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How to keep young cat off the Christmas tree

You would think there would be dozens of web pages on this...

   
2:15 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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But, not really. Most are spammy web sites with zero info or tips like "lock the cat up." (Duh!)

The one real suggestion I've gotten is to use an orange scent around the tree. So, we have something of a Williamsburg, Va, theme being tried on the tree right now, with orange peals dangling from each lower limb. There are some commercial projects to keep cats away from this or that, but we're trying this first.

Tough to blame the cat. The Christmas tree looks as if it is designed for him, right? First, it is a tree. Then it has all of these dangling, colorful ornaments hanging from each limb of the Christmas tree.

A real niche web marketing opportunity being missed here if this works: Orange-scented ornaments that the cats don't love. I think there are some orange-scented cleaning products I need to look into.

So, I'll keep you posted on our success. I'm doubtful since the cat is only 6 months old and he is attacking everything. Meanwhile, any suggestions?

2:29 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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aversion therapy is effective with cats. Keep a spray bottle around and squirt the cat whenever it approaches the tree. Eventually it will associate the two. That works well for a lot of behaviours.
Another scent cats tend to dislike is clove. Putting a drop of clove oil on furniture will keep cats from scratching the upholstery... maybe. Caveat there is I don't particularly like the smell of clove permeating the whole house.
2:44 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I guess there are different indoor and outdoor remedies, but I don't think products that emit the odor of fox urine or lion dung to scare cats off would quite fit in with the Christmas spirit indoors.

A search for cat deterrent has some content and product sites, and there are some that have a spray and/or a sound that goes off that might be worth a try.

3:28 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You can't. It's a cat magnet-playground-kitty-toy-paradise.

We never were entirely successful keeping the cats (had 3, down to 1) from the tree, but did go for plastic or other non-breakable ornaments over glass.

Once Justin got a bit older he didn't want to climb up the inside but found that hiding out underneath the tree (the big hunter) and chewing the bottom limbs or ribbons on presents was satisfying (artificial tree & that curling ribbon). Enjoy the exuberance of your kitten. Justin's not with us anymore, he was 17 when he left us earlier this year. Sure wish he was here to chew the tree.

LisaB

4:00 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Spray-bottle aversion therapy works best, and once you have it working on the tree anything else should be a snap. Cats are smart enough to know they don't like getting squirted - most are considerably smarter. Be prepared to discover that he may only avoid the tree when you're around with the bottle - the end result of too much therapy.

I'll be interested to know how the orange works out. It seems like nearly any citrus juice sprayed on a surface might work.

4:15 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I dont know if they exist but...

Cats hate high pitched sounds so an RFID/Similar collar which is picked up by sensor/speaker when the cat is within striking distance of the tree would be handy.

This would work even if you are out, and gets rid of the chance that the cat savages your trigger hand in retaliation to 'water conditioning'.

4:27 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member marcia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



There's a commercial deterrent out there that has a feline-unfriendly sound it emits and a sprayer when the cat comes by.
7:08 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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a commercial deterrent

When you think about it, a horrible thing to leave under the tree for kitty. ;) But it sounds like it would work great.
8:24 am on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps you can borrow a dog. Tie it next to the Christmas tree and the cat eventually will leave the tree alone.
3:03 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think I'm going to have to arm my wife with the spray bottle. That sounds like a good idea. It's her kitten, but she is FED UP with him attacking her Christmas tree.

I found some Goo Gone under the sink--nice orange smell to it, so I'm going to try that this evening. This morning he was back in the tree, but then the orange peels were dried out a bit and didn't smell as much.

The big problem in this case is the cat is only 6 months old. Everything, including getting sprayed or wacked, is a game. Wheeee! He is quite destructive. (The charts say 6 months is equal to about 13-years-old in an adult. That says a lot.) Our two older cats could not care less about the tree.

5:29 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I don't know about oranges, my cats are more repulsed by bananas - maybe a tropical island theme :)?

Seriously, another thing you can try is that clear plastic runner matting you can use to protect carpets ... arranged upside down around the base of the tree. It has little plastic pointy things on the bottom and *most* cats will avoid stepping on it.

Decorate with non-breakables towards the bottom and branch ends, put the breakables in near the trunk and up high. Tie the tree to something so it can't be toppled over

Caveat for the squirt bottle approach: If the kitten associates the water gun with the presence of your wife, it will just wait 'til she's out of sight to explore the tree. You gotta be VERY sneaky!

Caveat for the "get a dog" method: My dogs are afraid of one of my cats - with good reason!

I have ornaments that can't be replaced - around here NO breakables go on the tree in a "kitten year".

(I have bad-a** cats - and a black belt in catproofing!)

[edited by: MamaDawg at 5:30 pm (utc) on Nov. 30, 2006]

6:10 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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MamaDogg, you sound wise. I have the plastic sheet in my office at home. That will be easy to try. Stay tuned here for test results, tomorrow.
11:32 pm on Nov 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Forget the spray bottle.

..a water pistol would be ideal :)

It would be kind of you to put up another area for kitty to play safely though, perhaps a less fragile, mini tree ;)

12:12 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Remarkable... I was thinking to myself today, "how will I keep the kittens (two, sisters, three months old) from ravaging the Christmas Tree when it goes up?" I thought of searching for ideas on www, but forgot. Came on here to get a help with a JS problem, and lo and behold, lots of kitten-related tips!

