What You Need to Know About Your Cat and Christmas Trees

It’s that time of year when people all over the world decorate for the holidays. Many people adorn a tree for the season. A few years ago, I learned about the real dangers of these trees and ornaments.

Ii astonished me to learn the statistics regarding Christmas trees. According to National Christmas Tree Association, there are approximately 350 million Christmas trees planted by farmers in the US alone. Of those, 350 million, 25-30 million are sold. These numbers pale compared to people who buy artificial trees, which amounts to 80% of those who decorate Christmas trees.

You may wonder what Christmas trees have to do with your cat.

The obvious answer is if your cat is prone to climbing, or as I like to put it, be a “tree baby” (pun intended), there is a chance for injury. There are other reasons, too.

  1. The sap from the tree is toxic to your cat. It is in the tree, needles, and the water in which the tree stands.  
  2. Along with pine poisoning comes the threat of the pesticides and fertilizers used in growing the tree, and chemicals that are used to enhance the look of it. These can cause kidney and/or liver failure, muscle weakness, labored breathing and digestive issues. 
  3. The needles pose another problem in that they can easily become lodged in the cat’s throat, or rip her intestines, etc.
  4. The ornamentation of the tree adds to the problem.Tinsel and those shiny bulbs look like cat toys and are an enormous temptation for the cat. If she chews on the tinsel, chances are that she will swallow it and it may wrap itself around the cat’s intestines. Some ornaments used on the tree are made from breakable material and can cause damage to the cat’s paws if stepped on and, of course, cut internal organs if swallowed.

Unfortunately, except for the sap poisoning, artificial trees have the same dangers as do their live counterparts.

Solution: Raise your tree off the ground and out of reach of your little ones. You may think that it takes away from the beauty of the season, but better that than spending hundreds of dollars in vet bills, or take the possibility of a beloved family member dying..

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