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How would you pet-proof your holiday decorations?

Asked at Pet World, 711 W. 23rd St. on December 13, 2008

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Photo of Mackenzie Hegedusich

“I would definitely keep my bunny out of the room where the decorations were and limit all the decorations to one room.”

Photo of Arthur Austin

“I really don’t have to. … I only have one pet and she’s only in the house occasionally, and she’s very well trained.”

Photo of Holland Thurs

“Keep them out in the garage.”

Photo of Melinda Miller

“I don’t allow them any contact with them. … They’re rats and they stay in their cage.”

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notajayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Great day for this question, as we awoke this morning to a Christmas tree laying on the floor of our living room. The kitties just don't understand why this particular tree is something they're not supposed to climb!So I guess my answer to this question would have to be: "Not very well."

ohjayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

So far, we haven't had to worry about it either. This is our first year with a real tree, and all four dogs seem to be leaving it alone well enough. I'm sure it would be different with a cat, though!

Danimal 9 years, 6 months ago

No, just like child proofing, they have to learn for themselves.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 6 months ago

By not having pets in the house. I'm not much for indoor pets.

ms_canada 9 years, 6 months ago

Sheesh - I am trying to figure that out. I have this monstrous big cat, Rusty, who chews everything he can get his paws on. He seems to like the color yellow best of all. He keeps snitching my yellow crossword pencil which I always seem to forget on the table. I got him a pencil of his own, but, alas, it is blue. He still prefers my yellow one. I am hoping that since my Christmas decor only includes white and gold ornaments and stuff, he will just ignore it. But I have my doubts. What to do????????

notajayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

Years ago my friend's cat kept trying to climb the tree while she was decorating it. Exasperated, my friend finally grabbed the cat and sort of tossed her across the living room. The cat walked to the opposite end of the room and sat and glared for a while - before launching himself at full speed, leaping into the center of the tree, and knocking it to the floor. It would be nice to think the kitty thought it was a real tree and didn't expect it to fall over. It would be nice to think that, if the cat didn't look so darned pleased with himself.I agree with the comparisons to childproofing (something we're also familiar with). We try to avoid things that will be harmful to the cats - we don't put tinsel on the tree or small ornaments they might choke on, for instance (something that doubles as childproofing - we stopped using ornament hooks and use small strips of ribbon instead). But we don't have any realistic expectation that we could put an expensive crystal tree-topper up there and have it survive the Christmas season. Just as with children, it's the price you pay for keeping indoor pets.

ms_canada 9 years, 6 months ago

Well, sheesh, I have the answer, no tree. I just brought my nice faux tree up from the basement, set it up in the corner of the living room, arranged the lights nicely and low and behold Rusty loved it. So much so that he climbed right up the trunk, sic, right to the top. I had a devil of a time getting him out. He was all tangled in the light cords. And he is a very heavy cat. So, that is my answer, no tree this year. But I love a tree. Won't be Christmas without it. Oh woe is me!!!!

ms_canada 9 years, 6 months ago

Oh no, I just read your comment notajayhawk. Did your friend take the tree down. If she threw him out of the house for the holiday duration,, I am afraid I do not have that option as it is too dang cold here in the frozen north. And dang it, I love that cat.

notajayhawk 9 years, 6 months ago

ms_canada (Anonymous) says… "Oh no, I just read your comment notajayhawk. Did your friend take the tree down. If she threw him out of the house for the holiday duration,, I am afraid I do not have that option as it is too dang cold here in the frozen north. And dang it, I love that cat."I lived in upstate NY at the time. Pretty sure she didn't put the cat out for the holidays. :) No, she left the tree up. It didn't happen again, I think the kitty felt he had made his point.Our cats climb the tree (also artificial) pretty regularly. This year I spent some extra time attaching the branches so they don't get knocked off by the climbing. But only one of the four is a small cat, the others are all 12 pounds or above, and that tends to unbalance the tree. We usually tie it to the wall/ceiling, but for some reason I couldn't find the garlands and some of the lights this year when I put it up, and was waiting until I had all the wrap-around stuff in place before tying it up. Apparently the kitties couldn't wait that long. It's tied now (actually wired).

ms_canada 9 years, 6 months ago

notajayhawk - you have given me some ideas and I thank you. Rusty has got to weigh more than 15 lbs. I just put the tree onto a blanket and dragged it down the hall to the TV room and closed the door. when I want it in the living room, I will drag it out and put Rusty in the TV room Lucky thing I have hardwood and it is easy to drag it quite smoothly. I hope that you have a very nice Christmas.

domino 9 years, 6 months ago

stgwolverine - your choice is to not have pets in the house - mine is to have my dogs inside as much if not more than they are outside. Guess I'm a little suprised that you read this article, since you apparently aren't a pet person. My 2 dogs have never bothered the tree - one is less than a year old, so this is her first Christmas, but no problems with the tree. Considering they are each over 100 lbs, they could do considerable damage to my tree!! The one thing I do have to be careful about is not having breakable objects on low tables - they wouldn't intend to hurt them, but with their very strong tails can easily knock something over just turning around! That is something I have to watch year round, though, not just at Christmas. I know it can be more difficult with cats - they are so much more independant. I always chuckle thinking about the saying "Dogs have owners - Cats have staff" - always seems to sum up the difference between the two, as far as I'm concerned. And I am not a cat hater, by any means - just don't happen to have any at this time. Bottom line - all responsible pet owners have to take those responsibilities, much as parents have to with children, very seriously. The article gives some good advise for newer pet owners but should be mostly a review for those who have had pets for a while.

sgtwolverine 9 years, 6 months ago

Domino, this is On The Street, which is the LJW feature I visit nearly every day. I haven't read any articles connected with this question.And yeah, I'm not much for indoor pets. I'm okay with low-maintenance outdoor pets (though I probably wouldn't choose to have those, either), but it would never be my choice to have an indoor pet. That's just how I am. To me, pets are like children that never grow up; if I'm going to have a responsibility like that, I'd rather just have kids. That's nothing against you or anyone else who likes having pets indoors; I just can't relate to that.

bkreed1960 9 years, 6 months ago

My three indoor cats are actually quite well behave when it comes to the Christmas decorations. The one problem I have is until I put the presents out, the tree skirt gets tossed about and rolled up almost everyday. I don't have the heart to put the tree skirt away because they are too cute when they are snuggling under the tree, otherwise I've been very lucky.

Deja Coffin 9 years, 6 months ago

Why does Holland want to keep all the Christmas decorations in the garage? Doesn't he know nobody will really see them there?

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