They are lovely little black kittens, everyone adores them.

They are also curtain-climbing, carpet-clawing, mischief-making poo monsters!

Just tonight one leapt from nowhere at the coffee table sending my mug flying. Whilst I was mopping up the same kitten leapt at my back and hung on with all claws. Can't repeat what I shouted.

I'll try the orange, water spray, but not the dog .. I think that would create even more mess!

[edited by: RedTCat at 12:13 am (utc) on Dec. 1, 2006]

12:32 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I feel like a monster posting this but...

We don't keep cats inside at my place my father is asmatic. But when they come in, a no-no for asmatics, a small wack on the nose/back side acompanied by some BAAAAD KITTTY in a deep tone does the trick. After a while they get the point, just saying BAAAAD KITTTY and they know they are doing something wrong, whatever it is.

Although I will try the water bottle, sounds nicer.

12:39 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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From George Carlin:

"It is a scientic fact that a cat will blink its eyes if it is struck on the head with a hammer."

Cabo

12:56 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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try putting tinfoil around the edge, for some reason they hate walking on it
10:14 am on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just get a bigger tree with substantial branches and put it in a large container filled with concrete then the cat can be just another mobile Christmas decoration. This works especially well if you dress the pussy in a little Santa suit, or spray her with sparkly gold and silver paint.

Alternatively if you have a little lightweight tree then a cat ornament or cut out picture of a cat placed near the base will work (at least it did for me)

12:40 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> Caveat for the "get a dog" method

Caveat #2 ... then the dog will eat the ornaments and mess with the tree, leaving nothing for the cat to play with. (Ah yes, we discovered last year that dogs LOVE glass ball ornaments and think they're a crunchy treat!)

12:47 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Don't put Christmas trees up in November, reducing the time that cats can get interested and postponing the I want, I want, I want demands from children.
1:38 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Old Honky's ideas make more sense that one might think.

The orange peals dried out, but their is evidence that cats do not like the smell. The six-month-old cat plays with everything, but the orange peals got one sniff and he walked away.

The orange-scented soap on the tree, however, seem to have little impact on his interest in climbing, however.

The plastic mat with the spikes pointing upward was inspired, I thought. The older cats didn't like the mat at all, but the kitten was able to move around on it. We didn't try the tin foil, but I feel certain that the kitten would have ripped it to shreds.

The primary factor here is the age of the cat. One web site described six- to 10-month-old cats as "mischievous." Well, that's certainly one way of putting it. Another source was more clear, saying "destructive."

Our tree is typically decorated with hand-made ornaments constructed of antique lace. He got one of them and did quite a number on it.

Bottom line, this year we will have no Christmas tree.

5:05 pm on Dec 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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acompanied by some BAAAAD KITTTY in a deep tone

LOL, thought we were the only ones who said that. We used the deep voiced BAAAAD KITTTY with a finger tapped on the forehead - it got to the point that Justin knew when you said Bad Kitty, he'd put his ears down and look at you - most of the time, he knew he was in trouble, but the trouble was worth the prize.

LisaB

8:23 pm on Dec 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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he knew he was in trouble, but the trouble was worth the prize.

Exactly. The cat always wins even if caught.

3:58 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



There's a herb called rue that cats despise. Not sure if its available in dried form or even if dried rue is as effective.

The plant works wonders as a cat deterrent.

JoC

5:46 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



You need to have something which will operate 24/7, and spraying the cat with water is simply not practical. Believe me, I tried. LOL

Citrus: Cats hate the smell. Some household cleaners have a high concentration and they do work. We have one large cat, and one normal sized cat. Both hate the smell of citrus, and the household cleaner worked for us. Soak some absorbent objects (eg a small, egg sized piece of wood) in the cleaner overnight and hang these from the lower branches. Watch the don't drip on the floor. It's only the scent you need, not the liquid.

Pepper: Cats hate pepper. Finely ground white pepper sprinkled around on suitable objects at the base of the tree. But do watch out as you'll be sneezing, too.

Give the cat something to distract it and tire it out. Some other play object (a decoy tree) will help divert the mog's attention.

Have fun!

8:53 pm on Dec 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Bags of catnip left away from the tree itll never want to go near the thing again with these around.
2:10 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Good suggestions--but, with a six to seven month old cat.... He's nuts, into everything, nothing will stop him, "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead" is his motto.

Tree is on the sun porch, behind glass.

2:38 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Well obviously our kitten is weird - she has so far completely ignored the tree, behaves like it isn't there even as her mother works assiduously on its destruction.
4:18 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Think of it from a cats point of view.

For a few weeks of a year, these crazy humans, bring a tree into a nice clean house, cover it with lights and tacky decorations and watch it drop needles for the next three weeks.

These humans are crazy enought to drive me up a tree :)

9:08 am on Dec 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Compressed air. Not close enough to get anything on them (what is the propellent anyway?), but they HATE it. The plastic runner with spikes they like. But the air makes them run. Now, all we have to do is hold up the can. They no longer attempt to scratch the couch or chew on cords either. Sssst!
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