How to stop a cat from attacking the christmas tree

How to Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree

Sometimes cats think Christmas trees were made for them. Shiny ornaments to play with, branches to perch on and endless trinkets to gnaw at? Yep, Christmas trees are a curious cat’s paradise.

But for cat owners, Christmas trees + kitties usually equal chaos. Nothing dampens the holiday cheer like a tipped-over tree or broken ornaments sprawled across the floor. And even worse, our furry friends can get hurt when they hop onto trees.

But, it is possible to keep cats from exploring where they’re not supposed to. Read on for tips on cat proofing your Christmas tree.

How do I Cat Proof My Christmas Tree?

A sturdy tree stand and easy-to-find cat deterrents that can be found in your house can help make your holiday decorations pet-friendly. Below are some tips and tricks!

How do I Stop My Cat From Attacking my Christmas Tree?

Cats don’t just like shiny objects—they're totally mesmerized by them. So, shimmering ornaments on trees are one of the toughest things to resist. When you’re shopping for ornaments, try to avoid the shine and instead aim for options made of plastic, felt or wood. That said, if you’re like your cat and also can’t say no to flashy trinkets, be sure to hang them high up (i.e., not on the bottom few branches) so they’re not in easy reach.

Tinsel and hanging electrical cords also look like toys in a cat’s mind. The difference is, both can be harmful if your kitty tries to snack on them. It’s best to avoid tinsel altogether and be sure to tightly secure lights around branches so they’re not drooping.

How to Keep Cats Away From Christmas Trees

There are lots of ways to make sure your cat doesn’t have easy access to your tree. Here are a few things to try:

  • Keep your tree away from furniture like sofas or tables. That way, your cat won’t have a launching pad to pounce from.
  • Put a scented deterrent near the tree. This is a popular approach because there are tons of smells cats find not-so-pleasant and will want to avoid. You can try placing orange peels at the base of the tree, using an orange or citrus-scented spray-on branch, or putting apple cider vinegar-coated pine cones near the tree. There are also ready-made cat deterrents available at most pet stores.
  • Cover the trunk of your live Christmas tree with aluminum foil. Cats can’t stand the way foil feels on their paws, so they’ll likely steer clear of it.

How to Make Your Christmas Tree Pet-Friendly

A pet-friendly Christmas tree? Why yes, it is possible! First and foremost, pets typically favor live trees. And can you blame them? The pine needles are tasty and there’s even a little stash of water at the bottom of the tree to sip from.

While artificial trees don’t always have the same charm as real ones, they’re a much safer option for your feline family member. But, if you’d still like to go the natural route, cover the tree’s water supply with foil or a tree skirt.

In the event that cats might still hop onto your tree despite your best deterrents, make sure the ornaments are tightly hooked so they don’t fall off easily. And, you can lower the chances of a tree toppling over by using a heavy tree stand, or placing small brinks on top of the tree stand legs for added strength..

Looking for more Christmas tree tips?

Read all about hydrating Christmas trees, or learn how to stop needles from falling from your Christmas tree.



  • Christmas Tree Care

Related Blog Posts

Plant Health Care

Live Christmas Tree Roundup: How to Select & Care for a Live Christmas Tree

There’s nothing more nostalgic than bringing a live evergreen tree into your home for the holidays. Let’s talk about the different types of live Christmas trees and how to care for them to ensure a holly jolly season for you and your family and friends.

Read More

Christmas Tree Care

Cat Proof Christmas Tree Ideas and Tips

It is possible to cat proof your Christmas tree this year! Check out these tips and ideas on how to make your Christmas tree pet-friendly and stop your cat from climbing it.

Read More

Back to our Blog

Sign Up For Free Tree & Landscaping Tips! 

Subscribe to the "The Sapling," the Davey Blog's email newsletter, for the latest tips to keep your outdoor space in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Plus, receive a free instant download of our landscape seasonal checklists when you sign up!

Sign Up Now

Get In Touch With Us!

We pride ourselves at Davey Tree on providing prompt, professional and personalized service from certified arborists that live, work and engage in your community. Contact one of our Davey Tree specialists for your residential, commercial, utility, or environmental needs.

Contact Us

The Cat Vet Blog | Cat Toxins and Hazards | Why does my cat climb and chew the Christmas tree

Dr Jo Blogs

Expert Cat Care Advice 

What's the best way to cat proof your Christmas tree?

