Cats love to climb! It's no surprise that Christmas trees provide an exciting new opportunity to practice this skill. Here are a few tips for managing this behavior, and keeping your cat safe this holiday season:
1. Leave the tree bare for a few days. The cat's desire to climb might be fueled by novelty. Give them a few days with the tree free of decorations to climb to their heart's content. Just be sure to have a sturdy base!
2. Leave fragile ornaments packed away. For your safety and theirs, keep fragile decorations far away from pets.
3. Provide alternative outlets for your cat's desire to climb. There are many cat climbing products on the market, take your pick! For the extreme pet parent, buying a fake "cat-safe" Christmas tree is a great way to give your pet an outlet away from your decorative masterpiece. To increase your pet's interest in their designated climbing furniture , hide some toys and treats for them to find each day. Like an advent calendar for your Cats! Making the alternative option more rewarding than the tree, increases the chances that your pet will choose that object in the future. This is the foundation of a psychological principle known as "matching law".
4. Prevent boredom by providing toys, stuffed food puzzles, and play! Keeping your pet busy with other activities may decrease their interest in the tree.
5. Train! Having some skills in your pet's repertoire can come in handy in an emergency. For example a recall may encourage your pet to leave the tree and come to you for a reward. With enough practice they can learn that the tree is never rewarding while coming to you is.
Get creative, and remember to keep it positive and fun for both you and your pet! Happy Holidays! 🌲
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