All cat owners know about this phenomenon, Christmas trees arouse a great interest in cats, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to prevent the animal from tearing it into pieces. But why is it such an attraction? An expert has responded.
Every year, it's the same story. You’re happy to set up your Christmas tree, with its garlands of lights and beautiful decorations... until your cat becomes aware of its arrival. Your daily life is transformed into an hourly struggle whose sole purpose is to prevent your cat from destroying what you have set up with so much love.
It is a fact, the Christmas tree arouses a keen interest from cats who do not hesitate to turn it into their personal playground as soon as their owner has turned their back. But why is it such an attraction? The American site Inverse went to ask for advice from a feline specialist. For him, not surprisingly, one can easily find a scientific explanation for this attraction.
The Christmas tree combines several factors making it simply irresistible for cats.
1 - The fir tree is a new element
‘First of all, you have brought something new and fragrant into their territory,’ said Mikel Delgado, a cat specialist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in the United States. ‘When cats are in familiar territory, they often want to look at something new! And the tree has scents from outside and bark that can be scratched so there are many things to look at.’
2 - A true playground
By adding garlands, ornaments and Christmas figurines, you've simply made your Christmas tree as beautiful as possible... without realising that you're turning it into a real playground for your feline companion. Shiny and dangling, the decorations indeed exert a certain attraction for cats. ‘These ornaments that you hang from the tree turn it into a giant cat toy,’ confirmed Mikel Delgado. ‘With lots of fun things to play with.’
3 - A natural climber
It’s well known that although you often see your cat basking on the floor or on a sofa, cats also love to climb things. Sometimes even when they are not used to climbing at all! This is something that they could have inherited from a distant ancestor living in the trees. Anyway, in this case, your tree may be a great opportunity for climbing.
‘Many cats will climb fir trees because they love to climb,’ said the specialist, ‘especially if they do not have a cat tree or shelf, the [fir tree] can become the highest point of observation that it can have in your house.’
If you also install a shiny decoration at the top of your tree, it won’t take much more to convince your cat that it must climb to the top, even if the tree is not that resistant to its assaults.
How to secure your tree for your cat?
Let's face it, seeing your cat play with the tree can be pretty irresistible, but it can sometimes lead to disaster. Mikel Delgado recommends taking some precautions to at least ensure the safety of your cat, as well as that of the fir.
First, he recommends installing the decorations at a good height and being particularly vigilant with those that can break and that could hurt your cat. You should also pay attention to the wires or strings in which your cat could become entangled, as well as to small items that could easily be ingested.
Finally, ‘Christmas garlands are a big no no because many cats like to chew on them (it looks a lot like glass) and it can cause dangerous intestinal problems,’ warned the specialist. As a general rule, it is not easy to make your tree safe for cats, so be careful, if you have not already done so, always be vigilant!
These tips can also be valid for other animals because cats are not the only ones who are a little too interested in Christmas trees. Dog owners can confirm this.