how to keep cats away from christmas tree

How to Keep Cats Away From Christmas Trees

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up


Having a playful feline companion around the house is enjoyable until it starts messing stuff around it. One thing that definitely triggers the curiosity of a cat is a decorated Christmas tree due to the shiny and swinging enticements. Before the play and curiosity become risky, learn how to keep cats away from Christmas trees.

Notably, Christmas trees pose risks to cats and even your household in case they are knocked down and break stuff. Therefore, here are details on how to cat-proof your Christmas tree. As you read on, the more measure you apply, the better.

1. Repelling Scents and Sprays

This method has proven to be effective since cats are sensitive to smell. Specifically, cats don't like citrus scents, including both artificial and natural. Subsequently, you can place anything citrusy at the tree base or spray your tree with a citrusy solution.

For instance, you can use artificial citrus scents like lemongrass, citronella oil or apple cider vinegar mixed with water. We recommend adding a few drops to the spray water when using citrusy essential oils. Primarily, the aim is to keep the citrus scents potent enough while still making your household habitable without chasing the cat entirely from the house.

Alternatively, you can use natural citrus sources like orange rinds or peels. Orange peels are also safer for any prying little hands of children if they are around the Christmas tree unsupervised. Overall, such scents wear down progressively and require reapplications until the Christmas holiday season is over. Considering this method isn't 100% foolproof, let's explore additional solutions.

2. Hide the Fun Stuff

More intuitively, it's also best to hide the dangly stuff to prevent the cat's temptation to be around your Christmas tree. Indeed, cats are very playful, and Christmas tree decorations perfectly fall in the category of cats' favorites. Also, it's inevitable to have a Christmas tree without dangling objects. As such, here are possible solutions to decorating your tree while keeping your cat's curiosity at bay:

  • Tuck or completely remove the lights. For a start, you tuck the Christmas lights at the tree's center to keep them out of reach. Also, use a cord protector at the plug-in end. If tucking doesn't work, please consider removing the lights entirely to protect your cat from electrocution. Alternatively, you can only plug in the lights when you can supervise your feline companion.
  • Tie ornaments. Using metal hooks might have better Christmas aesthetics, but with cats, you'll have to prioritize safety. Therefore, you should tie the ornaments to the tree to reduce the dangling and injury risks caused by metal hooks. Tying also prevents cats from running off with the ornaments.
  • Skip edible ornaments. Avoid having edible ornaments around your Christmas tree as part of keeping away the fun stuff. For instance, avoid having candy canes or popcorn around your tree.
  • Decorate higher up. Cats, kids and dogs are more likely to pluck reachable ornaments from the tree. To avoid this, put tempting ornaments higher up the tree to prevent your cat from reaching. Subsequently, we recommend decorating the top half and tree center if you have a cat.
  • Don’t Decorate Right Away. You can also try some mind games by first letting an undecorated tree sit for some days for familiarity with your cat. Probably, your cat will get bored investigating your tree when you eventually decorate it.

3. Strategic Tree Placement

Let's say you have decorated higher up a tree; it won't stop your cat from reaching the dangling ornaments. Cats are very curious, and they will climb any surface to use as a launching point. For instance, they can jump from counters, windowsills, or furniture to hunt and pounce on decorative ornaments. Therefore, it's best to place your Christmas tree strategically away from launching surfaces.

4. Consider an Artificial Tree

A live tree offers the best Christmas aesthetics in terms of aroma and appearance. However, real trees come with the risk of poisonous saps and needles that may harm your pets. Also, real wood will attract cats since they will enjoy sharpening their claws on the trunk. You can opt for a fake tree to avoid these dangers and temptations.

Fortunately, modern artificial trees have realistic appearances for unique Christmas aesthetics except for the lack of natural scents. Accordingly, fake trees have a lesser appeal to cats than the real ones, guess they can also tell it's fake. If you must have a real tree, ensure you have a tree skirt to cover the water bowl with the preservation chemicals. By doing this, you will prevent your cat from drinking the water.

5. Aluminum Foil

Another thing that cats don't like is aluminum foil due to the noise it produces when scratched. To avoid turning your Christmas tree into a tin-foil sculpture, you can just wrap the base. Such a measure will prevent a cat from climbing up the tree. You will probably not notice aluminum foil at the tree base.

7. Guard the Tree Base

Image Credit:

If you have placed your tree away from elevated launching points, you can proceed to guard the tree trunk for increased vigilance. A good guard base is a cat gate or fence to prevent the cat from sneaking from below. However, if the cat gate seems to take away the Christmas aesthetics, you can put some pine cones around the tree base. For Christmas trees in your backyard, an aluminum foil is better than a cat fence for repelling cats from tree bases.

6. Smaller Trees

A smaller tree will make it easy to supervise your cat. In their quirkiness, cats love to sneak and hide in big trees. Therefore, if you don't mind, you can choose a smaller tree, but it doesn't have to be very small. Primarily, the goal of a smaller tree is to make it easy to keep your cat away.

Moreover, a small tree is less likely to hurt your pet or cause damage in the house in case it's knocked over. Besides keeping away cats, smaller trees are easier to decorate and redecorate if your cat can't completely resist the play.

8. Have Solid Tree Foundation

This additional tip is more of a safety than a cat preventative measure. Despite highlighting proven ways of keeping cats away from Christmas trees, cats will always be cats. Out of the entire time you'll have a decorated Christmas tree in your house, it's difficult to keep the cat completely off. For instance, cats may jump or perch on Christmas trees.

Cognizant of this behavior, you will need to ensure the tree stand has a firm foundation. One way of securing it is securing its top to a wall with a line. Ideally, you should implement this precaution alongside the strategic placement.


Both a cat and a decorated Christmas tree are good to have in your house. Nonetheless, they cannot coexist without human control. Therefore, you can be sure the solutions in this guide will effectively keep cats away from Christmas trees.

Image Credit:

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles
interior design materials

Interior Design Materials That Add Depth and Character

The right choice of texture and materials in interior design holds significant importance as it determines the feel of your ...

Planter Design for Indoor Spaces

Trend Alert: The Latest in Planter Design for Indoor Spaces

Indoor planters are a great way to add life and light to your space. According to Allied Market Research, the ...

Composite Deck Skirting Ideas

Composite Deck Skirting Ideas – Enhance The Look & Functionality

Unleash the full potential of your deck with composite skirting ideas that add style, durability, and functionality to your outdoor ...