Tricks To Help Keep Your Cat Out Of Your Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree, placed strategically in the most inviting space of your home, can transform a space. The place the tree occupies often becomes one you'd congregate at as a family at the end of a long day. And while for you the tree signifies tradition and festivity, for your feline family member, a Christmas tree is not unlike all the other trees she is hardwired to climb since time immemorial, says cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy.

There might be a number of false things everyone believes about cats, but the facts they like to climb and that they're attracted to shiny, dangly objects are totally true. Unfortunately, a Christmas tree becomes a challenge for those reasons and more.

The good news is that you don't have to completely miss out on this important part of the seasonal celebration, per The Purring Journal. You just have to learn a few tips and tricks to help keep your cat out of your Christmas tree. That way, you get to enjoy the tree without putting either your tree, your home, or your cat in danger. 

The first trick is related to the tree and its positioning

The first thing to consider is the type of tree you want to bring into your home, per Daily Paws. Pine needles that fall from natural trees, if ingested, can cause serious problems with digestion for your cat, and the water that collects in the tree stand, filled with toxic fertilizer remnants, can be hazardous too, per Blue Cross. An artificial tree might be a safer option according to Treehugger, especially if you're unable to sweep off pine needles or closely monitor your cat's whereabouts. Or, you could choose a smaller natural tree that you can keep away on a table. 

Spraying your tree with "cat deterrent" solutions is a good next step, per The Purring Journal. You can easily purchase one at the store or try homemade solutions. Cats are not the biggest fans of citrus smells. Cat expert Jackson Galaxy suggests keeping your feline friends away simply by filling a ziplock bag with lemon or orange rind, jabbing holes in the bag, and placing the bag under your tree. You can protect the base of the tree by pasting aluminum foil on the ground or using pine cones (or stones), reports The Purring Journal. 

If you watch your cat closely enough, you know that he or she usually launches off surfaces to get to someplace higher, so moving away such furniture from around your Christmas tree might be best.

Keeping cats away from the Christmas ornaments

Before you start decorating, secure the tree with some kind of rope to the wall, and consider setting up a fence of sorts around the base, per Daily Paws. These are useful Christmas tree safety tips for parents and pet owners alike. When it comes to the actual ornaments, steer clear of tinsel, poisonous plants like holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias, and maybe even electrically powered lights (via Blue Cross). Cats, like dogs, chew on things, so an added safety measure with any kind of lights is to make sure you have tubes around the wires, according to Country Living.  

The positioning of your decorations matters too, according to The Purring Journal. You can either place all the swinging (and therefore attractive to your cat) ornaments at a higher elevation or fasten them more tightly to the branches, per Blue Cross. Be mindful of sweets on the Christmas tree too. Sugar isn't the best for your cat's digestive system. 

Jackson Galaxy, the host of "My Cat from Hell," shares another useful trick he picked up from a fellow cat lover, which is to have a "Catmass tree." Dedicating a space in your home for your cats during the festive season that has cat-friendly toys and treats is a good way to make them feel like they're an integral part of the celebrations.