bordering on “ho hum” before you brought this wonderful piece of the great outdoors inside. From the feline point of view this is definitely one of the most thoughtful gifts you have bestowed on your well-deserving companion. And if the tree wasn’t enough, you so thoughtfully added all those sparkly and dangly toys from its branches! Now… how do you break the news to Kitty that the tree is really not for him?

First of all, this is the time to present Kitty with all the gifts that you were planning to save for December 25th. Of course, if one of those just happens to be a floor-to-ceiling cat tree, your troubles are over. Let’s face it, part of being a cat includes the drive to be up high. It gives Kitty a feeling of security and domination that is so essential to the feline psyche. A few well-made catnip toys and some interactive play with a new fishing pole toy will also help to compensate Kitty for what he is not getting. Be sure that your cat has a tall, sturdy, sisal scratching post to which he can direct his instinctive scratching behaviors.

For the safety of the cat, the ornaments, and your household, be sure the tree is stable and cannot be tipped. A heavy tree stand will help but it is also wise to screw a hook into the ceiling and attach a string from the hook to the tree top in case Kitty makes a leap for the tree when you are not looking. The ornaments on the bottom branches should be tied on, not hung (green twist ties work well) and they should be unbreakable. Remember that pets love to drink the water out of the tree stand, so don’t so don’t add any preservatives that could be harmful to your furry family members.

In order to maintain that holiday spirit of peace and goodwill it is important to devise remote corrections to keep Kitty out of trouble. This means that the environment, not you, tells Kitty to stay away from the tree. Direct corrections (yelling or squirting with a water bottle) only teach the cat “owner absent” behavior. These methods can be confusing and frightening to the cat and the added stress may result in other behavioral problems such as housesoiling.
The following is a list of tips that Cats International has collected to keep Kitty from spoiling the season’s atmosphere of peace and good will

* Spray an indoor cat repellent such as B’Have, KeepAway or Boundary on the tree before decorating it. This is most effective with artificial trees.

* Remember that cats can launch an attack on the tree from chairs, tables and other furniture pieces, so keep these potential launching pads far from the tree.

* Hang lemon or pine scented air fresheners from several of the low branches (most cats find perfumes repelling).

* Sound deterrents are highly effective with some cats. A mini-motion detector with an alarm chime sold at Radio Shack works well to keep cats from forbidden areas.

* SSSCAT is an aerosol can with a motion detector on it. A blast of air is highly effective at persuading Kitty to look elsewhere for fun.

* Contech, the maker of the Scat Mat, offers mats that can circle the Christmas tree. The mats emit safe, electrostatic pulses that are uncomfortable to pets.