9 Ways To Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree For Good

catproof your christmas tree
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Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: January 23, 2023

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Sharing life’s adventures with your animal pals is one of its greatest delights. Naturally, it can occasionally be difficult to adjust to all of their peculiar routines. If you live with cats, you likely understand what that entails. Cats are inquisitive explorers, so when it comes time to decorate your Christmas tree, you can bet they’ll check it out. 

Therefore, if you have a cat at home, decorating a tree over the holidays could be a little more challenging. A towering tree with shiny ornaments may attract cats, who may then pounce on the tree, topple it, or steal the ornaments. Fortunately, there are several easy methods you may employ to keep cats safe and your tree looking festive! 

Pet Safety and Plants

No matter how joyful, bringing a real Christmas tree inside might be a little risky. When bringing the outside inside, people should take some precautions because dry bristles can start fires and trees can topple over. Particularly pet owners should use caution when keeping a live tree close to their four-legged companions. 

One of the numerous festive flora that might be hazardous to pets is Christmas trees. Trees aren’t the biggest danger to pets, but they are nevertheless regarded as “mildly poisonous” by pet supplies business Hartz. Animals’ stomachs can become disturbed when exposed to the oils from trees and their needles.

The oils from fir trees can make people and pets throw up and drool excessively, and tree needles can hurt a pet’s stomach if they are particularly sharp. The digestive lining may be punctured if dogs or cats consume the needles. 

The tree’s water, though, is of far greater significance. Preservatives can be discovered in the tree’s base water supply while maintaining a live tree for the season. If your pet drinks from it after mistaking it for a bowl, it could poison them due to gastrointestinal problems.

How to Cat-Proof a Christmas Tree

There are several great ways to prevent your furry friend from ruining your holiday tree! A lot goes into setting it up, fluffing the branching, and placing what could be decades-old ornaments. Here are A-Z Animal’s favorite ways to keep your feline safe during the holiday season! 

Start Slow

Most cats find it difficult to adapt to changes in their schedule or surroundings. When an unanticipated enormous pine tree covered with glittering ornaments enters your home, your cat will have a lot to get used to. 

PETA advises waiting a few days before decorating your tree with that old box full of ornaments. Allow your cat to become used to this new thing in her own time. Eventually, she will become used to the tree and completely disregard it. Once that happens, you can move forward with the next step! 

Secure Ornaments and Lights

Avoid using the pointy hangers that are typically used to display ornaments because they can hurt curious cats. To prevent your cat from batting ornaments off of branches, secure them as securely as you can with cable or rope. The same can be said for tree lights. Make sure they aren’t loose enough that they’re hanging or your cat could take down the entire tree in one swoop. 

Ensure that your tree’s base is strong enough to support it. To reduce the likelihood of your tree falling, you might even want to think about using a fishing line to anchor it to the wall or ceiling.

Pyramid Ornaments

Do you have heirloom ornaments that are special to you? Hang them highest up on the tree. This is the safest place and the area where your cat is most likely to avoid. Avoid hanging decorations that are too low since your curious cat can find them too alluring. 

Instead, consider suspending some bells from the lower branches to act as a warning mechanism. It might be necessary for you to step in if you hear the bells ringing.

Replace Tinsel

Completely exclude the tinsel while we’re talking about tree decorations. It can tragically injure the intestinal tract if consumed. Not worthwhile! It’s time to do away with the customary tinsel. It’s not precisely hazardous, but it’s also difficult to stomach. When your dogs and cats consume tinsel, it may cause an obstruction under their tongues or in their stomachs. 

If that occurs, you’ll need to pay for urgent surgery with all of your Christmas money. Better to use paper garland in its place. You can make a fun holiday activity with your family by getting construction paper and creating your own cat-safe garlands. 

Separate When Decorating

Without cats rushing up behind you and whacking the ornaments as you cautiously hang them up, it’s difficult enough to fiddle with trees, lights, and breakable ornaments. It’s just easier to keep your cat out of the way until everything is set up because she’ll think this is a game you want her to play. 

If your cat is nearby while you’re decorating, try to avoid the impulse to taunt her as you add the ornaments. This will simply encourage her to view the glittering objects as toys that she can swat whenever she feels like it.

Skip Real Trees

The charm of genuine trees is undeniable. Additionally, they are rather untidy. Fallen pine needles pose a major risk to curious chewers and can pierce paws. This risk will be overcome by a fake tree. These are often less expensive, often have built-in lights, and can be used for years to come! 

But don’t bother with the aluminum tree; your pet would be drawn to its glitter. And be aware that you’ll still need to cat-proof a fake tree because fake is as good as real when it comes to a cat choosing a high perch. A second idea: Purchase a little tree. Even if a crash does happen despite your best efforts, a smaller tree will suffer less damage than a larger one.

Incorporate Citrus and Foil

Did you know that cats detest citrus scents? Put a few orange or lemon peels around the tree’s base to take advantage of this repulsion. You could even spray the tree with a pet-friendly citrus essential oil blend. 

A playful cat can also be repelled by spraying numerous pine cones with apple cider vinegar. Cats detest the feel of foil, therefore they are likely to stay away from a tree wrapped in foil. You may achieve this same result by wrapping the trunk of your tree in tin foil.

Placement of the Tree

Position the tree far from any tables or chairs where he might be able to leap into the air and land on the holiday classic decoration. We suggest putting it in a corner of a room. The less access he has to all angles of the tree, the better. 

Use a hefty, sturdy base wherever you place it, and secure it to a wall with some wire to prevent it from being knocked over by your pets. This will prevent it from being easily dragged or pushed over. Plus, when a tree is in the corner, you can skip decorating the back of it! Win-win! 

Gate Off the Tree

Although utilizing a free-standing pet safety fence or a small pet training cage to help fend them off may seem like an extreme measure, it may be worthwhile if all other options have been exhausted. Of course, some cat owners have gone beyond with this and caged the entire tree. When the holiday season is gone, wooden pet gates and fences can be utilized to keep pets out of other areas because they don’t appear as harsh as metal ones.

Celebrate! 

You’ve taken all reasonable precautions to keep the tree safe for your cat and to ensure its security. No matter what you do, some cats will jump onto the tree, so as long as you’ve made it safe, it’s best to accept this and go with the flow. Make this Christmas all about your cat and resolve not to waste this holiday season trying to outwit your feline companion. 

If your cat does climb the tree, you will be able to manage as long as the tree is securely fastened to prevent it from falling and the ornaments are securely fastened to the branches. And if it occurs, be prepared to snap images of your cat curled up in the limbs of the Christmas tree while grinning. Happy Holidays! 

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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