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How to Keep a Cat From Climbing Trees (5 Proven Methods)

Oliver Jones

Cats are natural climbers, and with their small, nimble bodies, sharp claws, and incredible balance, they are seemingly made for this activity! Unfortunately, for most cats, climbing up a tree is far easier than climbing down. Many cats end up stuck in the upper reaches of a tree and must wait for a firefighter to come to the rescue! To make matters worse, even after getting stuck, many cats will simply go and climb the tree again! This can be frustrating for both you and your cat, to say the least.

Luckily, there are a few measures that you can take to prevent your cat from climbing trees. In this article, we look at five proven methods.

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1. Try keeping your cat inside

This may seem like an obvious point, but simply keeping your cat indoors 100% of the time will naturally stop them from climbing trees. You can then provide them with purpose-built cat climbing trees and plenty of toys to keep them busy, and safe from getting stuck in trees. Alternatively, a screened play area that they can access at all times will still give them the feeling of being outside while still being kept safe.

Of course, keeping your cat inside is easier said than done, especially if they are accustomed to being outdoors. It may take time and training to get them used to the idea. If you simply cannot keep your cat inside at all times, try the following steps.

exotic shorthair cat lying on couch
Image Credit: Robyn Randell, Pixabay

2. Wrap the tree base

In order to climb properly, cats need to grip with their sharp claws. Wrapping the tree’s base — to the maximum height that your cat can jump — with aluminum foil or plastic will make the tree slippery and prevent your cat from climbing. If you have a determined cat, they will likely keep trying to climb the tree even with the protective layer, so you may need to replace it occasionally. If this is the case, a flexible, thin piece of sheet metal can also do the trick and is a more permanent solution. Of course, if you have a garden with many trees around, it may be a better idea to keep your cat indoors.

cat in the garden
Image Credit: Piqsels

3. Use chicken wire

Wrapping chicken wire around the base of the tree may help stop your cat from climbing it. Begin by wrapping one end of the chicken mesh tightly around the tree and secure it with ties. Then, fan the chicken mesh outward around the circumference of the tree. This will form a horizontal barrier that most cats will be unable to penetrate. Of course, cats are notoriously agile and intelligent creatures, and some may be able to use the holes in the mesh to climb over. To make certain, it may be best to add foil to make it 100% secure.

cat fence
Image Credit: Piqsels

4. Use deterrents

There are great deterrent sprays that may help keep your cat out of trees, as well as electronic deterrents. Try to spray a deterrent around the base of the tree; hopefully, the smell will keep your cat from climbing. Electronic deterrents with alarms and flashing lights are fairly expensive but can also help keep your cats out of trees. Lastly, motion-activated sprinklers may help, as cats generally do not enjoy getting wet. Of course, scaring a cat into obedience is not usually recommended, but these may be your only choices.

garden sprinkler
Image Credit: Piqsels

5. Offer an irresistible alternative

The last method to try if you simply cannot keep your cat indoors at all times is to offer them a more enticing alternative than a tree! Use the tree that your cat loves the most or a more suitable alternative, and make it easy for them to get up and down with steps or ladders. You can attach other toys to the tree and even a hammock or two, making this “safe” tree far more irresistible than the other trees in your yard.

cat climbing on ladder
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

You might also be interested in: How To Protect Your Cat from Coyotes

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Final Thoughts

Cats love to climb, and trees are one of the most enticing things that they could climb because they’re full of leaves, varying textures, and creatures to hunt! Many cats don’t know to get down, though, so keeping them out of the tree is the best option. Luckily, there are proven methods to help keep them out of trees, and hopefully, one of them will work for you!


Featured Image Credit: bookwurmee, Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.