How to protect a christmas tree from cats

How To Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree This Holiday


One of the greatest joys in life is sharing experiences with your animal companions. Of course, it can be challenging at times to adapt to all their quirky habits. If you share your home with cats, you probably know exactly what that means. Cats are curious investigators—if you bring something new into your home, you can be sure they’ll inspect it. So decorating a tree during the holiday season might be a bit more difficult with a feline in your home. Cats may be enticed by a tall tree decorated with shiny objects and may even jump on them, knock them down, or make off with the decorations. Luckily, you can use a few simple tricks to help keep cats safe.

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Buying the Tree
  • Consider a fake one. Real trees can be great, but pine needles can be dangerous for cats who love to chew on foreign objects. If ingested, they can pose a serious health risk. You can easily find a fake tree that still looks realistic, and you can use it year after year.
  • Go for smaller. A smaller tree is safer for your feline friends, especially if they try to make sneak attacks on it. If the tree falls over, it’s less likely to hurt them—and it’ll be easier for you to decorate and clean up, too.

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Setting Up the Tree
  • Wait a minute. You might be used to busting out the ornaments as soon as you get the tree home, but it helps to give your cat a chance to get bored with the tree first. Set up the tree a few days before decorating it so that your companions can investigate it (and hopefully, soon lose interest in it).
  • Make sure that the tree has a solid base. As mentioned above, cats love jumping on trees, so be sure to set the tree up so that it won’t easily topple over. Securing it to a wall with some wire near the top can help keep it upright.

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  • If you do opt for a real tree, cover the water bowl with a tree skirt and place presents on top of the skirt so that your cat isn’t tempted to drink the water, which could sicken them.
  • Keep the tree away from launching zones (e. g., furniture) that your cat uses, in order to reduce the temptation to pounce on your tree.
  • Steer your cat away. Most cats hate foil and citrus scents, so wrap your tree trunk in foil, and place a few lemon or orange peels around the base. You can also place pine cones around the base.

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Decorating the Tree
  • Focus on the top half of the tree. Place ornaments where it’s harder for your cat to reach them—at the top and toward the center of the tree (instead of on the ends of the branches).
  • Take care with lights. Place lights toward the center of the tree so that your cat is less tempted to chew on the wires and cover the end of the wire that plugs into the wall with a cord protector. Always unplug the lights when you’re not able to supervise your cat. If your cat tries to chew the wires, it’s better to take the lights off the tree than risk your friend being burned or electrocuted.
  • Tie ornaments. Your cat can be injured by the little metal hooks typically used to hang ornaments, so instead, try tying the ornaments to the tree. Make sure the ornaments are secure enough that your cat can’t just run off with them.
  • Skip the tinsel. Tinsel may be cheap and flashy, but it’s a serious hazard to cats, who often can’t resist eating it and therefore risk choking on it or getting it stuck in their intestines if they swallow it. Go for other types of pretty decor instead, such as paper, wood, or vegan felt decorations, which are less tempting than the super-shiny stuff.
  • Avoid other holiday hazards. Don’t risk using decorations such as real candles, small ornaments that your cat could choke on, or fake snow (which may contain harmful chemicals). And be sure to keep foods and plants that could be poisonous out of reach—or better yet, out of your house. These include chocolate, mistletoe, lilies, cyclamen, poinsettias, and amaryllises, among others.

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Don’t Stress Too Much

Much like knowing that your cat will inevitably scratch your sofa at some point, it’s good to accept that some cats might climb on trees no matter what you do. So do the best you can to set up a beautiful (and safe) tree, but don’t fret too much if your cat decides to “redecorate.” Life is unpredictable with feline companions—that’s half the fun of it!

Now that you’ve got the tree decorating squared away, it’s time to get your holiday shopping started.

You weren’t born purrfect—you’re not a cat, after all. So if you’d like some vital tips on keeping felines happy and healthy, get your paws on PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s new cat book. Order your copy today to learn how to earn your (tabby) stripes.

Order the Cat Guardian’s Bible Today

As an Amazon Associate, PETA earns from qualifying purchases. If you buy something after clicking the Amazon Smile links on this page, a percentage of the qualifying purchase will be donated to PETA and help us protect more animals from exploitation.

