Skip to main content

Try these tips for keeping the cat out of the Christmas tree this year

'Tis the season for keeping the cat out of the Christmas tree

As the holidays approach, you’ll probably start decking your halls and home. This annual to-do probably means putting up the Christmas tree. You might put a lot of time and effort into finding the perfect location for the tree and picking out the best spots for each ornament, but your curious cat can undo all of that work in seconds if he decides to climb the tree.

We’ve all seen the videos that circulate each year of cats decimating Christmas trees, destroying ornaments, and potentially even hurting themselves in the process. Keeping the cat out of the Christmas tree can be a real challenge, but these tips can help keep both your tree and your kitty safe.

Cat batting at a Christmas ornament on a tree
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Put your tree in a secure room

One of the easiest and most foolproof ways to keep your tree safe from your cat is to put it in a room that you can close off and keep your cat out of. If you have doors in your living room, a den, or an enclosed office, you might want to consider putting the tree in that room and keeping the doors closed. When the family’s home and you’re spending time in the room, your cat can come in and join you, but when it’s time for bed, remove your cat from the room and close the doors.

You can sometimes create this same effect using pet gates. You’ll need multiple gates that you can stack up in the doorway to keep your cat out. This method may or may not work, depending on how ambitious your cat is.

If protecting a full-size tree from your cat is difficult, consider getting a smaller tree that’s only a foot or two high. You’ll still be able to decorate the tree for Christmas, but there won’t be much tree for your cat to climb. If the tree does fall, it won’t endanger your cat. If you decide to use a full-size tree, you’ll need to carefully plan how you can keep your cat safe.

Cat under the Christmas tree

Secure your tree to protect your fir and furry friend

If you suspect your tree will need to withstand attacks from your cat, then take extra measures to secure it so it stays upright. Invest in a broad, heavy base that stabilizes the tree from the bottom, then create multiple anchor points to secure the tree to the wall and the ceiling.

Putting your tree in the corner of the room can make this easier, since you can secure it to both walls with wire. You may be able to insert heavy-duty screw eyes into the corners or edges of your windowsills, then attach the wire to those screw eyes. This can help conceal the anchors a bit, and it means you won’t have to create holes in your wall. Alternatively, position the tree next to a stairwell, so you can anchor it to the banister.

Cat in a Christmas tree
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Carefully choose your ornaments

Choose ornaments that your playful cat won’t easily damage. Look for plastic bulbs, cloth ornaments, and other durable items.  To make the tree less tempting, consider not hanging ornaments on the bottom foot or so of the tree, so there are fewer fun-looking things to catch your cat’s attention. Have a playful kitten? Then maybe it’s best that those fragile, treasured ornaments stay packed away this year.

Make sure to avoid anything that could be toxic or harmful to your cat. Spray snow isn’t a good idea, and avoid tinsel, which can cause intestinal blockages if your cat swallows it. Sweep up pine needles frequently so your cat isn’t tempted to chew on them.

Cat lying underneath a Christmas tree
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Always supervise your cat

Even with plenty of planning, it’s still important to closely supervise your cat. There are all sorts of dangers that come with the holidays, including your tree, decorations, and the extra food that’s present during parties. Planning ahead and making sure your cat can’t get access to many of these dangers is a good first step in helping to keep him safe, but it’s still important to be aware of what your cat is up to during the holidays. With some extra effort, you may be able to protect your Christmas tree from your cat so you can all enjoy it together without worrying about when it will come toppling over.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
How to cat-proof your balcony before the unthinkable happens
Tips to keep your kitty safe while on the balcony
Cat sitting on a sunny balcony railing

It's tempting to spend some time outside with your cat whenever the weather is nice, and taking your cat outside can give him a nice break from indoor-only life. If you love to spend time on your balcony, it's natural to consider letting your cat join you, but balconies can be dangerous for cats. In addition to the potential for a fall, balconies have several other risks that you might not be aware of. Understanding how to cat-proof a balcony can help you to make the space safer, so you and your cat can spend a little time outside together.

Will a cat jump off a balcony?
Balconies can be very dangerous for cats because of the possibility of "high-rise syndrome." Always Compassionate Veterinary Care explains that high-rise syndrome refers to the occurrence of cats falling out of high-rise buildings and needing veterinary treatment. The term originates when the Animal Medical Center in New York City treated more than 100 cats who fell out of high-rise windows. That occurred during just five months in the 1980s and highlights the fact that cats can and do fall out of high structures.

Read more
How to tell if your cat is a Maine Coon mix (and why you should care)
Should you consider a Maine Coon mix? Here's what you need to know
Closeup of a Maine Coon's face

There are plenty of big and fluffy cats out there, but one of the best-known breeds fitting this description is the Maine Coon. These cats are not only impressive in size, but they also tend to have fantastic personalities that make them beloved family pets. While purebred Maine Coons are a little more uncommon in rescues and shelters, it's possible to adopt a Maine Coon mix that still has some of the breed's distinctive characteristics.

While telling exactly which breeds your cat is can be a little tricky, it's worth doing some investigative work to better understand your feline's background and what that might mean for the care he needs during his life.
Where do Maine Coon cats come from?
You may have heard that the Maine Coon Cate originated from a fantastical cross between a feline and a raccoon. Of course, this didn't really happen, but it could be where they get the name. (Another option, from a ship's captain who brought the first of these kitties ashore.)

Read more
There’s a totally normal reason cats throw up after eating grass – here’s why
Learn about this cat behavior and if there's cause for concern
Calico cat lying on its back in a grassy yard

If your cat throws up after eating grass, there's probably no reason to be concerned. Eating grass is a natural behavior for most cats, and throwing up after eating that grass also is pretty common. There are physical reasons for why your cat throws up grass, and aside from dealing with the inconvenience of having to clean up cat vomit in the house, this behavior usually isn't a problem.

But excessive vomiting and unusual grass consumption can be a cause for concern. If your cat likes to munch grass, then it's best to familiarize yourself with what's normal and what might be a reason to worry.

Read more