Dr Jo Lewis MRCVS  |   13 Sep 2021   |  5 min read        


So what is it about your Christmas tree that cats seem to find so alluring? I think the presence of a Christmas tree somehow seems to awaken a cat's five senses and fuel their natural instincts...

  • Simple curiosity about something new - how does it smell, taste, feel?
  • A desire to climb and scratch and hunt 
  • A preference for high, secluded views (for those who like to climb the trunk!)
  • All the bright, sparkly, crinkly, irresistible things that are dangly from it
  • The tree is a ready-made indoor activity centre! Cats can be pretty lazy and with Christmas time being colder and wetter many cats are less inclined to venture outside for their daily entertainment and exercise

Of course there is no quick fix for keeping your cat from showing interest in your Christmas tree and in some situations you might find it easier to locate your tree in a room that can have a closed door between it and your cat. <

Make sure the tree is secure

Ensure you use a tree base appropriate for the size of the tree and that the fittings are tight and sturdy. If need be add extra weight to the base. For added security position the tree in a corner and use string or fishing line to tether it to the ceiling, walls or windows. Never leave Christmas lights on when your tree and cat are left unattended.

Decorate wisely

Position the tree away from your cat’s preferred resting/play areas and from any potential surfaces that your cat could use to get up into the top of the tree or sit on and attack the ornaments. Avoid using any particularly fragile ornaments but if you can’t do this, at least put these at the top and the more robust ones on the bottom half of the tree. Rather than loosely hanging ornaments or using dangling string that may further entice your cat to want to play with them, try using twisty ties to firmly attach each item. Put any tinsel out of reach and ideally don't use foil angel hair decorations as these often fall off onto the floor and can be problematic if swallowed. 

Think outside the box 

When it comes to anything to do with cats or small children you have to stay one step ahead. If you  are really stuck with your cats attacking your tree, try looking at it from a different perspective... literally! Why not consider an upside down Christmas tree?

You may think it's madness but they're the latest trend - don't believe me, ask Google! Particularly if you have high ceilings then these are a few creative ideas that can be suspended from the ceiling.

Use cat-safe deterrents on & around your Christmas tree

Never punish your cat for playing with the tree by yelling, using a water pistol - your cat is being naturally curious and playful and reprimanding your cat will just make them wary of you, not the tree Chances are they’ll just wait until you’re not looking and continue their fun! Instead, why not try positive reinforcement and reward your cat when they are not in the tree.  Give no attention to “bad” behaviour (punishment is still attention and is not a kind or helpful way to teach cats).

At the same time, why not let the tree do its own work by using cat safe deterrents - that way your cat will relate any unpleasantness to the tree instead of you.​​​

  • ​Put double sided sticky tape or tin foil around the bottom of the trunk of the tree. Cats don’t like the feeling or sound of the foil, so this may discourage them from using the trunk to climb the tree.
  • Use citrus scents along the bottom branches of the tree. Most don’t tend to like citrus smells and won’t want to go near that part of the tree. You could also leave seasonal clementine or orange peels around the bottom of the tree or make the more sightly traditional dried citrus decorations pictured perhaps? ​You could even coat pine cones in citrus scent or citronella and hang them as decorations from the lower branches of your tree. To make a safe but effective homemade citronella spray, add 30 drops of pure Citronella oil to 200ml of water and spray on the trees lower branches to deter interest.   
  • Spray a bitter apple pet deterrent product on the bottom branches of the tree. They probably won’t want to chew it again! Don't inhale as you spray as it tastes absolutely horrid!​

​Supply plenty of cat friendly distractions

By enriching your cat’s environment, you can help distract them from the lure of the tree. Provide plenty of interesting things elsewhere such as:

  • Toys aplenty (be sure to swap these around daily and refresh interest with catnip, silver vine etc).
  • Have lots of available scratching pads and high perches on the other side of the room.
  • Make time to interact and play with your cat during the day to burn off some pent-up winter-time energy, preferably before a meal.
  • Offer treats, praise and a fuss when your cat plays with things other than your tree.

​Mouse Cat Nip Toy

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


February 27, 2019


  • Unpleasant odors

  • Selection 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, 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 be injured,
  • 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?

  • hang toys on lower branches,
  • use rain, otherwise the pet will swallow it, which can lead to serious problems with the esophagus and stomach, poisoning and even suffocation of the animal,
  • decorate the Christmas tree with a faulty garland: make sure that the light bulbs are not electric and the wires are well insulated and hidden.

Is it worth punishing a cat?

