Attention, Cat Owners: Here's How to "Cat Proof" Your Christmas Tree This Holiday Season

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Dec. 22 2020, Updated 10:34 a.m. ET

keep cat away christmas tree
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Cats can be one of the greatest pets — they're generally low-maintenance, relatively clean, and provide owners with never-ending amounts of love and affection. However, many of them effectively become the Grinch during the holiday season. As avid climbers, cats thoroughly enjoy scaling, jumping on, and sometimes completely knocking down Christmas trees, making for a true holiday disaster.

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That being said, cat-proofing — or at least keeping your cat away from your Christmas tree — is absolutely vital for a jolly (and smooth-sailing) holiday celebration. Keep reading for tips and tricks to ensure your beloved fur baby doesn't cause legitimate chaos and ultimately ruin Christmas this year.

cat christmas tree
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Why do cats like Christmas trees so much?

There are a few reasons why cats are particularly attracted to Christmas trees. According to Inverse, cats are inherently curious creatures, and Christmas trees bring an unknown outdoorsy scent — and a new massive structure — into your home, making for something new to explore. The ornaments also look like shiny cat toys that are undeniably tantalizing to bat around and chew on. 

As previously mentioned, cats are also avid climbers, and a Christmas tree effectively makes for a massive perch. Having a tree in your home most likely creates a new high point in their territory, so if they can climb and spy from the top, why would they even bother using that silly looking cat condo you bought them last holiday season? 

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Are there cat-proof trees?

There are several effective ways to deter a cat from messing with your Christmas tree, but unfortunately, there aren't specific varieties that fend off curious kitties. However, according to PETA, certain types are safer — and less tempting for cats — than others, such as plastic trees, which minimize the exciting new scent presented by a real tree. 

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Regardless if you buy a plastic or real tree, PETA also recommends opting for something smaller, as smaller trees pose less of a risk to your beloved fur baby and your living room. The animal rights organization also suggests waiting a few days before setting the tree up with ornaments after you bring it home. This way, your cat can become acclimated to it before it's standing upright and decked out in breakables.

cat proof tree
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How do you keep a cat away from a real Christmas tree?

Sometimes, getting a real Christmas tree is too tempting, and thus, keeping your cat away from it is crucial. Davey recommends keeping a scent cats dislike on or around the tree — scatter orange peels at the base, spray a citrus scent on the branches, or decorate with apple cider vinegar-coated pine cones near the base. Wrapping the trunk in foil also keeps cats away, because they don't like how it feels on their paws.

Even with the foil and scent deterrents, however, your cat may persevere and attempt to climb your Christmas tree. Just in case, secure your tree with a sturdy base, and display it away from any furniture — such as couches or bookshelves — that your cat might use as a vehicle to pounce. Buying non-shiny ornaments, securing the with wire twist ties, and steering clear of tinsel are also strongly suggested.

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why do cats like trees
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Once your tree is safely erected and decorated, buy a tree skirt to prevent your kitten from drinking the water at the base. The water contains preservatives that can make your cats stomach upset, according to Cat Tipper. Once you have all your bases covered, you'll be ready to safely — and efficiently — erect your Christmas tree (which will hopefully stay standing, as long as your cat behaves).

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