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.

Budgeting for pets

Over the weekend, a friend of mine was talking about getting another cat, but she was worried about paying all those unexpected medical bills that can pop up. Having one pet get unexpectedly ill can have a huge effect on your budget; two pets can put you at a financial hardship. I suggested putting $10 away each month for each pet you own, just in case. We have three cats, so I would put $30 away each month for a total of $360 a year. This pays for their Rabies vaccinations every few years and any other medical bills we might have for them. If something major were to happen to any of our cats, we would have the money to pay for it. If the account gets really high, talk to your vet about the cost of major procedures and cap the amount in the account so it would be enough to cover a major event. Then put the additional money toward debt or another savings goal.