Ah, the holidays! A time for joy, decorations, and... keeping your curious cat out of the Christmas tree. Wondering how to do it? We've teamed up with our in-house feline behaviour specialist, Leili, to bring you the best strategies on how to stop a cat climbing the Christmas tree, nibbling on the branches, drinking the tree water, and turning your cherished decorations into their new favourite toys.
Curious to see these tips in action? Watch our handy YouTube video right below. Prefer to read? Simply scroll down for our comprehensive guide on keeping your cat entertained and safely away from the Xmas tree this holiday season
How to stop a cat climbing the christmas tree
Cats love to climb - it's in their nature. They’re drawn to high places for safety and to get a better view of their kingdom (your home!). So, how do you keep them from seeing your Christmas tree as the ultimate climbing challenge?
Create an Alternative Climbing Zone: A tall cat tree or set of climbable wall-mounted shelves can be a great alternative for your cat to get up high in a safe and appropriate way. This can be an incredibly effective way to stop your cat climbing the Christmas tree. Place the climbing areas near the tree but not too close, making them more appealing than the festive fir.
Add in an Alternative Scratching Area: Cats also love to scratch to stretch their bodies and maintain their claws. So, why not set up a tall vertical scratching post? It could be a sleek, modern design that fits your décor and provides a perfect spot for your cat to stretch and scratch away from the tree. Placing it in the same room as the tree can help divert their attention and keep your cat out of the Christmas tree.
Entice with High Perches: Cats adore high vantage points. You can enhance your cat's tree or shelves by adding cozy perches or beds at the top. This gives them a comfy spot to survey their domain and resist the temptation of climbing the Christmas tree.
Add a Cosy Bed Under The Tree: Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Place a comfy cat bed or blanket-lined cardboard box under the tree. This can provide a peaceful spot for your cat to lounge, making the lower branches of the tree less attractive for climbing and playing.
- Avoid Deterrents: While it might be tempting to use a special spray for the christmas tree to keep your cat out of it, or home remedies like orange peel, they can often be unpleasant or even harmful to your cat. Instead, the best way to keep your cat out of the Christmas tree is to focus on meeting your cat's climbing needs in healthier ways, so that they don't need to climb the christmas tree to fulfil their natural urges!
How to Stop Your Cat Chewing the Christmas Tree
Rubbing and chewing on the leafy branches of your Christmas tree is a common cat behaviour. To redirect this habit, here are a few tips:
Introduce Cat-Safe Greenery: Cats often chew on plants out of curiosity or to aid their digestion. You can deter your cat from chewing on the Christmas tree by providing cat-friendly alternatives like cat grass or catnip plants. Place these near the tree to divert their attention.
Regular Playtime: Sometimes, cats chew out of boredom. Engage your cat with regular playtime using interactive toys. This keeps them stimulated and less likely to take their boredom out on the Christmas tree.
How to Stop Your Cat Playing with Christmas Tree Decorations
Cats are naturally playful and may see the dangling decorations on your Christmas tree as an invitation for fun. To keep your festive decorations safe, try these simple strategies:
Hang Decorations Out of Reach: Place delicate and precious ornaments higher up the tree where your cat can't reach them. Use more durable, cat-safe decorations on the lower branches.
Engage with Lots of Fun Play: Keeping your cat actively engaged with regular playtime is crucial. Use interactive toys that stimulate their hunting instincts, redirecting their energy and attention away from the tree.
Hang Cat-Friendly Toys on the Tree: Consider decorating the lower part of your tree with cat-friendly toys. These can provide a safe and appropriate outlet for their playful instincts, and might just keep them interested in the toys rather than the tree itself.
How to Keep Your Cat Out of the Christmas Tree Water
If you have a real tree, the water in the tree stand can be an unhealthy attraction for cats. Here's how to prevent them from drinking it:
Cover the Tree Base: Use a tree skirt or a fashion a foil cover around the base of the tree to restrict your cat's access to the ree water.
Provide Fresh Water Elsewhere: Make sure your cat has easy access to fresh, clean water elsewhere in your home. Often, cats are attracted to the tree water because they're looking for something to drink.
Use Safe Tree Preservatives: If you're adding preservatives to your tree water to keep the tree fresh, ensure they are pet-safe. Better yet, stick to plain water to eliminate any risk.
Are real Christmas trees safe for cats?
As beautiful as real Christmas trees look, they can present some hazards for our cats:
Potential Toxicity from Natural Oils: Pine, spruce, and fir trees contain oils that can be mildly toxic to cats. This can be an issue if they nibble on branches, lick sap from their fur, or ingest fallen pine needles.
Tree Water Hazards: Avoid using fertilizers or preservatives in your tree water as some can be very toxic to cats. Protect your cat by covering the water reservoir, such as with aluminum foil, to prevent them from drinking sap-infused water.
- Heavier Real Trees Pose Risks: Real trees are heavier and might not have robust stands, posing a risk if a cat climbs them. Ensure the tree is secure to prevent it from toppling over during a cat’s exploration.
Are artificial trees better for cats?
Artificial trees are better for cats in that they allow us to make sure that our cats aren’t exposed to any of the toxic oils that are common in natural trees. However, it’s important to make sure that they’re safely secured so they can’t topple over. Additionally, some artificial trees will come pre-adorned with lights and decorations that cats can get tangled in if they attempt to climb the tree. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to locate the tree in a room of the house where you can close the door when you go out – so your cat can’t go on any unsupervised adventures in the tree.
Where should I put my Christmas tree?
Usually during the festive season, the Christmas tree takes pride of place in our homes but if want to keep it safe from little paws, you might want to consider putting it in a room where your cat doesn’t spend much time. Alternatively, if you have a cat-free location, then consider this a prime spot!
Who are we kidding, right? Chances are your cat rules the roost and goes into every room they want too so, if your Christmas tree is in a room they frequent, then avoid putting it next to chairs and tables, as they can use these to help them scale the higher branches.
How should I secure my Christmas tree?
It is important that your Christmas tree is secure to stop it toppling over if your cat climbs it. A falling tree can be a potential hazard to your cat. If you have a real tree, make sure you choose a stand for your tree that’s appropriate for the tree’s height and weight, and ideally secure the tree at the top via a hook and tether to the wall behind so that it is supported at either end.
For artificial trees, as well as tethering the top as mentioned before, you can tape the base stand to the floor, add a weight for extra security or invest in a heavier base.