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Why Do Cats Love Holiday Decorations So Much? Risks & Precautions

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on May 1, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Why Do Cats Love Holiday Decorations So Much? Risks & Precautions

No matter what holiday you’re decorating your home for, if you have cats, you know they will soon be along to bat at, knock over, and otherwise play with all your holiday decorations. But why do our feline friends love holiday decorations so much? Is it because holiday decorations tend to be shiny or lit up? Is it just because they’re something new? And are there any risks to kitties playing with holiday decorations?

Cats love holiday decorations because they’re shiny, lit up, and new. Holiday decorations can also bring new smells into the home, which means the cat needs to do a taste test to discover what these smells are. Felines are curious by nature, so it makes sense that they’d want to explore all your holiday decorations, but you need to be wary when it comes to cats and holiday decorations because there are some risks between the two.

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Why Cats Love Holiday Decorations

Think about the holidays you decorate your home for—Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, etc.—and think about the items you bring into your home to decorate. For example, those who celebrate Christmas often have a Christmas tree, which is absolutely irresistible to cats! Our kitty friends love being up high, plus a tree (whether real or not) brings the outside inside (something that can be incredibly enticing for strictly indoor cats).

Or imagine Diwali, where a rangoli is drawn with colored sand or powder; something new and colorful with an interesting texture is sure to entice the kitty. Even holidays such as Halloween can offer your cat new ways to have fun, as there are pumpkins around, candles, and possibly colored lights or stuffed decorations perfect for dragging around.

Holiday decorations are essentially a feline playground, so it’s easy to see why cats love them!

Image Credit: GolubaPhoto, Shutterstock

Risks of Holiday Decorations

Your cat may love playing with holiday decorations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for them to do so. Why would holiday decorations pose a risk to felines? There are so many reasons holiday decorations can be dangerous for your pet!

Take Christmas trees. If you have a live Christmas tree, it will need water, which might be something your cat decides to drink. However, the cat shouldn’t be near the water, as pine trees contain substances that could end up in the water. This means ensuring you have the water at the base of the tree covered up. Also, with live trees, you risk your cat eating a pine needle; not only are pine needles toxic to kitty, but they could puncture a cat’s esophagus, stomach, and more if ingested.

There are also holiday plants you may put out in your home (particularly for Christmas) that could be dangerous for your cat if eaten. Plants like lilies, mistletoe, and holly are all poisonous to felines, so they should be kept far out of reach of cats (or, better yet, out of the house entirely).

When it comes to decorations (for any holiday), many are breakable. If a cat bats at or knocks over a breakable object and then tries to pick up one of the broken pieces, they could cut their mouth or tongue. They could also walk over the broken pieces, cutting up their paws. Then you have decorations, such as tinsel, ribbon, lights, sand, powder, and so on. If your cat tries to eat any of these things, they could be injured (and it might even prove fatal if the object obstructs the bowel or intestine).

Holidays often involve candles, too, whether this is a fall scent candle for Thanksgiving or the lighting of a menorah or kinara. Fire and cats are a terrible mix! Not only could your pet walk by a candle with their tail flicking and end up burning it, but your cat could also push a candle over (which is dangerous for everyone!).

Holiday decorations of any kind can prove hazardous to your favorite feline!

How to Keep Kitty Safe During the Holidays

There are ways to help keep your cat safe when holiday decorations are around (most of which involve keeping decorations far from your cat’s reach!). Just a few ways you can help keep kitty from harm include:

  • Forgoing the tinsel entirely.
  • Placing breakable decorations far out of reach of the cat.
  • If you must use candles, ensure they are placed where your cat can’t reach them (or, alternately, use electric candles instead of real ones).
  • Keep only plants that are safe for cats in your home. If you must have a plant that is toxic to felines, keep it in an area where your pet isn’t allowed to go.
  • Ensure Christmas trees are secured so they won’t fall over if the cat climbs them.
  • Cover up water at the base of a live Christmas tree.
  • If you’re using strings of lights, put them up somewhere that is out of your cat’s reach so they aren’t able to chew on them.
  • If you have a holiday decoration that you want to keep safe (like a stuffed Halloween item), place it out of kitty’s reach.

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Final Thoughts

Cats love the holidays because that’s when the decorations come out! Holiday decorations mean new, shiny, fun objects to play with, making them the equivalent of a feline playground. However, holiday decorations of all kinds can be extremely dangerous for our kitty friends. You can keep your pet safe by ensuring that anything dangerous is kept somewhere your cat can’t reach. After that, you and your cat can enjoy the holiday together!


Featured Image credit: nadtochiy, Shutterstock

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