How Do I Stop My Cat From Messing With the Christmas Tree

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio

Putting up a Christmas tree is a holiday tradition that you probably look forward to. But if you have one or more cats in your family, having a tree in the house could quickly turn into a headache.


From kitties who can’t resist knocking shiny ornaments off the branches, to adventurous cats who want to climb to the top of the tree, frisky felines can be hard to stop once they discover that they have a new place to play. Plus, there are dangers to consider, whether you opt to put up an artificial tree or a real one (e.g., your cat shouldn’t eat the pine needles, chew on the lights, tinsel, garland, etc., or drink the tree water).

The good news is it is possible to decorate for the holidays and keep your cat safe and happy. Here are a few tips.

Use Various Deterrents

Rather than using just one type of feline deterrent, using multiple types might be effective at keeping your cat away from the tree throughout the holiday season.

For example, to stop your kitty from getting too close to the tree, you could set down some double-sided tape or aluminum foil around its base. In addition, you could set up a can of motion-activated spray that’s made specifically for pets and will blow air on your kitty when she approaches the tree.

Because cats tend to dislike the smell of citrus fruits, you could even consider putting some lemon zest in a small plastic baggie with holes in it to let the scent come through. Hang this from your tree so your kitty will be able to smell it as she gets close to it. If she finds the odor offensive, she may go the other way.

Make the Tree Less Appealing

If you have a lot of big ornaments dangling from all of the tree’s branches, your kitty might find them irresistible. So, the simple act of switching to different ornaments, and placing them on higher branches that are out of reach, might make a difference. Also, using twist ties rather than hooks might help keep the ornaments on the tree, even if your cat goes after them.

It’s a good idea to ensure your pet’s environment has plenty to keep her busy throughout the season. By providing her with new toys to play with and her own spaces to explore, such as a new kitty condo, cat tree, or window perch, you might be able to reduce her interest in the Christmas tree.

Make It Hard for Your Cat to Reach the Tree

Where you set up the tree is important, too. If you can, place it away from your furniture, as well as a good distance from any kitty furniture, like cat trees, that your feline would use to jump onto the tree.

You might even decide to set up a small fence around the tree to see if it provides enough of a barrier to keep your pet away. If she isn’t the type to jump over the pet gate to get to the tree, this might be all you need to stop your kitty from chewing on branches and knocking down ornaments.

Ensure the Tree Is Stable

No matter where you set up your tree or how big it is, ensuring it’s stable is key. In addition to using a secure base, find ways to anchor the tree from the top and sides as well. That way, it may be less likely to fall over, especially if your cat does manage to jump onto it.  

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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