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How To Keep Cats Out Of The Christmas Tree, What To Do?

How To Keep Cats Out Of The Christmas Tree, What To Do?

It’s that time of the year again! Of course, having a beautiful and well-decorated tree brings out any home’s Christmas spirit. But, this could be a challenge for pet owners, especially cat owners. Christmas trees have a catnip-like effect on some cats; they can climb them and knock off all of their decorations.

If you want to keep cats out of the Christmas tree, you can spray essential oils or Bitter Apple around the tree. Cats dislike the smell of most essential oils, especially citrus oils.

It also applies to your Christmas decor. Your furry friend might be delighted about this tall structure in its home. But, it is not the case for all cats. Cats are attracted to novelty. Some owners claim their kittens liked to lay below the tree and have never caused any damage. While other cats never show interest in the Christmas tree.

Understanding How Cats React To Christmas Tree

There are various reasons why your cat is interested in your Christmas tree. It doesn’t matter if it is an artificial tree or a real one. Cats are eager to learn about their surroundings. They are curious and love to explore new things.

How Cats React To Christmas Decor


One of the reasons why cats are attracted to the tree is its decor. Christmas decor is usually shiny and bright. Therefore, let’s see what’s so attractive about each decor element.


Once your cat discovers that ornaments move around, they can find this very appealing. It’s like a big game for them. Most indoor cats have a lot of energy, and their instincts tell them they need to move around.

Most cat owners claim it is best to leave the bottom part of your tree without ornaments. This way, your cat won’t take them off or bite them.

Christmas Tree

Even if you have a tree with no decor at all, your cat might be attracted to it. For cats, this is a new thing to explore. Chances are, your cat will climb up the tree and tumble down with it.

Some owners claim you must secure your tree. For example, you can place it in a corner. Or you can use leveling shims to make it more stable.

Christmas Lights

Cats love lights, and Christmas lights are some of their favorites. If you ever played with a laser pointer, you might have noticed how your cat loved chasing after the light. Well, it’s the same concept with Christmas lights. Most systems allow you to change the mode to make lights flash on and off. You can try using the lights in fixed instead of flashing mode.

If you notice your cat is highly attracted to lights, make sure to supervise it. If your cat decides to chew the string, it poses a safety risk.

Why Some Cats Don’t React To Christmas Trees


Not all cats react to Christmas trees. You could be one of the lucky pet parents that don’t have to worry about your cat jumping and messing with the Christmas decor. Why does this happen?

We can name a few factors that play a role in your cat’s behavior towards the Christmas tree:

  • Your pet’s age. Kittens have a more exploratory instinct. As your cat becomes older, it will be less interested in trying new things.
  • The cat’s activity level. Cats that spend the whole day outdoors or playing around will have a lower energy level. If your cat is tired, it would prefer to lay down rather than throw itself at your tree.

What To Do To Keep Your Cat Out Of The Christmas Tree

As we mentioned earlier, a few tricks can help you keep your cat away from your Christmas tree.

Essential Oils

You can spray your Christmas tree with essential oils to keep your cat away from it. Cats don’t like the smell of most oils, especially citrus fragrances. Some options you have are lemon, lime, grapefruit, or orange.

Just be careful with the amount of essential oil you use. It is known that cats can experience citrus poisoning. We recommend you spray a bit of oil around the bottom part of your tree.

Please do not use an oil burner or diffuser because it could seriously affect your cat’s health. Your kitten can get dermatitis after being exposed to citrus aromas.

Bitter Apple

This commercial product Bitter Apple is available as a solution to prevent your pet from chewing things. You can find it by other names such as no-chew spray and anti-chew bitter spray.

Most brands advertise this product as safe for your furniture and pets. But, online reviews are not definite about their effectiveness. We have divided opinions between people who claim the product worked for them and people who say it doesn’t work.

If you want to give it a try, we recommend you go for the alcohol-free option. Also, keep in mind that you will have to apply the product from time to time to keep its effect.


According to many sources, cats don’t like tinfoil. People claim they hate its texture and don’t like to get in contact with it.

Some cat owners recommend you wrap the tree’s pole in aluminum foil to keep your cat away from it.

Orange Peels

As we mentioned with essential oils, cats don’t like citrus smells. The reason is that orange peels have some chemical substances that can harm a cat’s health. These chemical compounds are limonene and linalool.

Once they identify the smell of citrus fruit, they immediately lose interest. The same thing occurs with lemons, grapefruit, lime, and tangerines. Some people hang orange peels on their Christmas tree to keep cats out of it.

Catnip Toys

A great option to keep your cat away from the Christmas tree is to keep it entertained with another object. You can set up a playground away from the tree. Catnip toys are more appealing to your cat than a tree that falls off every time they climb it.

Play More With Your Cat

Your kitten jumping and climbing into your Christmas tree might be a subtle way to tell you that they have a lot of energy. Instead of taking the time to put up all the decor back, take some time to play with your pet.

If you keep it busy and entertained, your cat will prefer to lay down instead of playing with the tree.

Choose Other Christmas Decor

If you tried all the options in this list and many more, but your cat still won’t stay away from it, you could choose other decor options. We understand it is not the option you are looking for, but other options seem less appealing to cats.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do cats like outdoor decorations?

Yes, they do, and they will play with it as long as they can reach it. If you have an inflatable decoration outdoor, you don’t have to worry; your cat will not damage it. If you installed lights, make sure you protect them to avoid your cat from biting them and getting shocked.

Can my cat get hurt by Christmas decor?

Yes, it can. If you choose ceramic, glass, or porcelain decor, they could fall on the floor and break. The shattered pieces can potentially injure your cat.

Are Christmas trees poisonous to cats?

No, but they can be toxic for your cat to eat. If you notice your cat has been eating the Christmas tree or part of its decoration, make sure you call your local vet to have more information about what to do.

What type of Christmas tree is best for cats?

If you have a playful cat that likes to climb up, choose a small tree. Some people recommend you put up the tree and wait a few hours before adding the decoration. It can help you assess your kitten’s reaction to it and might allow it to get accustomed to this new piece.

Final Thoughts About Cats And Christmas Trees

It will all depend on the type of cat you have. Some cats love Christmas trees; others don’t even pay attention to them.

To keep your cat away from it, you may need to use some essential oils or products to prevent them from playing with the ornaments. Don’t stress yourself if your kitten decides to give a personal touch to the tree. In the end, Christmas is about sharing with your loved ones.

We hope this article serves you to take the necessary safety measures, so you and your furry friend have a meowy Christmas and a happy meow year.