By Annie Franklin

Cats and Christmas trees can be an impossible combination.  Cats love to climb, they are attracted to things that shine and love to pounce on anything that dangles.  With a bit of forethought it is possible to have both a Christmas tree and a cat at least minimize the potential for damage. 

These six tips should help stop your cat from attacking your Christmas tree.

1. Strategically position the tree
Make sure your tree is in a secure position and the stand is stable.  If you place the tree in a corner it’s less likely to get knocked over.  The same applies if it’s far away from tables, chairs or anywhere high enough for your cat to use as a launch pad.  Smaller trees are also less likely to topple over.

2. Distraction
Place cat goodies like a scratching post or cat tower in the room.  Add kitty gifts containing catnip to keep your cat interested in that part of the room, rather than in the Christmas tree.  Any time your cat looks like they are going to head for the tree, distract them with a jingling bell or squeaky toy to divert them.  It’s also a good idea to make sure that no cat toys or treats are left under the Christmas tree.  If you have a gift for your cat, especially something that it might be able to smell, don’t leave it under the tree or you may be inviting trouble.

3. Scent the tree
Cats tend not to like citrus scents so giving the branches an essential oil spritz before decoration may help keep kitty away.  Other suggestions include a vinegar spritz or scattering citrus peel around the base.

4. Secure the Christmas lights
Twinkling lights are a magnet for cats, so if you must have them, make sure they are secure.  Wrap them closer to the trunk rather than have them dangling in a reachable position.  You could also tape the wire down or use a sturdy cable tie for any slack.

5. Avoid tinsel and glass ornaments
Some decorations will be too tempting for your kitty, and dangerous.  Glass baubles, glitter, decorations that attach with wire and tinsel all fall into this category.  Broken ornaments, wire and tinsel could cause serious damage if ingested.  Think about more natural ornaments made from wood and tied with string, or paper, felt and silk decoration alternatives.

6. Double-sided sticky tape and aluminum foil
Cats don’t like the feel of anything sticky on their paws, so a layer of double-sided tape around the base of the tree should stop most cats from trying to climb it.  This isn’t fool proof, as some cats will jump over the tape, but in combination with the other suggestions it may work to ward off your cat.  Aluminum foil works on a similar principle – cats tend not to like the feel of it under their paws.

It may not be possible to completely deter a determined kitty.  But these tips should at least help to make your Christmas tree less likely to be trashed by your cat.


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