10 Ways to Cat Proof a Christmas Tree

By Alice Bassett
Kelli Harris
Edited by Kelli Harris

Published December 30, 2021.

A ginger cat looking guilty next to a knocked-down Christmas Tree

During the festive season, you may find that your furry friend is taking a particular interest in your Christmas tree. This stems from their inherent curiosity, making them inclined to want to explore a new object in their homes. While it might be cute to watch them be so intrigued, it is potentially dangerous for them and, quite frankly, a bit of a pain. We have compiled a list of ways that you can cat-proof your Christmas tree so that you can focus on the more important aspects of Christmas without having to worry about curiosity killing the cat.

How to Prepare Your Cat for a Christmas Tree

The best way to cat-proof your Christmas tree is to prepare them beforehand. These steps are the first course of action to keep cats away from both real and fake Christmas trees.

  1. Pick a location away from where they sleep Cats are territorial animals, and thus introducing a foreign object into their space is sure to provoke them. If you place your Christmas tree in a spot where your cat doesn't usually sleep, they will be less likely to investigate.
  2. Get a smaller tree Cats like to explore high up, which is why tall Christmas trees are so attractive to them. A smaller tree is ideal for cats, as it doesn't pique their interest nearly as much. If the tree is small enough, it may keep them from climbing up and injuring themselves or pulling down the tree.
  3. Introduce them to the tree If you acclimatize your cat to the tree, they will be less likely to investigate it themselves. Show it to them before you assemble it, and allow them to touch and sniff. This will prevent them from tearing down a tree that you put effort into putting up.

How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree

  1. Spray your tree with a citrus scent Cats don't like the smell of citrus, so spritzing your tree with lemon or orange juice will keep them away. You can also scatter lemon and orange peels around your Christmas tree as a deterrent for your cat.
  2. Place foil around the base Cats aren't fond of how that foil feels under their feet or the sound that it makes when they step on it. Placing foil around the bottom of your tree should be enough to keep them away.
  3. Place your ornaments towards the top of the tree If your decorations are close to the bottom of the tree, they are easier for your cat to access. Keeping them high up should be enough for them to lose interest in the tree entirely.
  4. Consider DIY Christmas ornaments Hard plastic or glass ornaments could be potentially harmful to your cat. If they swat them off the tree, it may be dangerous to step on the shards or even ingest them. You can make your own cat-friendly Christmas decorations from materials that will not be harmful. These DIY ornaments can double from simply cat-proofing your tree to a fun tradition of making ornaments with friends and family.
  5. Decide between a real tree and a synthetic one Both have benefits and drawbacks, so finding what works for you and your cat is essential. An artificial Christmas tree is potentially dangerous because the needles are sharp and could puncture your cat's throat if they eat them. A real tree will have softer needles, but the sap can be toxic to animals. If you choose to have a real tree, ensure that your cat's water supply is not easy to get into. If you settle on a fake tree, make sure to closely monitor that your feline friends do not eat the needles.
  6. Ensure that the tree is stable Make sure the bottom of your Christmas tree is on a sturdy base so that it cannot be knocked over. Christmas trees, especially real ones that are fully decorated, are heavy. Make sure that you do not risk having it fall on your cat.
  7. Hide your wiring If you plan to add lights to your tree, ensure that the cables are not easy to reach and are well hidden. These cords are usually thin, and you do not want your cat to gnaw through and shock themselves.

Keeping Kitty Safe

It is understandable to want to keep your cats off and away from the Christmas tree as they are a fun tradition and beautiful addition to the home. While you may want to protect your Christmas tree from your cat, you should also protect your cat from your tree, as the safety of our animals is of paramount importance. It is always best to consider their safety and comfort before the novelty of a Christmas tree. We hope that these techniques will help create a safe environment for your Christmas tree and your cats.