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind

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How to Cat-Proof a Christmas Tree

Wondering how to cat-proof your Christmas tree? Learn some great tips here to keep your kitty (and your beautiful decorations!) safe this holiday season.

Think about it. From your cat's perspective, a Christmas tree may be the best gift ever. Jumping! Climbing! Pawing at ornaments! In other words, it's just not realistic to think that your cat won't try and scamper up the tree and play with the decorations—unless he's elderly, infirm, or overweight. So keep kitty safe by taking some precautions to cat-proof your Christmas tree ahead of the holiday.

cat in front of Christmas tree

Credit: Daniel Lacatus / EyeEm / Getty

What Kind of Christmas Tree Should You Buy?

Live trees: Choose a Christmas tree with pet-friendly, pliable needles, such as a Douglas fir or white pine. Their needles won't stick in your cat's paws. Plus, some cats like to eat stray needles, which can cause choking and seriously upset tummies. Keep your vacuum handy while the tree is up to keep the floor clear of debris.

Artificial trees: Thankfully, fake trees won't dry up and drop needles (or at least not as many!) and their branches will be less tempting for your feline friend to taste. Nix the aluminum tree, though; your cat wouldn't be able to resist its sparkle. And understand you'll still need to cat-proof an artificial tree—because when it comes to kitty finding a high place to perch, fake is as good as real.

Smaller may be better: Imagine your cat's athleticism causing a fully loaded tree to topple. A shorter, lighter specimen is less likely to hurt your cat or to break other objects when it hits the floor (or the coffee table). And you'll spend less time cleaning up the resulting mess if it happens.

Cat-Proofing Your Christmas Tree Stand

Use a solid tree base with enough heft to hold the tree upright. Help the base do its job by securing the tree to the ceiling or wall with fishing line (a.k.a. monofilament). And understand that there's nothing you can pour into the tree stand that will lengthen a fresh Christmas tree's life—aside from fresh water. So leave out "helpful" additives like chicken soup, dog urine (yuck!), or bleach (apparently people have tried adding these gross things to their tree water as a way to extend the life of their tree. Don't do it.). And according to the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association (IVPA), those packets that come with a tree from the store contains preservatives, fertilizers, pesticides, and other harmful chemicals for cats and dogs.

These additives will make stagnant, bacteria-loaded water even more dangerous for your feline friend to drink. The IVPA recommends covering the tree water to prevent your cat from quenching his thirst and getting sick. Some cat owners even cover the tree skirt with presents to further camouflage that tempting basin of water.

How to Protect Your Cat and Your Christmas Tree Decorations

Both your decorations and your cat's safety may be at risk if he decides to turn those dangling ornaments into a cat toy, or even worse, climb its branches for a better view. Keep your curious kitty on the ground by setting up a barrier around the base of the tree—consider lattice fencing, a Christmas tree gate, or even furniture. And just in case your cat's a jumper, display fragile antique or glass ornaments and tree toppers beyond his reach. Another (safer) spot to show them off could be the fireplace mantel, bookcase shelves, or in a closed, secure cabinet with glass doors.

Place the tree far away from tables or chairs that may provide a spot for him to vault into the air. The IVPA suggests making sure your ornaments and hooks are securely hung high on the branches when decorating your tree. If they should fall or break, your pet can either step on them and cut their paws or could eat the pieces. Hanging them high also keeps the temptation to play with them like toys at bay. Some pet parents even leave the tree's bottom branches bare and start decorating at a level high enough to make their cat lose interest.

Any broken ornaments should be cleaned up right away to keep your pet from stepping on—or ingesting—sharp shards of glass or plastic, says Douglas Kratt, DVM, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Kratt and his wife, Dr. Kimberly Kratt, own Central Animal Hospital in La Crosse, Wis.

"When cats see something shiny dangling from a tree branch, they're going to bat it," Kratt says. "They might even bite into it. They don't know it's going to break. And when they walk across the broken pieces, they don't know they might cut their pads."

