Pet-proofing all around the Christmas tree

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Pet-proofing all around the Christmas tree

Updated Dec 21, 2021

Dear Cathy,

I am a professional cat sitter plus I have three cats of my own. I’ve been lucky when it comes to Christmas tree disasters. We always get a live tree but put it up without decorations until the cats lose interest in it. Then we add decorations. We put unbreakable ornaments on the bottom, just in case.

As far as wrapped presents under the tree, I don’t even try. That would just be pushing my luck. But I think leaving off the ribbon would be wise.

— Kate, Locust Valley, New York

Dear Kate,

Letting the cats get used to the tree and making sure the ornaments aren’t breakable are both good ideas. One of the prettiest Christmas trees I have ever seen was decorated with fake white carnation-like flowers with the wire wrapped around each branch, which made it impossible for the cats to knock off the tree. The tree looked amazing.

So that cats and dogs aren’t tearing open presents early, wrap them without bows and ribbons, and hold off putting them under the tree until Christmas Eve.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal

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Cathy Rosenthal, CHES, CFE
Animal Welfare Communications Specialist

Cathy brings more than 25 years' experience in the animal welfare field. She is a sought-after speaker, Certified Humane Education Specialist, a syndicated pet advice columnist, an author, a publisher, and of course - a loving pet parent.

Read more about Cathy here or check out her Non-Profit's page to see more ways she can help you and your organization.

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