It’s that time of year when people all over the world decorate for the holidays. Many people adorn a tree for the season. A few years ago, I learned the real dangers of these trees and ornaments.
I was astonished to learn the statistics regarding Christmas trees. According to National Christmas Tree Association, there are approximately 350 million Christmas trees planted by farmers in the U.S. alone. Of those 350 million, 25-30 million are sold. These numbers pale compared to people who buy artificial trees, which amounts to 80% of those who decorate Christmas trees.
You may be wondering what Christmas trees have to do with your cat.
The obvious answer is that if your cat is prone to climbing, or as I like to put it, be a “tree baby” (pun intended), there is a chance for injury. There are other reasons, too.
- The sap from the tree is toxic to your cat. The sap can be found not only on the tree and needles themselves, but in the water that the tree stands in.
- Along with pine poisoning, comes the threat of the pesticides and fertilizers used in growing the tree, and chemicals that are used to enhance the look of it. These can cause kidney and/or liver failure, muscle weakness, labored breathing and digestive issues.
- There is another danger with the needles of the tree. These needles could easily become lodged in the cat’s throat, or rip her intestines, etc.
- The ornamentation of the tree adds to the problem.. Tinsel and those shiny bulbs look like cat toys and are a huge temptation for the cat. If she chews on the tinsel, chances are that she will swallow it and it may wrap itself around the cat’s intestines. Some of the ornaments used on the tree are made from breakable material and can cause damage to the cat’s paws if stepped on and, of course, cut internal organs if swallowed.
Unfortunately, with the exception of the sap poisoning, artificial trees have the same dangers as do their live counterparts.
Solution: Raise your tree off the ground and out of reach of your little ones. You may think that it takes away from the beauty of the season, but better that than spending hundreds of dollars in vet bills, or take the possibilty of a beloved family member dying..
Have a happy and safe holiday!