Thursday, December 18, 2014

How do I keep my cat from chewing on my Christmas tree?

Even though most cats do not chew bones like dogs, a good number of them will occasionally get it into their head to gnaw on one thing or another - especially at Christmas when that amazing cat toy comes out of the basement or, even better, comes in from the outdoors to stand there, just asking to become a jungle gym and oral health device!

Chewing behavior can be normal in cats - an expression of curiosity and exploration, teething behavior in young cats, or a result of play, however chewing can also be an expression of boredom or an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can quickly become destructive!

How do you keep your cat from gnawing the Christmas tree? Here are some tricks to try:

  • Place a heat or motion sensor under the tree, such as the Scranimal, which emits an audible sound when the cat enters the 10 foot x 3 foot area that  it protects. There are other similar products that emit ultrasonic sounds if an audible sound would be a problem at night. 

  • Wrap tree branches in reach with tin foil, bubble wrap, or double sticky tape. Once the tree is no longer fun to chew, the cat will leave it alone and you may be able to remove the deterrent.

  • Wipe branches with a cloth sprayed with Bitter Apple. It is best not to spray Bitter Apple spray liberally in your home because some people find the spray residue obnoxious. Take small items outside to spray with Bitter Apple. 

  • You can combine two deterrents in one and wrap the branches in double sticky tape that have been dipped in cayenne or hot pepper.

  • If your cat likes chewing on dangling things, you can try hanging CET Cat Chews from his cat tree to simulate the tree he is chewing on. It may help to have a cat tree located in the same room as (but not right next to) the Christmas tree. This will give your cat an alternative perch in the same room as the tree which will hopefully prevent him from climbing up into the tree.

  •  You can offer your cat an alternative plant to chew on by growing or purchasing some Cat Grass and placing it in the same room as (but not next to) the tree.

  • If all else fails, you may need to relocate your Christmas tree and/or decorations to a room cat can't access. In the case of the tree itself, you can remove the lower branches (artificial or natural) that the cat can easily reach and hope that he does not try to get up higher in the tree to chew on the upper branches.

Additionally, this WikiHow Article has some great tips on cat-proofing your tree in other ways.

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