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