Christmas tree: Expert shares advice on caring for trees

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No matter how much time and money households spend on making their Christmas tree look as beautiful as possible, cats always find a way to chew through the branches and lights. To avoid an unwanted disaster with your tree this year, experts at B&Q and cat-owner Harriet from Yorkshire, have revealed their top tips that will make your tree less tempting to your cat.  

When asked how she deals with the issue, Harriet said: “In all honesty, I haven’t had a Christmas tree up in the last six years because of this and the carnage it brings and having to redecorate it every day. I wondered what I was going to come home from work to each day, which was quite funny.

“The tree was more often than not on its side with everything taken off it. Although, this year, having moved in with my partner (and the cat coming with me) I will be trying again, and with two trees in the house – so fingers crossed!”

Harriet’s top tip is to use scent to deter cats from Christmas trees – particularly citrus scents which are 100 percent safe for cats.

If the Christmas tree and the area around it smells unappealing, it is likely that the feline will want nothing to do with it.

Harriet said: “Typically, cats dislike the smell of citrus. Planting either a spray or peels from citrus fruits nearby the tree should be a natural way of keeping your cat from destroying your Christmas decor as mine did.”

Keep reapplying the scent around the tree at least twice a week to maintain the potency. 

The cat owner also suggested using tin foil as a deterrent as cats hate tin foil because of the sound and texture.

While households don’t need to deck their tree in a mountain of foil ornaments, a little can go a long way in stopping cats from surrounding the tree.

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Harriet said: “Cats hate the look, feel, and sound tin foil makes, so placing it around the area of your Christmas can help to deter them from trying to jump onto the tree or go anywhere near it.”

Simply place it at the base of the tree, and it is often enough to turn the tree into something cats will avoid at all costs.

Mairi Devlin, Head of Horticulture at B&Q suggested keeping the Christmas tree away from the furniture. She said: “You want to minimise their opportunities for getting to the tree as much as possible. 

“If you have your tree close to furniture, you’re giving your cat an easy route to destroying your tree.”

Households should also avoid placing decorations on the lower part of the tree, according to Mairi. If a cat can reach the baubles, lights, and tinsel, they will snatch it from the tree with all their might.

She said: “Cats are attracted to anything that is shiny or remotely dangling in their face. Temptation can easily be prevented by avoiding placing baubles at eye level and focusing on decorating further up the tree.”

For those who are worried about the tree looking bare, use less shiny objects lower down which will be less of an attraction to a cat.

Households can also opt to purchase a half parasol Christmas tree to keep the decor out of reach.

The expert said: “Rather than keeping half of your tree bare, why not go for a half parasol tree this year to remove any temptation from your cat? 

“This way the decor is out of your cat’s reach, whilst still keeping the festive feel in the room.” 

As well as half parasol Christmas trees, thinner versions can also be less tempting for cats to destroy.

Households can discourage cats from wanting to climb their tree if there are fewer places to nose through and hide in. Pencil trees – slimline versions of Christmas trees – may put cats off wanting to explore.

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