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How To Keep A Cat Out Of A Christmas Tree [updated x2]

See the updated post with some great new ideas.

Update 2: We have found out that our cats hate Canned Air.  You know, the stuff you clean your keyboards with.  We are using that on them whenever they get close to the tree and hopefully they’ll learn.  They are much better than in the past though.  

Update 1: We are trying a new spray to keep cats out of the Christmas tree. So far so good!

Anyone have any ideas how to keep a cat out of a Christmas tree? We have an artificial tree and the cat likes to climb up in it. We’ve tried tin foil at the base and I don’t think it works when she doesn’t have front claws. We’ve also tried coffee at the base as the strong smell should deter her, however it doesn’t. We need new ideas. I was thinking about bells inside might scare her? Or some sticky tape as I know she hates lint rollers. Also a temporary wall is on my mind. Any ideas?

28 Responses

  1. TwisterMc says:

    Thanks for the link! So far squirting her with water and yelling at the cat seems to work. However dryer sheets in the tree deter her too as she hates the smell.

  2. SEbasic says:

    I think you should just glue holy all over the tree…
    That way, wherever the cat tries to grab onto, it will hurt.
    That’s got to be a good deterrant.

    And don’t forget, holy still keeps up the whole shristmas theme.
    does the cat get stuck when it climbs up?

  3. stacy says:

    Try stringing jingle bells on a length og red ribbon. After you string it onto the bottom branches of the tree, it looks very pretty and because it’s all conected makes a racket when any of the bottom branches move. Good luck!

  4. mom says:

    We used a citrus room sray all around the bottom of the tree last year.not too bad, We are gonna try to use the new self timed ones this year.and put one on each side of the tree. We have 7 cats and wow what a job. they have a outside pen they go play in all the time (doggie door) but the tree is just so cool to them but very upseting for me. even took tie wire and wired it to the wall. Good luck to all.

  5. Sarah says:

    We just put out tree up a week ago and when my cat first seen it she wanted to go near it but i bought a water bottle and for about 3 days i had to spray her when she would get into now i think she know that i will do it if she goes near it so she runs up to it and looks at us and then runs away from it. So i would try that :0

  6. Thomas says:

    I wish it was that easy with our cats. They were playing no attention to our tree this year until the weekend we left and they knocked it over. 🙁 The water bottle helps get them away, but they think it’s a game. They try to get up the tree without getting wet. If they fail, they clean themselves off and try again.

  7. Patty says:

    I need help, i dont know if any of you will be able to help me, but my cat is weird. I have tried so many things to keep her away from the christmas tree but none work. i would try bags, but she likes them. and i tried like all the peper and citrus sents. and shes not scared of the water bottle. and the bitter apple stuff doesnt work either. is there anything that anyone else knows of that may help me.

  8. Thomas says:

    Yell at the cat? 🙂 Honestly, I don’t know. Our cats have gotten better, but they are still interested.

  9. Sharon says:

    My artifical tree is absolutely distroyed after1 time leaving the house and Ican’tseem to find anyof the suggestions to work so far so Ihope someone out there is smarter than my cat andcan come up with something that actually works because I’mabout to throwmy tree away and say NO MORE HOLIDAYS plzzzzzzz help

  10. Thomas says:

    Sharon – The best thing to do is find a smell, sound or other item that your cats hate. Then try and teach them by using that.

  11. Sharon says:

    Thank You Thomas….So far I have got tinfoil under my tree skirt, my cat walks by and looks at it and doesn’t know what to think of it and if he walks on it I can hear him. When I leave the house I put him in my bedroom so hopefully I will be able to keep the tree til the first of the year….It took me 3 days to fix my poor tree lol. Good luck to everyone on this crazy subject =)

  12. Thomas says:

    Another thing we did was tie the tree up. We got some Command Strips at Target and placed those on the wall by the tree and then used red yard to tie it up at the top. Now the tree is a bit more stable.

    I’m sure fishing wire would be more transparent, but our yarn isn’t to bad.

    Plus the Command Strips come off clean so no permanent marks on the wall.

  13. Sky says:

    I have a four month old kitten who would not stay out of the tree and almost hung herself twice in one day. The tree is now outside the window looking in. I have a table by the window and have put presents on it. Kitty happy…

    • Aaron Martin says:

      I like that idea to put it outside a window. I might try putting my tree on my balcony.

  14. Rebecca says:

    I have 8 cats, not all of them go after the tree be the ones that do. Last night the tree fell twice. I’m debating on just giving up. No more christmas tree. I’ve tried: red pepper, citrus scents, water gun, bungee cording the tree to the wall. Please help

  15. Jenelle says:

    I just got a 7 month old kitten yesterday. And decided to put up my artificial tree the same night. Although, he hasn’t tried climbing up it (yet) he loves chewing on the branches. My sister told me to spray white vinegar on the tree and that sent him running the other way. Good Luck!!

