5 easy ways to cat-proof your Christmas tree Consider the size of the tree. A smaller tree will be better for cats if they do indeed end up climbing the tree. To prevent smaller kittens from climbing the trunk, wrap tinfoil around it. Choose a strong base. A strong base is especially important not only if you have kittens, but also for small children and babies. Don't place the tree anywhere near climbing items. This will deter cats from jumping onto the tree. Consider not decorating the tree right away.

Scents and strategies to keep pets off Christmas trees and packages

You don’t have to buy pricey sprays to keep your decorations and gifts safe

Yes, you can hang ornaments higher on the tree. But you know the cat is still going to get to them.

And how many packages will the dog trample trying to get a drink of water from the Christmas tree stand?

» How to pet-proof your home during the holidays

Before you go out and buy a pricey spray to repel your furry family members, try one of these suggestions:

Scents

1. Many pets hate the smell of menthol, so try putting some Vicks Vaporub on a cotton ball or in a pine cone and placing it in the branches or around decorations.

2. And that citronella oil you used to repel mosquitoes might work the same way with your cat. Put some on the tree skirt to keep gifts safe from sharp claws.

3. According to howstuffworks.com, dogs think the smell of citrus is “horrendous.” Hanging orange or lemon slices on the tree can make a useful ornament, or fill a bowl with fruit and place it nearby. This likely will also repel cats, according to petcarerx.com.

4. Cayenne peppers won’t hurt your pet, but they will irritate its eyes, nose and throat. Consider sprinkling cayenne pepper in your potpourri or use an ornament hook to hang a few on your tree. If cayenne doesn’t work, try chili or jalepeno peppers.

5. A moth isn’t the only creature that doesn’t like the smell of mothballs, according to canidae.com. Don’t leave them where a dog might eat them, however. You can get creative and turn mothballs into snowman ornaments and hang them on the tree.

Strategies

If you, too, have a strong sense of smell and can’t stomach pepper or mothball aroma, there are other tricks you can try to keep your tree and decor safe.

1. According to petsafe.net, many pets dislike the feel of aluminum foil. Try spreading it under the tree to keep your pooch off the presents.

2. Those tacky mats you use to keep a rug from slipping might keep your cat from exploring around the tree. Buy a few in festive colors and place them where they will deter your pet.

3. Because cats dislike sticky surfaces that pull their toe hairs, consider putting clear, double-sided tape on the tree skirt or around decorations.

4. For a more festive deterrent, place pine cones on packages and around the tree. Most pets will avoid the discomfort of stepping on one.

Looking for more ideas to make this a great holiday? Check out the AJC’s Atlanta Winter Guide. In addition to dining options and gift guides, you’ll find:

» 7 Atlanta outings for the whole family

» Macy’s Pink Pig continues Atlanta holiday tradition

» Don't-miss Christmas tree festivals in Atlanta

» Where to visit Santa Claus in metro Atlanta 

» 5 holiday train adventures near Atlanta in 2019

» Roof at Ponce City Market transforming into winter playground

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