And skip the tinsel altogether, says Jerry Klein, DVM and Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club (AKC). "They're attracted by the shine," says the vet who spent 35 years working in Chicago's largest veterinary emergency and critical care hospital. "And they'll want to eat it, which will cause indigestion."

Do You Need to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree Lights and Battery-Powered Decorations?

Yes! Keep your cat's paws away from wires, electrical cords, and batteries. If chewed, wires and cords can cause a potentially fatal electrical shock. Punctured batteries can leak alkaline or acidic material that will damage your pet's mouth and esophagus. But don't think you have to give up all the cool stuff! You can put your Christmas tree behind a barricade or "plant" it on a tabletop that thwarts your kitty's plans. You may also want to start winding the lights around the tree at a height out of your cat's reach—and push them as far inside the branches as possible—to make them harder for your pet to access.

Protect Your Cat From Toxic Holiday Plants, Too

Though they may look nice throughout your home during the holidays, there are quite a few festive winter plants that are poisonous for cats (and dogs too). Besides pine needles from your Christmas tree, the IVPA says to watch out for poinsettias, mistletoe, and holly berries, all of which can cause mouth irritation, gastric distress, even death for cats. Amaryllis is toxic for cats too. And especially watch out for lilies, which are popular for holidays throughout the year, as these can cause kidney failure and death.

  • Christmas cactus
  • Christmas orchid
  • Christmas dagger
  • African violet
  • A festive bowl of fruit with maize, apples, bananas, cinnamon sticks, and pine cones (no grapes though!)

Other Tips to Keep Kitty Out of the Christmas Tree

  • Barricade the Christmas tree with baby gates or pet gates. They're lightweight and easy to move. And they can be folded up and stored beneath beds between Christmases.
  • Instead of a big tree, hang a small artificial tree upside down from the ceiling beyond the reach of your cat's vertical jump.
  • Keep the Christmas tree behind closed doors in the solarium or three-season porch—letting kitty in only when someone is able to supervise.
  • Place orange or lemon peels on waterproof dishes below the tree skirt. Many cats will be deterred by the smell.

"And some cats don't like the smell of pine," Kratt says. "There's no perfect solution. So I recommend trying to train your cat to stay away from it altogether. Training goes a long way with cats and Christmas trees."

A version of this article first appeared in Happy Paws Fall/Winter 2019.

How to protect a Christmas tree from a cat - show tiktokers

Life hack

Nadezhda Afanasyeva

December 8, 2021 18:37

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The beginning of December is the time when most homes start thinking about putting up a Christmas tree.

And while some choose balls and garlands, cat owners figure out how to protect the tree from a curious pet, and the pet from the tree. Tiktok users share unusual life hacks. We advise you to try them carefully so as not to harm the fluffy.

Use rosemary spray


#rosemary #herbs #cats #christmastree #lifehack #holidayhacks

The foil under the tree will also help keep the cat at a distance, because the movement on it will make an unpleasant sound. True, if the animal actively interacts with the sheets, the rustling will begin to annoy you too.

Scare away the cat with a Christmas tree before installing it

@becs.richards blogger Rebecca Richards says that she saw a life hack on the social network: “I looked at tiktok, which said that if you scare a cat with a tree before installing it, he will leave it alone. ” In the video, a girl attacks an animal to see if it works. In the next video, she says that since then the cat has been coming up to the Christmas tree, but has not shown much interest, which, according to her, confirms the effectiveness of the method. However, users in the comments are concerned that the life hack can injure the cat's psyche.

Put the vacuum cleaner under the tree


Life hack for if your cat destroys the tree like mine 🤦🏽‍♀️ #catsoftiktok #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #lifehacks #catvschristmastree

♬ original sound - Lifehack 9002, the 9002 works on the same principle as the method above. If the cat is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, put it under the Christmas tree, then the animal will not approach him and the decoration too. As a rule, pets are afraid of noisy equipment, so you don’t have to unnerve them once again with a Christmas tree.

