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How to Decorate Safely for Christmas with Cats in House

Updated on May 7, 2014

Creche Placed High

A Christmas Nativity set up inside a plastic storage container on a high shelf to protect it from pet cats.
A Christmas Nativity set up inside a plastic storage container on a high shelf to protect it from pet cats. | Source

Frisky Indoor Cats

We luv 'em, don't we? Our family members of the feline pursuasion warm our hearts and tickle our funny bones with the stunts they pull.

Decorating when Curiosity IS the CAT!

These little cutiepies know the minute something is different in their environment. This will add to the challenge of placing holiday-related decorations inside the home. However, with a little bit of ingenuity and the guts to be a little different from your neighbors, you can preserve your holiday keepsakes despite your in-house investigators' skills.

Decorate Up High to Thwart the Cat

This may sound odd, since we know that cats can and do leap to amazing heights. However, perhaps you know of a space or two in your home which your cat has never bothered. Try placing a holiday decoration there. Of course, we know that there is no guarantee that your cat will not discover this heretofor untried perch the day before you planned to put a holdiay decoration there.

You also may want to use flat, two-dimensional items on the walls near the ceilinv - in placese there are no toeholds for felines.

Decorate in Enclosures to Thwart the Cat

This concept is entirely foreign to persons without toddler (humans) or cats of any age. Nevertheless, it becomes necessary to think outside the box (actually, INSIDE the box) when displaying delicate decorations in a home where mischevious cats dwell. I have owned my manger scene for over three decades. It is hand-painted breakable clay. You know what would happen if my frisky kitten got within a paw's lenngth of it: Baby Jesus would be batted around like a toy mouse! The creche would become the props for a game of "Manger Football!" Nothing doing, kitties!

Therefore, I put my creche inside a large, clear plastic storage box. Although it is transparent-clear by storage box standards, there is some light distortion. It appears as one would imagine a Nativity diorama in an aquarium to look. But, it beats not having one displayed at all.

Add Citrus Scents to Holiday Decor to Thwart the Cat

Many ctas dislike the scents of the citrus plants family. If your cat is programmed to dislike citrus-y smells, yse this knowlede place tangerine peels next to precious items. Alternatively, obtain citrus air freshener sprays and keep an amount in the Christmas tree room to ward off a feline tree-climber's dream:

No Stringy Thingies

We know that cats adore batting at hanging strings. Celiling fan cords, laces on sweatshirt hoods, cords on mini-blinds - these all are the equivalent of the Pied Piper's call to a kitty. So, why would a cat owner even consider using tinsel or dangling ribbons in holiday decorating? Besides having a very low chance of surviving intact, these materials are very dangerous for a cat. Their ingestion can lead to death.

So, no tinsel. No strands of beads, cranberries, or popcorn on the tree. No long ribbon with dangling mistletoe. No strings on packages or decorations which the cat can reach. Unless it is enclosed and under lock and key, do not use stringy thingies in your winter (or anytime) holiday fancifying.

Prevent CAT-astrophe at Christmas

It can be done. Just think of all the places your pet likes to be and all the things she likes to touch. With that list in mind, put your decorations anywhere that did not make the list and can still be seen by you. Hmmmm... did we forget the ceiling?

Photo and text copyright 21012 Maren E. Morgan.


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Randomcreative - yes, I am a new cat lover/owner, but I have heard stories of families who had 2 different zones of ornaments on the tree, depending on height. Also, I have heard of families that actually secured their Christmas tree with ropes from the ceiling, so that the tree could not be toppled. Amazing. I love cats!

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Lady Guinevere - I laughed out loud at your story of the bell on the Santa hat. I can picture the lines of claw scratches that you would have had running up and down your legs! I also laughed at the cat whose mission was to bat off all the balls. They are smart little sritters!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Great tips! We are fortunate to have an old cat who does not ever bother any sort of decorations, but growing up, there were always rules about things like not hanging fragile ornaments near the bottom of the tree.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 5 years ago from West By God

      We have indoor cats and one of them loves to eat anything shiny. Thank includes paper, stringy things and ribbons. Oh and another thing that he loves is thing that make noise, like bells. I was getting my husbands Santa Hat out so that he could wear it and be Santa for Christmas for my grandchildren and there is a bell on the top of the hat. It was jingling as I was taking it to one side of the room to the other. Let's just say that I am glad that I was wearing pants. That silly boy was trying to climb and jump up to get that bell.

      We have a small tree on the top of our counter and that is about all we can get away with. We did have a large tree for a few years, but each year a cat would climb into the center and bat the balls off. We gave that up after a few years.

      Cats are curious critters and fun to watch and play with.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Hi Peggy! Yes, the cats are great fun to watch scampering and playing ... until they start destroying something i like (houseplant, chair upholstery...) I am rather relaxed about material things, but there are a few things I would like to preserve. MAybe you can write a hub about how to "train" cats. :D

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have a couple of indoor cats and they are curious creatures. We have never had to put our nativity scenes in plastic enclosures but I can't fault you for wanting to protect something that is valuable to you. They can be inquisitive and are enjoyable to watch when they are playing...unless it is in the middle of the night. Ha!