Christmas Dangers: Decorations

Christmas decorations… Where to begin? Tinsel, glass Christmas tree decoration? Cats may like dangling objects, and they get seen easier if they are shiny and of a bright colour. The temptation is big for your cat. To paw at it, or not to paw at it? So which decorations can you keep in the attic?

Artificial Snow

If you have cats, it might be a good idea to skip the fake snow or tree flocking this year. The chemicals that are found in this “snow” is toxic and can cause intestinal blockage if eaten, and it’s also harmful if it’s inhaled by your cat.


Tinsel, where do we even start? The tinsel and icicles lure cats with their shiny and glittering movements. They are sharp and can shred your cat’s insides and/or block the intestines when it’s swallowed. Be aware, tinsel and all that stuff may be fatal to your cat.

Three & Holiday Lights

They look great in your trees, or around your windows, but they almost scream “CHEW ME” to your cat. So if your cat is a biter or a chewer and he is known for chewing cords, I have bad news for you. It can burn their mouth or they can even get electrocuted!

Place the cords in protective coverings, such as paper tubes, hide them underneath the tree skirt, or inside a box that is disguised as a present. Spraying the cord with stuff that tastes bad, such as bitter apple, can be a good alternative. It’s important to be creative! You can use tape and wrap that around it, Or start the lighting from below, and go up with the wiring so the cords can be taped to the wall, up high where your cat can’t reach.

Angel Hair

Not very holy, this angel hair…

Angel hair is finely spun fiberglass that was used in vintage decorations. But has since been taken off the market due to health concerns. You may still have old ornaments with angel hair on it. If you do — don’t bother hanging them up in the tree. There are similar looking decorations out there, made from better material.

Tree Ornaments

Your cat may want to play with the glass ornaments, it’s their playful nature and they can’t help it. But if the glass breaks, and your cat steps into one of those glass pieces it can cause damage to their paws and paw-pads. Let’s not even talk about what might happen if your cat eats a piece of glass! Place breakable ornaments high in the tree and the less delicate ones at the bottom. Better yet: buy plastic ornaments!

Glue used on ornaments could be toxic as well.

Photo by Karen Maraj.

Photo by Karen Maraj.


You know those hooks that are used to hang the ornaments? Those too can cause bad stuff inside your cat if ingested and hurt their paw pads. So make sure you bend it tightly around the branches so it cannot fall. A better option is to use ribbons (do make sure it’s wrapped tightly and tied securely).

Ribbons & the Like

A ribbon is colorful, it wiggles when there is a breeze and when it’s unstrung, it becomes something your cat adores! A temptation, something he wants to play with!

Cats can’t spit out, pull or remove something from their mouths once it has reached the back of their mouth. In order to get rid of it, they keep swallowing the ribbon or string until it is gone into their mouth and stomach. And sometimes it passes through your cat without a problem. But many times it doesn’t. It becomes tangled and knotted in the stomach or intestines. When it becomes stuck/lodges internally it cannot pass through and your cat can’t poop it out. Toxic bile and other poisons spread quickly to the heart, lungs and spinal areas. It makes your cat suffer a slow and painful death, from ripped and torn organs.

Sharp wire-edged ribbon can cut a cat’s mouth if chewed and slice stomach and intestine walls if swallowed.

Candles & Potpourri

Flickering flames and weird scents are tempting as well. Lighted candles can result in burned paws or fur. Or what if they knock a candle over and your Christmas party end up in a fire party?

The oils extracted from potpourri through heating are toxic if ingested, and it can also burn your cat’s skin without a problem. So always keep these two out of reach and never burn candles without supervising your cat.

Eatable Ornaments

Candy canes, homemade eatable ornaments. Hanging those in the trees is almost asking your pet to come and get it. Too much sugar (from candy canes for example) can cause sugar rush. But also the food it can be made from can be toxic to your cats or other pets. It’s better to hang these trees high in the tree, or not hang them in the tree at all.


Unopened presents under the Christmas tree — especially when there is something smelly inside of it — can be tempting for your cat or dog, or other pet to open it one way or another. There might be chocolate inside, and we all know that chocolate is dangerous to cats, right? You may ask Santa to leave the presents somewhere else until it’s Christmas Eve.

Photo by Kevin Dooley.

Photo by Kevin Dooley.


DIY Kitty Safe Tree/Christmas Ornaments

Do you have a lot of Christmas decorations around the house?

20 Responses to “Christmas Dangers: Decorations”

  1. heretherebespiders

    That doesn’t leave much! I just watch and see what tempts the boys, and then move that item further up the tree. Never had a wire-chewing cat, thankfully!

      • Tom Duhamel

        Hi Darling! It appears that nobody gets my humor today. It was meant as a joke for “it doesn’t leave much”.

        Actually I learned something. I had no idea regarding angel hair, and I remember my mother mentioned a few years ago that she couldn’t find any anymore. I grew up with these year after year, not knowing it was dangerous or that it was made of fiberglass. Maybe it affected my brain, that’s what’s wrong with me haha :)

        I hope people will learn from this, rather than lose a pet. So yes, what you said is very true. Have a good my friend :)

      • heretherebespiders

        I have one antique ornament with angel hair- but it is the tree-topper, and I never tried to eat it :) sorry I’ve not been around much – the holidays are hectic! And other stuff :)

      • Cats & Co

        It is, a little! It’s not that I don’t want people not to put Christmas stuff out. I just want them to be careful!

  2. Alexandra

    One friend once advised me to lay tin foil around the tree. His idea was that cats hate walking on tin foil. I tried it only once, and it made no difference to Usyaka. But maybe it still works for some cats, I don’t know.

    I don’t know what “angel hair” is. Does it look like threads of tin foil? Google just shows me spaghetti :)

    • Tom Duhamel

      Really looks like white hair. People used to throw that on the tree, so it’s hanging randomly. My mother used to be a big fan. I thought it looked good until this post where Lidia mentions it’s made of fiber glass. It reflects light, so it looks good when the lights are dimmed, now I know why.

      • Alexandra

        ok, it looks like there was no angel hair in my soviet childhood :))
        What’s that thing? Does it go somewhere specific, like on top of the tree? :D

        I’m trying to imagine the cat eating a whole piece of tin foil O_O Although, you might be right, what if some cats do try that, so I think you chose wisely not to advise it :)

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