Your pets and the Christmas tree

Yesterday we brought home the Christmas tree. As you can see, the boys were very interested. Laura asked about keeping the tree and your pets safe from one another on the Facebook page. I thought it might be a good idea to explain how we deal with this in our house. Since we have four cats, each one has his or her own pet peeve with the tree. We’ve had to figure out what this is and plan accordingly.

As I stated in yesterday’s post, we opted for a real tree since one of the cats liked to climb into the fake tree and bump all the branches down. It’s very hard for the cats to climb a real tree because it is so dense. When purchasing a real tree, make sure to get one that is very full.

If you are worried about your ornaments, make sure that any breakable ones are higher up on the tree and out of reach of your pets. Opt for shatter proof balls, which we found work very well. We had a number of them knocked off the tree and they did not break. We also keep soft ornaments near the bottom of the tree. Keep the shiny stuff on the top half.

We have found that garland works better with our cats than tinsel. They don’t eat the garland, but they might try to knock it off the tree. You might want to try beads or ribbon on the tree since it’s not so shiny. Tuck ends of the garland into the center of the tree to make it harder for pets to loosen it. They also don’t see the dangling ends and try to play with it.

Finally, if you are worried about pets eating the tree, there are spray products you can buy at the pet store that are supposed to deter them. The one that we purchased was a garlic/chili based spray. It doesn’t smell like either but it is supposed to deter pets because they won’t like the taste. The problem is our cats like garlic and chili. One of our cats loves BBQ chips, so we woke up one morning to find the cats licking the stuff off the tree. Our cats are strange so it might work for your pet.

For cats, make sure you have a water bottle handy to spray them if they don’t behave. After a few days, your pet will most likely lose interest in the tree and you’ll be ok. Our cats have already lost interest. After the first hour, the boys had enough of trying to get into the tree and haven’t touched it since.

Just remember that you love your pets and this is a very exciting time for them as well. Christmas trees are shiny and have fun things to play with. Don’t get frustrated when they act like pets should. Keep a good spirit and enjoy them.

Make sure you budget for EVERYTHING

The problem with most budgets I’ve ever seen is that they don’t take into account everything. Those little things you pay annually, like car registration and your AAA renewal are generally forgotten. Putting a little money aside for home repairs and maintenance is generally missed. This is why I like Dave Ramsey so much. His budgets include everything. I’m very thankful for that today.

I’ve said before that we have a very tight budget, as we are trying to pay down as much debt as possible this year. Even with the tightness in the budget, I still have $46 a month budgeted for home repairs and maintenance. I know it’s not a lot of money but if we have an emergency, I’ve got $1,000 in the emergency fund. The $46 a month is for those little things that need to be fixed or replaced around the house.

He hates expired coupons!

Well, we had one of those little things happen yesterday. My youngest cat, Thor, got closed into my craft room Thursday night. I didn’t even see him run in there. Friday morning, I didn’t see him. He usually runs up to me when I wake up so I started looking for him. I heard him crying in the room and let him out. He was whining and not acting like Thor. A few minutes later, he jumped onto my side of the bed and peed. Luckily, he did not pee on any of the top blankets and it didn’t do through to the mattress. He did pee through the sheet, the mattress pad and the electric blanket which was under the mattress pad. My husband now wants to replace these items since he is worried about the cat pee. With my $46 budget, I can definitely replace the mattress pad. I’ll have to wait to see if I can get another electric blanket on clearance. I paid $25 for the last one on clearance a few years ago (it was marked down from $89). If I didn’t have the repairs and maintenance account, I would have to take the money from somewhere else in my budget. Hopefully, I’ll have some money left over to get some caulk to recaulk my shower. That was my project this month.

Are there items missing in your budget?

EDIT:  We washed the mattress cover and I think we got everything out of it. Yay! Don’t need to replace it. Also added a picture of Thor helping me clean out my expired coupons. He looks calm in the picture but he was going crazy on those expired coupons. He’s lucky he’s so cute.