If the cat eats the Christmas tree and does not leave an attempt to pull off toys from it, then it's time to start the educational process. The greatest educational effect on the cat has a thin jet of water from a spray bottle. As soon as the pet tries to attack the New Year tree, lightly sprinkle water on it and strictly say “No!”. Harsh sounds can be used instead of water. For example, clap your hands or hit the pan with a spoon. The animal must clearly understand: the tree is not an object for entertainment and it is necessary to keep a distance from it.

Protecting the traditional New Year's attribute is a responsible and not always successful business. If, despite all your efforts, the cat knocked down the Christmas tree, then let the animal have fun from the heart. Having played enough, the pet will get fed up and sooner or later calm down, having lost all interest in the tree.

  • interesting to know

you will also be interested

Plants dangerous for cats

Interesting facts about cats0129

Cat Name Generator

Cat Heat Stroke

How to Choose a Cat Carrier

Names for Cats and Cats

How much does it cost to keep a cat

Best games and apps for cats and cats

Cat Statistics2

Why you shouldn't make eye contact with your cat

How to take care of your cat's coat

​Back to all articles

How to protect a Christmas tree from a cat: 10 ways to save the New Year

Decorated, bright and beautiful Christmas tree is an integral symbol of the New Year holiday.

However, cats look at these decorations in their own way. Let's figure out how to minimize damage.

Christmas trees are very attractive to cats - this thing looks like both a scratching post and a play complex. Shiny toys only irritate the furry pranksters, and they joyfully attack the unfortunate tree.

The collapse of the Christmas tree is dangerous for the animal - glass and plastic toys break and cut the cat's paws, the garland can break when falling. In addition, the green beauty is scary in itself: a cat can overeat needles, get tangled in branches and get lost in time when playing in her arms.

We have prepared 10 tips to help make the New Year fun and safe for all family members.

Do not decorate the Christmas tree right away

Naturally, cats are surprised by a luminous object suddenly appearing in the house. Before decorating the tree with toys, take out the Christmas tree and let it stand without decorations for a couple of days. When the cat gets used to the new thing, she will no longer want to knock over such a big toy.

Make the Christmas tree unattractive to the cat

Your pet will definitely not want to re-experience the negative experience. If your cat loves to nibble on fir branches, try spraying them with bitter spray. Give preference to an artificial tree - its needles do not crumble and it does not smell of anything.

Many cats don't like the smell of citrus, so try breaking up tangerine or lemon peels and rubbing the sour juice on the twigs.

Another way to keep your pet away from the Christmas tree is to stick foil or double-sided tape on the "skirt" of the Christmas decoration. Cats don't like it when something sticks to their paws.

Keep the cat away from the Christmas tree pot

Some furries love to drink water meant for the Christmas tree. Cats think this is a new body of water just for them. Such water often contains additives and fertilizers that are toxic to animals, so it is not suitable for drinking.

Here foil comes to the rescue again - wrap a sheet of foil around the edges of the pot. Remember that even water without fertilizer contains bacteria that are harmful to the stomach.

Pay attention to the wood material

Choosing an artificial Christmas tree, you prevent several possible problems at once. The cat will not be able to drink water from the Christmas tree pot and will overeat fallen needles that are dangerous for digestion.

However, some artificial Christmas trees are also unsafe: do not purchase a Christmas tree made of cheap PVC, as this material can be toxic to humans and animals.

Prevent the tree from tipping over

As you know, playful cats love to jump on and drop the trees. Take care of the stability of the green tree in advance: tie the tree to a wall or ceiling. This may seem like a drastic method, but this way your tree will definitely stay upright.

Be careful with garlands

Always turn off the garland when you go to bed or leave the house. Sharp cat teeth and electrical cords are incompatible, and such fun can end sadly. If your pet is a chronic lover of chewing wires, give up the electric garland altogether.

Ban on rain and tinsel

Many of us like to decorate the Christmas tree with beautiful shiny tinsel, but cat owners will have to give it up. The pet will definitely try to eat the jewelry, which can lead to blockage of the intestines and death. Rain is also dangerous for cats due to the peculiarities of digestion.

Check Christmas tree decorations

Fragile or souvenir decorations should be kept out of the cat's reach. Hang them on the upper branches of the Christmas tree so that the cat cannot reach them with its paw and break them.

If you haven't fixed the tree in a secure position, it's best not to use glass toys at all. Choose balls from a more durable material.

Distract the cat from the tree

If your kitten is really crazy about the Christmas tree, try something else to keep him busy.

Learn more