My Cat Ate Christmas Tree Needles: What Now? (Solved!)

Christmas trees can add a wonderful or after the season, but when you have a cat, there’s always the worry of them deciding to eat some of the pine needles. So what are some of the effects if your cat decides to turn your Christmas tree into a snack? 

The pine needles on a Christmas tree are toxic to cats, so ingesting them can both result in sickness and puncturing of the intestines, and they can also cause more severe reactions such as liver damage and even death. 

Let’s discover some side effects you can look for if you think your cat has ingested some Christmas tree needles and what the process is for treating poisoning from pine needles.

cat looking at christmas tree with lights

What Happens if My Cat Eats Christmas Tree Needles?

The sap in Christmas trees is poisonous to cats, which they can accidentally ingest when they are trying to chew on the needle. Consuming a small amount of the sap can cause symptoms like: 

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Pale gums
  • Lowered body temperature
  • Dermatitis
  • Depressed mood

Ingesting even more significant amounts can damage a cat’s kidneys and liver. Other factors about your cat’s past medical history could also contribute to some of the symptoms you might see if they ingest pine needles. It’s best to talk to your vet to properly go through some of the things he should be cautious of.

cat playing with christmas tree decorations

However, you need to worry about not just the needles from the Christmas tree itself. Any water from the Christmas tree can also hold some of the sap. If your cat decides to take a drink in the planter for your Christmas tree, this could also cause them accidentally ingest some of the poisonous sap. 

You should also carefully groom any of the sap off your cat’s fur because if the sap gets stuck there, they’re likely to try to lick it off to clean themselves, inadvertently ingesting some of the poisonous sap in return. 

kitten in christmas tree branches

How Do You Treat Christmas Tree Needle Poisoning in Cats?

If you start to see symptoms that your cat has ingested Christmas tree needles and there are a few things you can do. The best course of action is to contact your vet immediately, but in the meantime, you can’t help your cat feel more comfortable.

  1. Remove any of the needles. Check your cat’s mouth for any of the needles that might be there that you can dislodge from either at their teeth or their throat. You can usually flush out any bits of needles and sap by using some water.
  2. Give your cat fluids. If your cat has been vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, it’s essential to ensure they don’t get dehydrated. Your vet will be able to balance their fluids better later but ensuring that they are drinking water regularly throughout the process will ensure that they don’t experience any symptoms related to dehydration. 
  3. Using charcoal to absorb any toxins. Giving your cat activated charcoal isn’t something that you’ll be able to do for yourself, but it is something that you might see your vet suggest or talk about once you get them to the health care facilities they need. Activated charcoal helps absorb toxins so they can safely pass through the digestive system without actually being digested.

Once you get your cat to the vet, they can better advise you on what steps you can take to help your cat recover from the Christmas treat me no poisoning. In most cases, your cat can make a full recovery after the initial illnesses dresses. Most of the recovery will be entering that they don’t interest the pine needles again.

cat under christmas tree needles

How Do You Prevent Your Cat From Eating Christmas Tree Needles?

The best way to keep your cat safe around a Christmas tree is to have preventive measures. The best method is to not have a real Christmas tree in your house; that way, you won’t have to deal with any toxicity that comes with the pine needles’ sap.

However, if real Christmas trees are something you are very attached to, there are things you can do to help protect your cat. 

  • Keep the Christmas tree in a room your cat can’t reach.
  • Block the Christmas tree with an exercise pen.
  • Put some kind of cover over your tree’s basin so your cat can’t accidentally drink the water.
  • Opted for a smaller tree that you can more easily keep out of reach.
  • Place foods with citrus such as lemons or orange peels around the tree’s base to deter your cat from going near it.
  • Put the tree somewhere isolated so it’s harder for your cat to climb onto it, such as keeping it away from furniture and shelving.
  • Wait to add tempting dangling ornaments until the last moment, so your cat isn’t interested in the tree anymore.

Once you get to a point where you want to put decorations on your tree, here are a few things to keep in mind so that you can still keep your cat safe while having a festive Christmas tree.

  • Keep ornaments near the top of the tree and then work your way down towards the center. Make sure you aren’t putting any decorations on the bottom part of your tree or the very ends of branches.
  • Put lights at the center of the tree so your cat won’t be able to chew on the wires. Always keep the lights on plugged while you aren’t able to supervise your cat to take away the Temptation for them to get close to them.
  • Use ornaments with ties instead of hooks. Most ornaments come with hooks, but they can cause injury if your cat comes into contact with them, and they aren’t the most secure.

Conclusion

While having a real Christmas tree can add to the festive season, if you have a cat, then it can also be a dangerous thing. Since this sap can cause cat issues when ingested, it’s best to stick to an artificial tree as possible. Otherwise, you should ensure that your cat doesn’t have access to the tree and observe them when they are around it.