  16. cindyanna says:

    i have a 8 mnths old cat.we put are christmas tree up last night.she was chewing on the branshes but have not yet try to climb up it.we needless to say when we went to bed she was up to know good.she climb up this time it was still my husband an i went to work thinking humm are we goin to walk in owr house an find tree on floor.sure it was.i pray her with water we have put some stuff down under the tree that didnt work ….someone Help.merry christmas to all

  17. Mollie says:

    I have two cats and one does not care about the tree but the 12.5 pounder cat does. This year we decided to build a wall od cardboard around the tree. It is removable so that when we go out or go to sleep we can put it in front and when we are home we just pick it up and put it in the spare room. Seems to be working

  18. Jarrett says:

    I have a 12 week old kitten and to keep the little trouble maker from climbing it I bought some bird netting at Lowe’s and used wire ties to attach it to the underside of the tree so the cat can not get up inside it. also keeps them out when your not home. I did not want to use any sprays because i dont want to have those smells all christmas and more importanly my cats love to sit under the tree and its a exciting thing for them to enjoy and I want them to be happy. I have also used the netting around a potted tree in my house to keep them from digging in the dirt.

  19. Kristen says:

    How Do I Keep My Cat Off the Christmas Tree?

    Okay, so throughout the year, you buy your kitten or cat climbing posts and shiny, dangling toys that they love to play with. Then comes Christmas time and you walk in with the biggest, shiniest play thing they’ve ever seen, with not just one, but tons of dangling strings and balls just for them! Combine your cats love for climbing trees with all the new toys hanging from it and you’ve got yourself one excited kitten and one serious problem!

    Cats knocking down and destroying your beautiful Christmas tree is not a new problem. Cat owners have tried everything from tying the tree to the wall, using artificial trees (if your cat’s like mine, this makes no difference!), spraying the cat with a water bottle, or using Bitter Apple Spray.

    Well, I would immediately disregard the water bottle trick when it involves electric Christmas lights! Bitter Apple works for some, but wears off quickly and must be frequently re-applied with the lights unplugged. Some pet owners have stated their cats actually love the taste, while others claim it works for the cat, but the dog loves it! Lastly, Bitter Apple works as a taste deterrent. If your cat is already tasting the tree, isn’t it too late already!?
    Don’t be discouraged. There is a solution available that is completely safe for children and pets and has worked for years for our customers. Keep Away works differently by using smell as the deterrent instead of taste. It produces a pleasant mint smell to us, but to cats and dogs it is the equivalent of us taking a deep sniff of horseradish! Keep Away stops them before they are swallowing the tinsel and knocking down all the ornaments, or chewing up your favorite shoes. Take a look at what users of Keep Away are saying…
    Keep Away Training Aid
    Dear folks at Keep Away,

    Just a short note to let you know how effective Keep Away is at keeping kittens off of furniture and other things you don’t want them on. It’s the only product we’ve found that, with one little spray, will deter their curiosity. We always keep a bottle handy and first thing in the morning we squirt a little on any furniture or items we don’t want them to play on. But the best thing is that your product is absolutely 100% effective at keeping the kittens off the Christmas tree. Over the years, we’ve had many ornaments broken and lights dragged off the Christmas tree by kittens, but once we started using Keep Away that’s no longer a problem. We recommend it to everyone with curious kittens (and puppies) in their homes.
    Laurie Dolan
    My husband and I have been feline fur baby lovers for approximately eight years. We now have 12 fur babies and have tried about a dozen different products on the market to stop these children from urinating on everything from beds, couches to glass sliding doors. Nothing has worked – several of them love to spray and we have gone as far as allowing our veterinarian to give them tranquilizers to change their behavior patterns (which did not work).

    About two months ago we tried a product called “Keep Away” – it has been our salvation – whatever surface we spray, or directly below the surface, stops them from spraying. The odor is very pleasant and this is the first product that has worked for us – I have brought the product to my veterinarian to pass on to other fur baby parents in the hopes that no one gives up on their children.

    Carol & Jay Schadoff

    To learn more or try a bottle of Keep Away today, visit
    All of our products are 100% guaranteed or your money back. Try it today and take 20% off your first order with promo code eb20off!

  20. Beth says:

    So i have 2 cats and a 1yr. old Lab! My tree is destined to be destroyed!!!!!!!! The dog however is only out when we are home, but he has snatched a few ornaments off and ate them already! The cats are free to roam, and they are declawed so im not sure that the foil will work….and if a cat doesnt like the smell of rotten apples i dont think i want my living rm smelling like them either. Both cats climb up it and flatten out branches to sleep!!! The female chews on the branches and even the light bulbs, the male tore open 3 gifts already and i cant find where he hid a peice to one of them!!!! Im completely out of ideas!!!!!!

