When I was a child one of my least favorite parts of decorating the Christmas tree was hanging the icicles. But my favorite part of the Christmas tree was the shimmering effect of all those silvery foil strips hanging from each branch and reflecting off the bubble lights. My mother insisted that each thin strip be hung one at a time. The icicles were draped over a piece of cardboard in a package and saved year after year and reused! They often got stuck together, and you had to be careful in removing them. She liked lots and lots of strands on each branch, but they could not be thrown on in a glob—like her dear daughter might tend to do! I thought it took hours to finish this decorating task. But the tree was truly spectacular in the end.

Today icicles are more commonly referred to as tinsel or garland. Whatever you want to call them, these common Christmas decorations are dangerous to cats. During the years I worked in the pet care industry, it was common to have cats brought to the veterinarian for eating tinsel. Cats are attracted to the bright shiny colors and will pull tinsel off a tree and drag or bat around. They may choke on it. Ingesting can cause gastrointestinal obstructions that may require surgery. The tinsel can cut into the intestine or cause the intestine to twist. Some cats die from eating tinsel.

Yes, tinsel can be the beautiful finishing touch to a tree, but not if you have cats. My favorite adornment instead of tinsel is velvet bows on the ends of the branches. They are easy to put on the tree, easy to store and most importantly, easy on the cat!

This is the second in a series of Christmas blogs honored by Cat Writers’ Association with a Certificate of Excellence Award. Next blog will focus on Cats and Company.

Bountiful Blessings!

Do you have a tree trimming tip for a cat safe holiday?