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How to Keep Cats Away From Christmas Trees (5 Proven Methods)

Nicole Cosgrove

The holidays are magical, but if you’re celebrating Christmas with a cat for the first time, you’re bound to have a new problem: a cat that won’t leave your tree alone. When you’re trying to figure out how to keep cats off Christmas trees, it can seem all but impossible.

The good news is that it isn’t. Here, we highlighted five tried-and-proven methods to keep your cat away from your Christmas tree. The more methods you apply, the better off you’ll be!
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1. Scents and Sprays

This is by far the most effective way to keep cats away from your Christmas tree, but it isn’t completely foolproof. Still, if you can use a scent that cats don’t like, you won’t have them around your tree nearly as much.

Common scents to use include anything citrusy, including apple cider vinegar. You can spray the smell around the base of your tree, but for added potency, considering spraying pinecones and strategically placing them throughout your tree.

Keep in mind that the scent will wear down over time, so you’ll have to reapply the spray every once in a while to get the best possible results.

orange peel
Image Credit: Pixabay

2.  Aluminum Foil

It’s a well-known fact that cats don’t like aluminum foil. Of course, you’re not going to turn your Christmas tree into a giant tin-foil hat, but you can still use aluminum foil to your advantage.

Simply wrap aluminum foil around the base of your tree, and you’ve installed a serious deterrent to keep your cat from climbing up your tree. Even better, since it’s just around the base, you don’t even see it!

3. Hide the Fun Stuff

Cats love to play with stuff and dangly options are irresistible. While having dangling objects are inevitable when decorating a tree, there are probably some that you can nicely tuck away to keep temptation at bay.

Chief among the things that you should hide are the electrical cords. Not only will hiding the electrical cords help keep your cat away from your tree, but it’ll also help keep your cat safe. If your cat breaks through the cord when they’re batting it around, they can easily shock themselves.

A Thai cat playing with a white mug
Image Credit: Ekaterina Kolomeets, Shutterstock

4. Strategically Place the Tree

Where you place your tree will have a huge impact on how successful you are at keeping the cats away. You want somewhere that doesn’t have many strategic launching points for your cat to use to get to the tree.

If they can jump from windowsills or sofas to get into the tree, chances are that they will. Try to place your tree away from other objects so your cat doesn’t have as many ways to get to it.

5. Orange Rinds and Citrus

While you can use artificial citrus scents to keep your cat away from your tree, why not go for the real thing? Place a few orange or other citrus rinds around the base of your tree, and they’ll keep your cat away.

Even better, these are completely natural, which means you don’t have to worry if little hands or paws start to explore!

citrus fruit
Image Credit: Obodai26 from Pixabay

Other Things to Consider

While these won’t keep your cat away from your Christmas tree, they are still things that you should consider when setting up your tree during the holiday season!

A Fake Tree

While live trees create wonderful aromas and have an appearance that fake trees just can’t match, they also produce sap. Sap can be toxic for pets, so it’s not always the best thing to have around pets.

If you can use a fake tree, it’s not as big of a deal if your cat gets into the tree.

Christmas fake tree
Image Credit: Pixabay

Smaller Trees

The larger the tree, the more enticing it is for your cat, and the more opportunities your cat will have to sneak in without you noticing. We’re not saying that you need to go for a Charlie Brown tree, but the smaller the tree is, the easier it will be to keep the cats away from it.

Moreover, if your cat does get into the tree and knocks it over, they’re far less likely to get hurt with a smaller tree.

Don’t Decorate Right Away

As soon as you get your tree into the house, you probably want to start decorating it. But if you have a cat, we highly recommend letting it sit for a few days before you start putting on the ornaments. This will give your cat time to adjust to the tree’s presence and get bored of it.

A new tree with a bunch of fun objects to play with all at once can be irresistible for a kitty.

Keep It Solid

You want to keep your cat away from your tree, and we completely understand that. But you also need to prepare yourself for what happens if your cat does get into your tree. The best thing is to ensure that your Christmas tree has a sturdy foundation and isn’t going anywhere.

Falling trees can break ornaments, injure your cat, and of course, damage the tree. Keeping it upright is the best way to keep everything intact and everyone safe.

Christmas tree
Image Credit: Pixabay

Cover the Water Bowl

If you get a live tree, you need to cover the water bowl. The stagnant water can soak up sap and can have bacterial growth, both of which are bad for your cat. The easiest way to keep your cat away from the water is to cover the bowl.

divider-multipetFinal Thoughts

Just because you have cats in the home doesn’t mean your Christmas tree is bound for disaster. But it does mean that you should take extra precautions.

You’ve taken the right first step by doing your homework. Now all you need to do is put these strategies in place, so you can have a great Christmas without pulling your cat out of the tree over and over again!


Featured Image Credit: Nadtochiy, Shuttterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.