  21. Kristen says:

    Try Earth’s Balance Keep Away. It’s guaranteed to work or your money back! It’s the only thing that ever worked for my own cat. He loves to destroy our Christmas Tree, even though we switched to a fake one.
    The odor is not strong and it is actually pleasant. Kind of like pine. It’s a Christmas-like smell that’s very faint. I do not notice it all anymore but my cat still hates it. He circles around the tree, but will not get close. It’s Hilarious!!

  22. dustin says:

    i tried the dryer sheet trick, insantly it worked. cats stay out of the tree! just had to use twist ties to hold them on. Cats were smart enough to pull them out!

  23. Howler says:

    I’ve been searching for an answer to this question an have found many. I will post them here.

    First the cheap ideas.
    1. Orange & Lemon Peals: Some cats don’t like the smell and will avoid areas that have them. String them up around the base of your tree or any spot that the cat has access to. Just remember that they need to be replaced frequently as they dry out and lose their smell.
    2. Pepper: Nasty stuff with the same idea as the peals. Just sprinkle is around like dust. But watch out, you may not like it either!
    3. Dryer Sheets: Tie them into your tree so they can’t be easily removed by the cats.
    4. Citrus House Hold Cleaners: Like the peals, it has that nasty fruit smell but can be sprayed on the tree instead of hung. It also needs to be replaced after a time. You can also soak some absorbent objects in these and hang them from the tree.
    5. Peppermint Oil: Just spray it around the base of the tree.
    (Note: do NOT spray your tree when it is plugged in, it is a fire hazard)
    6. Bitter Apple (or equivalent product): Spray it around the base of your tree. the idea is that it will make your tree smell, and more importantly, taste, bad. Note that some animals do not mind or even like the taste of Bitter Apple so it might not work for you. Also, this idea needs to be reapplied daily.
    7. (my personal favorite) Tabasco Sauce: Very strong smelling. One person who used it by vet recommendation and one of her cats threw up when it came over to investigate her applying it. One cat (the one who retched) avoided the tree completely, and the other may have ran under it, but he never climbed it afterwards and didn’t like to stay under it either. He always emerged quickly with a look of utter repulsion. It is also longer lasting than any of the other ideas. Just spread it over the lower branches of your tree (Not sure how a real tree would take this). The smell of Tabasco Sauce will linger for an hour or two but then it will fade and only be an annoyance to the cats.
    8. Aluminum Foil: Some cats may dislike walking on it. So wrap it around the base of your tree and out round the bottom like a tree skirt.
    9. Upside Down Carpet Mat: The rubber ones that have spines on the underside for traction. Placed upside down a cat may dislike walking on it.
    10. Bird Netting (other fence like product): Place it around the underside of the branches to prevent the cats from getting into the tree. Watch out that your cat may just jump over this barrier from the side of the tree (not sure how to prevent that except for some ugly extensions)
    11. Indoor Pet Pen: If you have one that isn’t climbable/jumpable and you don’t mind how ugly it is, you could fence your tree in. I don’t particularly indorse this idea.
    12. The Ever Common Squirt Gun: Simple, and yet not. Just squirt your cat with water every time they get in the tree or try to eat it. The problem with this idea is that they may learn to only do this bad behaviors when you’re not around or watching. To aid in this issue you could add bells to the bottom of your tree, not to deter the cat, but to warn you they are on it. (nightmares of bells chiming while you’re trying to sleep may ensue)
    13. Compressed Air: Some thing as the squirt bottle, but with canned air.

    There is all my cheap ideas, now for the more costly.
    14. Scat Mat: an electric mat that sends a safe amount of electric into anything that steps on it. Typically used to keep your cat off the counter, there is now a tree skirt shaped one.
    15. Motion Detection Sprays: When your cat walks too near this product it sends a spray of deterrent into kitties face. (not as evil as it sounds)
    16. Motion Detection Sirens: When your cat walks too near this product it lets off a siren that your cat will not like and send them scurrying away.

    That’s all I have. Hopefully they were a help. You may need to use more than one of these ideas, while others will be of no help for your cat. Feel free to experiment. Just remember that a good offense is a good defense. Have a sturdy tree stand or fake tree that isn’t liable to tip. Also, consider tying your tree to the ceiling and walls with guide wires if your cat tends to climb. Put sturdy plastic ornaments on the bottom of your tree while the more fragile or fun to play with stay near the top. Also, keep more ornaments near the top than near the bottom. Make sure to not use tinsel or slim ribbons on your tree and presents as they can be dangerous. They are all too tempting to eat, and once to the back of your cat’s throat, they cannot be hacked up but must be swallowed due to a cat’s anatomy.
    Happy Holidays and Great Decorating!

  24. chris says:

    Listen yall i cought both my cats in the tree i took one out flicked her three times in the nose hard flicks thenrepeated whit the other SOB that was november neither one of them have gone near the tree since youjust need to show them whos the boss “GOOD LUCK ALL” and. “MERRY CHRISTMAS”

  25. Michelle says:

    Anyone else just want to flick Chris in the nose three times??? Three hard flicks?

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