As we enter the month of December, many people are decorating their homes with festive knick knacks and decor. The holidays are not only an exciting time for, but for your cat too! Decorations that shimmer and shine are very tempting for your fluffy friend to play with, break, or even eat. To prevent your cat from breaking your ornament (and your Christmas spirit), here are a few tips to cat-proof your home for the holiday season.

Think smart when it comes to your tree. 

Although artificial trees don’t have the same smell and look as a real one does, they are safer for your cat. Some trees have sharp needles that are so sharp that they can puncture the skin. In addition, pine needles can also be toxic to your cat if they are ingested.

If you can’t pass up on a real tree, make sure your cat does not drink the tree water. Tree water is often treated with additives like fertilizer and aspirin, that can make your cat sick. Even if the water is not fertilized, the water can easily accumulate bacteria. Cover your tree with a tree skirt to prevent your cat from drinking from it.

Whether your tree is artificial or real, ensure that it is anchored. Chances are your cat will try to climb the tree. To prevent the entire tree falling over, along with your cat, use a solid base. For more stability see if you can attach it to the celling or wall with  eye-bolts and fishing line.

Choose your decorations wisely. 

Shiny glass ornaments are very intriguing for cats. If you see your cat pawing at your ornaments on the tree, replace fragile ones with more durable material like plastic, wood, felt, yarn, or paper. With softer decorations you won’t have to worry about glass shattering.

Tinsel is one of the most harmful holiday decorations for cats. If a cat ingests tinsel, it can cause intestinal problems and may even lead to surgery. If you can’t let glass ornaments or the tinsel go, place them high enough where it not as easily accessible.

Do your research on poisons plants. 

Mistletoe, lilies, holly, and poinsettias are essental for festive decorations. While these plants add to the holiday spirit, they are toxic to cats. Lilies can cause kidney failure, and holly and mistletoe can lead to gastrointestinal problems. While poinsettias are not as toxic as once believed, they can still cause an upset stomach. Settle for artificial silk flowers instead, that way you can use them year after year without the fear of harming your cat.

If your cat is a troublemaker, use a repellant smell.  

There are a few smells that are unpleasant to cats and will discourage your cat from investigating.  Spray your decorations (select decorations that you can wash or throw out later) with Apple bitter, citronella, or Vicks to keep your cat away. Orange peels or citrus potpourri also better smelling alternatives that work just as well.