If you've noticed your cat snuggling under the Christmas tree lately, stretching and rolling around, it might be more than just wanting to get into the holiday spirit. Although the act is extremely adorable, you should actually be cautious of your cat getting too close to the tree. We spoke to veterinarians Ignacio Casali, DVM and Andrew Lee, DVM to get their input on this holiday season behavior, and what you should do if your feline pal is making your tree their new humble abode.
Why Does My Cat Like Laying Under the Christmas Tree?
It's adorable to watch your cat cuddle up under your Christmas tree — and the reason why is pretty sweet. "One of the reasons cats choose to lay under the Christmas tree could be that they are attracted to the decor and simply like playing with it," said Dr. Casali. Although there may be other reasons at play, it is clear that part of cats' attraction to Christmas trees are the ornaments, which may just look like toys to them.
Apart from just wanting to get near the shiny ornaments and lights for playtime, there could be other reasons for why your cat likes snuggling up under the tree. "A Christmas tree is like a cardboard box on steroids to a cat," said Dr. Lee. "It can provide height, a place to hide, and is full of toys — all things that cats love." In a sense, it is the perfect playground for your feline friend. Dr. Casali concurs, adding that your Christmas tree could give them a sense of shelter or comfort. All of these reasons may explain your cat's love for the tree, and why they just can't get enough of laying on your tree skirt.
Is It Dangerous for My Cat to Lay Under the Christmas Tree?
Though it might seem innocent enough, you should always monitor your cat while they lay under or around your tree. Why? The reason is less about the tree, and more about the ornaments and lights. "During this time of the year, we see cats that come into the emergency room with foreign materials in the stomach, which many times come from Christmas decorations," said Dr. Casali. "Cats like to play with the strings and the ornaments, which they can swallow." Dr. Casali said owners should be mindful of when their cat is near the tree, and try to keep them from playing with any ornaments or lights. If a cat does swallow part of an ornament or another kind of decor, be sure to contact your vet right away. It may lead to vomiting and could have much worse effects.
Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure: Your cat will be pretty mad once you take down the tree, but at least it will be less risky to their well being, and keep them as safe as possible.