Behaviour Cat Care Cat Life

How To Keep Your Cat Away From The Christmas Tree

If you put up a Christmas tree for the holidays, we’re sure you know how your cat instantly sees your pretty and festive tree as their new jungle gym. From climbing in branches, batting at and knocking off decorations, and even knocking the tree over completely, cats know how to turn your holiday decorations into a Christmas catastrophe! But not to worry, try these tips for cat proofing your tree and keeping your cat away from it for good. 

Ornament Placement and Decoration

Kitties just love batting at and playing with decorations. They are generally the size of your cat’s prey in the wild so this behavior comes from a natural instinct to hunt rather than to just annoy you! To protect your ornaments, hang easily breakable and sentimental ornaments close to the top of the tree and hang plastic and fabric ornaments on the lower branches. Or don’t hang ornaments at all on the lower branches.

If your cat tends to get into the tree to play with the decorations, consider using all plastic or fabric decorations, or not placing ornaments at all. Be cautious of ornaments with small parts as well that your cat could choke on. Again, it’s best to leave these out of reach of your cat. 

For ornaments you do hang, try replacing all hooks, which are usually string and easy to break, with wire ornament hangers. Simply place on the ornament and clamp the hook around the branch to make it much harder or even impossible for your cat to pull ornaments from the tree. 

When decorating your tree and the rest of your home, it’s best to avoid tinsel. It is very easy for your cat to pull down (and if they are pulling it from the tree, could mean pulling the whole tree down) and is a choking hazard for cats. Try replacing tinsel with paper garland, it’s still pretty and festive but isn’t a hazard to your cat. 

Christmas Tree Repellent

Cats hate oranges (and all other citrus fruits). To keep your cat away from the tree, try placing orange peels below the tree and/or in the branches. You could also buy orange scented sticks to hang from the tree if your don’t like the idea of using actual orange peel. 

Spraying the tree with Citronella Oil mixed with water (be sure to always mix with water. VetInfo recommendations using a solution made of one part Citronella to four parts water or about 20 drops of Citronella diluted in 200ml of water) is another good option; your cat will hate the citrus smell, keeping him away from the tree, and your home and tree will smell fresh and citrusy. Spraying the tree with apple cider vinegar will have the same effect on your cat or you can spray some pine cones with ACV and place within the tree. 

Add to the cat proofing of your Christmas tree with a Christmas Tree Defender. This easy to install barrier will keep your cat from climbing the tree and destroying ornaments – genius! 

Cat Watch!

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your cat while the tree is in your home. Make sure the door to the room with the tree is closed at night, when you are out of the house, and at any other time your cats can sneak around without you noticing them. This will help reduce the chances of you coming home to a destroyed tree, or worse, a cat that has choked on an ornament or cut themselves on broken glass etc. 

Placing jingle bell decorations on the lower branches can also help in alerting you to when your cat is around your tree. You can then come and remove them from the room or know to keep an eye on them. 

Do you have any top tips for keeping your cat away from the tree and decorations? Let us know in the comments!


Add A Comment


  • Suzanne Marienau

    My cats aren’t at all bothered by the scent of citrus! And something you neglected to mention; some kitties’ propensity for chewing on electrical wires. 🙁 We simply eliminate the entire problem by not having Christmas tree in our home.

  • Mary Thomas

    I put 3 or 4 bell ornaments on the lowest branch so I can hear if someone is playing where they shouldn’t. I put “icicles on my tree but mo on the bottom branches.

  • Jacqueline

    A friend had a cat that liked to eat the Christmas tree leaves. They began having table trees instead.

  • Jacqueline Stearns

    A friend had a cat that liked to eat the Christmas tree leaves. They began having table trees instead.

  • Nancy Fox

    My cat loved climbing the Christmas tree until she climbed too far, and the tree fell, and she fell with it! She has never climbed the Christmas tree again (and it’s been twelve years since it fell)!

Recommended For You