Last Updated: 7 months ago

Every holiday season, all feline parents think about how to keep their cats away from the Christmas tree.

See, to your furry friend, a giant Christmas tree is a playground with many dangling shiny decorations that they utterly love.

While they only see that, we see threatening pine needles, breakable ornaments, electrical wires, and so forth.

So keep on reading, as we’ve got some tips for your cat to make it safe and sound through this happy season.

How to Cat-Proof Christmas Tree

kitten reaching out to the Christmas lights so how to keep cats away from Christmas tree?

We’ll start with some general tips on choosing the right tree and decorating it wisely before getting into tips for keeping cats away from the tree itself.

1. Choose the Right Christmas Tree

If you’re thinking of a real tree, keep in mind that live trees could be a potential danger for your cat. Chewing on pine tree needles can cause vomiting, stomach upset, and other injuries.

Also, tree water is more likely to contain tree preservatives, fertilizers, and other chemicals for freshness, which can cause serious medical issues if your curious cat drinks it.

It’s essential to keep the water bowl covered with a tree skirt or well out of their reach.

Instead, go for an easier way around it if you have a mischievous feline. Opt for a smaller artificial tree!

It’s less of a hassle and safer for your feline friend if toppled over, but put it somewhere with less spare area to play to avoid any risk.

A fake tree is also easy to carry around when the season is over, and you are more likely to use it for years to come.

2. Decorate Your Tree Wisely

ginger cat looking at the bright Christmas tree but how do you keep cats away from Christmas tree?

Decorating the holiday tree as soon as we get it under our roof could be pretty enticing for many of us, especially with children.

But what helps is to let the cats investigate it first, so they get bored with a simple, non-decorated tree. And after that, decorate the top half of the tree with most of the ornaments so they won’t reach them.

Leaving the bottom 1/3 of the tree undecorated or tying very few cat-friendly and not edible ornaments like felt ornaments and burlaps with a twist tie.

But make sure the twist ties have firm knots so your cat doesn’t steal them and runs away with them because chewing and swallowing them leads to digestive obstructions.

Still better than a metal hook, right?

Remember, shiny Christmas tree lights and objects like tinsel are fascinating to cats, no matter where you hang them.

Avoid using them as cats won’t resist eating them, and they are extremely dangerous if swallowed, which results in choking and intestine damage. Use paper garland ornaments instead.

3. Make Your Tree Safe and Secure

Christmas tree alternatives for cat owners: make a good backup plan in case your cat decides to jump in your tree. Face first!

Make sure to secure the tree from the top with a thin but sturdy wire to make it less likely to fall from the jostling of your cat.

Fastening the upper end of the tree with a clear fishing line to the wall or the ceiling will make it stand upright.

To secure it from the bottom, get a type of tree stand with a large base. A solid tree base stabilizes the tree from tottering around and falling over, damaging your house, or hurting your feline.

You can also go DIY on that one! Keeping your tree in a corner and away from furniture or high perches will help you adjust it accordingly.

Providing furniture pieces and high points next to the tree will make good launching pads that you don’t want.

How to Keep Cats Away From a Christmas Tree

tabby cat sitting on a cardboard beside a Christmas tree

Now that you’ve done everything possible to make your tree safe for your kitty, let’s talk about how to keep your tree safe from your kitty!

1. Use Anti-Cat Smells on Your Christmas Tree

The best way to keep cats away from a Christmas tree is to make it as unappealing as possible.

There are several smells that the cats hate, and they could be good repellents from going near your tree.

In that case, peel off some oranges and lemons, hang them around the tree, and place them on the ground all over.

As soon as your cat’s sensitive nose feels it, they won’t hopefully make plans to come back and mess around near the tree.

If that doesn’t work, consider buying a citrus spray or any cat repellent spray that works best as a cat deterrent. Just make sure not to spray on your cat, as it can be overwhelming to the cat’s sensitive nose.

You can go for a DIY and make your cat repellent spray. Add citronella oil; squeeze some lemons or oranges in a spray bottle with water.

Spray it around the tree and on the branches, and keep the little culprit away! Or you can also use a bitter apple spray with diluted apple cider vinegar.

Still, some cats could be stubborn, and no matter how wisely we plan things, they will find a cheeky way to demolish the tree decorations.

2. Guard the Christmas Tree

tabby cat smelling the Christmas tree

If your cat doesn’t leave the tree alone, it’s time to set up a perimeter and guard it!

No, I don’t mean you have to stand watch over your tree all day. Try these tricks instead.

  • You can wrap the aluminum foil around the tree trunk as well. Cats hate the crinkling sound of aluminum foil, so when stepped on, it will give your cat the willies!
  • If all that doesn’t stop the little rascals, consider a roadblock! Put obstacles in your feline’s way to make it hard for them to go near them.
  • Barriers like an exercise pen, baby gate, or self-preference restrictions create a solid guard fence and extra security. But as mentioned above, keep the perches out. Or else, they can use tempting shelves as launching pads to jump over the blocks, and none of that will make sense.
  • You can also use a scat mat and place it near the tree. It will give your feline friend a safe warning, of course, if they are not hypersensitive to static electricity.