Attach toys to a tree


Christmas game changer!!! 💁🏻‍♀️ #christmaschack #christmastreehack #catownerhack #catladyproblems #lifewithcats #catmomlife #over30tiktok #over30

♬ Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms

Another way not to scare your pet away from the tree, but to minimize damage, is to firmly attach Christmas decorations. This tiktok shows a great life hack for an artificial Christmas tree. The author suggests wrapping the flexible tip of each branch so that the ball cannot be pulled down with a paw. Also in the social network, it is advised to fasten jewelry with cable ties.

Add a small Christmas tree for cats


We have a decoy tree since we are so tired of picking up the big tree 😂 #lifehack #cats #tiktokuniversity #christmas

♬ Pink Panther Intro - Henry Mancini

An original way to distract cats is to install a small Christmas tree especially for them, with which they can play enough and forget about the big tree.

If all else fails, just leave the tree in the box


Finally found a way to keep the cats from destroying the tree. #cats #christmas

♬ O, Christmas Tree - Christmas

Not the most joyful, but the most simple and effective way for the desperate.

Details on the topic

If you don’t want a Christmas tree: how to decorate your house for the New Year

If you don’t want a Christmas tree: how to decorate your house for the New Year

How to save a Christmas tree from a cat: ways to protect it


February 27, 2019


  • Unpleasant odors

  • Choice questions

  • Rules for safe tree installation

  • What about the toys?

  • Is it worth punishing a cat?

For pet owners, the New Year is not only a holiday, but also a time of increased attention to their pets. As a rule, they show great interest in the changes taking place in the house. Especially to the New Year tree, which cats strive to dump on the floor or leave without bright toys. How to save a Christmas tree from a cat, and a cat from a New Year's tree: read a selection of proven tips.

Unpleasant odors

Probably the easiest way to protect a Christmas tree from a cat is to use a special repellent scent that you can make yourself. The solution is absolutely safe for the animal, moreover, it will help create a delightful New Year's atmosphere.

To create a solution you will need:

  • ordinary water (50 ml),
  • a few drops of essential oils of lemon, lavender, orange,
  • any convenient sprayer.

The ingredients are mixed, and the tree itself, the floor around it and the toys are periodically irrigated with the resulting spray. In theory, cats will not come close to the New Year's beauty, exuding citrus aromas that are unpleasant for him. It happens that the method does not work, and the curiosity of the animal is stronger. In this case, the problem of how to save the Christmas tree from the cat will have to be solved differently.

Choice questions

It is believed that an artificial Christmas tree is safer for a pet: it does not prick, needles do not fall off and the animal is unlikely to suffer from digestive problems due to swallowed needles. The smaller the size of such a tree, the better:

  • a small tree is much more stable than a large one,
  • Christmas tree made of synthetic materials is much lighter than natural
  • even if, in the heat of “hunting” for Christmas decorations, a cat drops a Christmas tree, it is unlikely that it will cause serious injury.

Christmas tree safety rules

So that the cat does not knock down the Christmas tree, when installing it, you must follow simple rules:

  • the best place is the corner of the room;
  • the tree must be reliably protected from falling, so you need to fix the trunk on a large and stable stand;
  • a bucket with something heavy and unattractive for a fluffy robber is also suitable for the role of a stand: expanded clay, stones;
  • some craftsmen attach the top to the ceiling by tying it to a pre-screwed metal ring;
  • do not install the Christmas tree near cabinets, shelves - as they can make it easier for the cat to access Christmas decorations;
  • artificial or natural pine should not be placed on a pedestal or other platform from which it can fall without the help of a cat;
  • during the cat's forced loneliness and at night, the room where the tree stands should be closed so as not to tempt fate.

What about the toys?

Decorating a Christmas tree in the presence of a cat is a bad omen. At the sight of toys, colorful and shiny tinsel, the animal goes into ecstasy and tries to get to the Christmas tree with a vengeance.

What should be Christmas decorations:

  • matt, not swaying or eye-catching,
  • plastic: if they fall, they will not break and the animal will not get hurt,
  • securely fastened with a wire, not a thread, so that the cat could not catch it with its paw and throw it to the floor,
  • The higher the Christmas decorations are hung, the safer.

What can't be done?