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Pet Columnist

Christmas trees, kitties don't mix

Dear Fisher,

I have had many wonderful times rummaging through wrapping paper, ribbons, and the Christmas tree in past years. I'm quite a mature cat, so my humans know I am not going to chew on things I shouldn't or swallow things that could make me choke. This year I'm worried because we're expecting a new kitten in our house on Christmas Eve, and I am hearing rumblings about changes and new rules. I'm beginning to think my Christmas isn't going to be very much fun. What do you think?

Izzy

Think about your own young life back in the day. I am sure you can remember your people taking precautions to keep you out of harm's way. Cat plus curiosity plus a Christmas tree can turn disastrous if a few rules are not put into place.

Decorations should be kept at a minimum. A Christmas tree without tinsel is still a Christmas tree. It is best not to have a lot of dangling ornaments to entice the new little kitten. Of course, the most cat-proof thing to do is set the tree up in the yard, keeping it there for the duration of the holiday. While that would be a nice way to share your holiday spirit with the neighbor people, it might not be very safe for the neighbor cats.

Several ideas your humans can use to dissuade improper behavior are:

Secure the tree with a strong stable base, or attach clear fishing line to the top of the tree and then to a ceiling hook. No need to re-invent the theory of what goes up, must come down.

Most cats do not like the smell of citrus, so place lemon or orange rinds around the bottom of the tree to stop the climbing urge. For best results, replace the rinds often.

Sprays, such as Bitter Yuck, can keep critters from chewing on the branches.

Choose ornaments that are not easily confused with kitty toys. Kittens are not likely to bite into a china candy cane.

Visit Cat Lovers Only (cat-lovers-only.com) for more information. Most safety rules apply the dog as well — just don't tell the dog you found the information on a cat site.

Christmas trees, kitties don't mix 12/11/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 28, 2011 1:31pm]

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