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.
Don’t forget to check our guide on how to make an outdoor cat house for winter!
How to Cat-Proof Your 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.
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 causes serious medical issues if your curious kitty drinks it.
It’s essential to keep the water bowl covered with a tree skirt or well off 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.
Decorate your tree wisely
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 part of the tree undecorated, or tie 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 and runs away with it because chewing and swallowing them leads to digestive obstructions.
Still better than a metal hook, right?
Remember, shiny Christmas tree lights objects like tinsels 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.
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 the items of 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.
READ MORE: How to get a cat out of a tree?
HOW TO KEEP CATS AWAY FROM 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!
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’re several smells that the cats hate, and they could be good repellent 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 cats’ 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 bitter apple spray 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.
Guard 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 to 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 it.
- Barriers like an exercise pen, baby gate, or self-preference restrictions make 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 hyper allergic to static electricity.
Cat-proofing the tree ornaments
For the most part, you adore your Christmas tree and the accessories you put on there, 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 with the tree limbs.
Pour a few drops of lavender or orange oil, hang them on the beloved tree for your cat to hate it, 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.
For more tips, take a look at the video below:
Provide Christmas tree alternatives to distract your cat
No matter how hard we try, regardless of being succeeding or not. It’s in a cat’s nature to climb high perches and observe the surroundings when their curiosity kicks in.
As an early Christmas gift and best alternative, the best 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 kitty for choosing the right place over the wrong. Human interactions are the best part of training. So using a stern voice discourages them being an outlaw.
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 up. And with your furry friends, make this holiday season less of a hassle.
- “Cats and Christmas Trees | Pet Poison Helpline.” 2014. Pet Poison Helpline. December 2014. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/uncategorized/cats-christmas-trees/.
- “How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree This Holiday | PETA.” 2020. PETA. December 4, 2020. https://www.peta.org/living/animal-companions/how-to-cat-proof-your-christmas-tree/.
- “Keep Your Cat out of the Christmas Tree (and off of the Naughty List!).” 2017. Allegheny North Veterinary Hospital. 2017. https://www.anvh.com/blog/how-to-keep-your-cat-out-of-the-christmas-tree.
- Nicholas, Jason. 2021. “How to Keep Your Cat out of the Christmas Tree.” Preventivevet.com. May 23, 2021. https://www.preventivevet.com/cats/how-to-keep-your-cat-out-of-the-christmas-tree.
What are your techniques to keep your cats away from the Christmas tree? Let us know in the comments below!
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.
I had, and am looking for again, an artificial tree that was flat on the back about 3-4 feet tall and hung on the wall above cat reach. Since I am now able to have a cat again where I just moved to, I’m on the lookout for another one as the previous one got lost in a former move. If you run across any of these it might make a great addition to your holiday cat decoration ideas.