Dear Miss Behavin’: I recently adopted a new cat, and this will be his first Christmas. I would like to put up a Christmas tree but I’m not sure if he’ll just want to climb it and attack all the ornaments! How can I cat-proof my Christmas tree?

Cats are curious investigators and will want to check out anything new in their space, especially a tall tree decorated with dangly shiny objects! When you first bring your tree home, don’t put decorations on it right away. Wait a few days and gauge your cat’s reaction. He will most likely become bored of it if there’s nothing he can grab or play with. Make sure your tree has a solid base, so if he does get frisky and decide to climb it, it’ll be harder for the tree to fall over. Put the tree in a spot away from “launching zones,” aka his cat tree, a table, counter, etc. Tuck lights near the trunk of the tree, so he’ll be less likely to chew or grab on to them. Tie ornaments on securely so they can’t easily fall and only put a few at the top of the tree. Avoid decorations like tinsel or anything string-like that can be easily digested, as tinsel can be a serious hazard to cats when digested. Put a tree skirt or blanket around the base so your cat can’t access the water, which can also sicken them. Keep your cat in another room when you are out of the house so he’s not unsupervised around it. But don’t stress too much – your cat will more than likely try to climb the tree and check it out. The best you can do is proceed slowly and make it as safe as possible!

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