As soon as the Christmas tree went up, our cat started chewing on it.
It was a fake tree. It can’t have tasted good, and I tried to make it taste even less good with a little hot pepper wax spray on the lower branches. But Dusty kept coming back and nibbling.
I told her how dangerous it was. My partner and I tried to distract her with toys, which worked until it didn’t. We told her no, which sent her scampering out of the room. Until she came back and headed straight for the tree.
Finally, it looked like Dusty was leaving the tree alone. Then she threw up a bunch of the fake needles, prompting an emergency vet visit.
Thankfully, Dusty was OK. We would watch for any signs of blockage or bleeding for a couple of weeks.
The tree, however, was un-decorated, taken down, and put away by noon the day of the emergency vet visit. It wasn’t worth the risk.
When I communicated with Dusty about the ordeal, what I got was that she was surprised when she threw up the fake tree needles … and even more surprised at our anxiety, and at being whisked off to the vet. She thought we were enjoying the “keep the cat away from the Christmas tree” game as much as she was, so it continued. Unfortunately, we couldn’t figure out a way to call off the game without removing the hazard.
Maybe this is actually “why we can’t have nice things.” Living with cats and other creatures sometimes requires us to forego nice things in favor of better things.
I found some Christmas tree cat-proofing ideas here. The article notably does not rule out skipping the tree in favor of a wreath on the front door! I’m sure we will end up finding a Christmas tree alternative as well.
Christmas was never really about the decorations, anyway.