3. Cat-Proofing the Tree Ornaments

For the most part, you adore your Christmas tree and the accessories you put on it, so you want them to be cat-proof.

First and foremost, hang a couple of bell pairs on the tree limbs—just like the bells around the cat’s neck—so when the bells ring, you catch them red-handed in the tree and put a stop to their hustle show.

More or less, the little intruders love pawing the hanging stuff from the tree. Always use twine or other sturdy wire to tie them if you don’t feel like picking up broken ornaments.

In addition to that, try using pine cones, which come with strings to tie to the tree limbs.

Pour a few drops of lavender or orange oil and hang them on the beloved tree for your cat to hate, so they leave your precious ornaments and gifts alone.

Another concerning factor is dangling electrical cords, which could be welcoming for the cat to play and bite.

Consider putting the wires in wire covers because chewing the cord results in serious mouth burns and severe electric shock.

Provide Christmas Tree Alternatives to Distract Your Cat

No matter how hard we try, regardless of whether we succeed or not, It’s in a cat’s nature to climb high perches and observe their surroundings when their curiosity kicks in.

As an early Christmas gift and the best alternative, a cat tree or scratching post would come in handy.

You can also use a cat pheromone spray to attract them to their perfect gifts (cat tree, toys, and scratching post) and steer them off your Christmas tree.

Just be sure to praise and reward your cat for choosing the right place over the wrong one. Human interactions are the best part of training. So using a stern voice discourages them from being outlaws.

4 Tips to Prepare Your Cat for Holiday Visitors

holiday cat

As much as we love getting together with friends and family, we can’t deny the effect that all this merrymaking has on our fur kids.

While you can’t (and shouldn’t) force a cat to be a social butterfly, there are some things you can do to make the visits less stressful for both of you.

Read on for five ways to prepare your cat for holiday visitors!

1. Lay Down Ground Rules With Guests in Advance

If you have a particularly skittish cat, it’s super important to talk to your guests before they descend upon your home.

Let your friends and family know that your cats are either perfectly content to be admired and adored or off limits.

If you have a cat safety zone, make sure to let them know about it.

2. Create a Safety Zone With all of The Essentials

Depending on how much space you have in your house, it could be an entire room or a small section of one.

For example, your bedroom can be your kitty’s safe zone.

You’ll want to put all of the essentials in there so your cat doesn’t have to leave their safe area.

Food and water are a must. We suggest moving a litter box into the safe zone, too.

3. Make Their Hiding Spot More Comfortable

cat hiding spot

Cats love new things to lay on. I have three that go crazy anytime  I bring something new into the house, be it a fancy cat bed, a new cat tree, or even a plain old cardboard box.

Sometimes you’ll just need to leave boxes on my dining room floor, waiting for your cats to get bored with them.

You should put the cat’s bed (if you have one) in their “safe zone” the day your guests arrive.

That way, they’ll have a cozy place to sleep until they feel like it’s safe to come out again.

4. Be Calm

Perhaps one of the most important tips for preparing your cat for holiday visitors is, above all else, to stay calm.

Cats can pick up on our moods, so if you’re stressed, they’re stressed.

Basically, if you’re feeling all wound up and worried about how your cat will react, you’ll end up self-fulfilling that prophecy.

Instead, exude a calm, cool, and collected attitude leading up to and on the day of the visit.

Preparing a cat for holiday visitors is, in my opinion, more of a challenge than prepping your dog.


Do orange peels keep cats away from Christmas trees?

Yes, cats detest how orange peels smell if they’re fresh. Placing orange rinds or lemon skin under your Christmas tree will steer your cat away. If you don’t like peeling off the orange every time to keep its scent sharp, you can also use a citrus odor spray.

How do you secure a Christmas tree to the wall?

Standing your Christmas tree in the corner, next to the wall, makes it easy to secure it with a sturdy fishing line. Tie a tight knot around the tree trunk in the middle and top, then tie up each end with wall hooks.

What to Use as a Tree Guard to Stop Cats?

You can guard your tree with a commercially available product called Tree Defender, which works well. Also, cats hate feeling the aluminum foil strapped around the tree. Or go for different barriers like a baby gate and an exercise pen.


Now that you have all these tips straightened out as a cat owner, you can keep your Christmas tree tidy.

And with your furry friends, make this holiday season less of a hassle.

What are your techniques to keep your cats away from the Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments below!


cat wearing a Santa hat
Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Andreea is a very passionate content creator and her purpose is to provide you with the most interesting articles, while constantly discovering new facts. She’s been freelance writing for the past five years and has created numerous articles and educational materials while managing her own business.