Pest Guides

How To Keep Cats Out of a Christmas Tree

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The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to deck the halls and trim the tree. However, if you’re a cat owner, you know the struggle of trying to keep your feline friend away from the Christmas tree. The shimmering lights, dangling ornaments, and the allure of climbing can be too tempting for cats to resist. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to keep cats out of a Christmas tree.


To keep cats out of a Christmas tree, introduce the tree gradually and secure it properly to prevent toppling. Use deterrents like citrus scents or aluminum foil around the tree. Hang decorations higher and be cautious with lights. Provide an alternative like a cat tree or scratching post. Set up a barrier around the tree or consider alternative tree options. Lastly, train your cat to stay away from the tree with consistent redirection and rewards.

Introduce the Tree Gradually

Cats are naturally curious creatures, so introducing the tree gradually can help them get used to its presence. Start by bringing in the tree without any decorations and let your cat sniff around it. This process can help reduce their interest in the tree when it’s fully decorated.

Secure the Tree

To prevent the tree from toppling over if your cat decides to climb it, make sure it’s secured. Anchor the tree to a wall or ceiling using strong cord or fishing line. You can also place the tree in a corner or between two pieces of furniture for extra support.

Use Deterrents

Cats dislike certain smells such as citrus and apple cider vinegar. You can create a homemade deterrent spray by mixing water with a few drops of these scents and spritzing it around the tree. Alternatively, place citrus peels at the base of the tree. Most cats also find the sensation of aluminum foil unpleasant. Try wrapping the tree base with aluminum foil to discourage your cat from climbing.

Hang Decorations Up High

Cats love to bat at dangling objects. To prevent this, place your ornaments and decorations higher up on the tree, out of your cat’s reach. Avoid using tinsel and fragile ornaments as they can pose choking hazards and ingestion risks for cats.

Be Cautious with Lights

Secure electrical cords and plugs to prevent your cat from chewing on them. Consider using cord covers or cord organizers to keep them out of sight and reach.

Offer an Alternative

Provide a cat tree or scratching post in the same room as the Christmas tree. This gives your cat a more appealing option to climb and scratch, diverting their attention away from the Christmas tree.

Set Up a Barrier

Use baby gates or other barriers to block your cat’s access to the tree. This can be especially useful if you’re not home to supervise your cat.

Consider Alternative Tree Options

If your cat continues to be a problem, explore Christmas tree alternatives. Wall tapestries, tabletop trees, or wooden trees can be great options.

Train Your Cat

Be consistent and firm with your cat when they approach the tree. Redirect their attention to a toy or their scratching post. Reward them with praise or treats when they choose the alternative over the tree.


Remember, each cat is unique and what works for one may not work for another. It might take a bit of trial and error to find the solution that works best for you and your feline friend. The key is to be patient and consistent. With these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for everyone in your household.

Frequently Asked Questions

What essential oils can I use as a cat deterrent?

Essential oils like citrus (lemon, orange, lime), cinnamon, rosemary, and lavender can act as deterrents. However, essential oils should be used with caution around cats as some can be toxic to them. Always dilute the oils and never apply them directly to your cat or allow them to ingest them.

Can I use a real Christmas tree if I have a cat?

Yes, you can use a real tree. However, you should be aware that some cats may try to chew on the tree, and ingesting pine needles can be harmful. Additionally, the water in the tree stand can become a breeding ground for bacteria, which could be harmful if your cat drinks it. A skirt or cover can help prevent this.

How can I prevent my cat from drinking the water in the Christmas tree stand?

A simple way to prevent your cat from drinking the water in the stand is to use a tree skirt or cover to block access. You should also ensure that your cat has plenty of fresh water available elsewhere, so they are less likely to be tempted by the tree water.

Are Christmas lights dangerous for cats?

Yes, Christmas lights can pose a risk if your cat chews on the electrical cords, potentially leading to burns or electric shock. Secure cords out of reach and consider using cord covers. Also, always turn off the lights when you’re not around to supervise.

What should I do if my cat ingests a decoration or part of the tree?

If your cat ingests a decoration or part of the tree, contact your vet immediately. Symptoms may include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, or changes in behavior. Always keep an eye on your cat when they’re around the tree, and try to minimize their access to decorations and tree parts.

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