Pet experts have weighed in on how to prevent cats from attacking Christmas trees after a trend of TikTok videos being released.

The trend involves people using their trees to scare their cats in the hope of keeping the cats away from it once decorated. While many TikTokers say it works, it’s quite cruel and traumatizing for cats. Fear is not a humane way to keep animals from destroying household items. Fortunately, pet experts have other advice for cat owners.

Sarah Wooten, Pumpkin Pet Insurance’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, said, “While possibly effective for keeping your cat away from the holiday decor, scaring your cat away from the Christmas tree is not recommended. This strategy will create conflict in your relationship with your cat, which can lead to additional behavioral or bonding problems down the road. [Scaring cats] may also create fear and anxiety that can result in behavioral or medical problems, such as redirected aggression toward other people or pets, stress diarrhea, stress cystitis (inflammation in the bladder wall that can result in painful or bloody urination), and inappropriate elimination, or urinating or defecating anywhere in the house other than the litter box.”

Other experts weighed in giving alternative options to keep cats from destroying Christmas trees. Many advised cat owners to create other interesting diversions, such as boxes, wrapping paper, and other new things to play with.

The holidays bring a new assortment of interesting things, and cats are naturally curious. Instead of trying to punish that natural behavior, it is better to simply give them their own Christmas items to explore.

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