How to cat-proof your Christmas tree for a happy cat Christmas

How to cat-proof your Christmas tree
You talkin to me?

Cat-proofing your tree is essential. Or, is it?

The tree is one big toy that is begging to be climbed. And, gifts are perfect cat scratching vessels.

But, with some planning, a happy cat Christmas can be merry for all involved. Instead of cat proofing, let’s consider ways to make Christmas cat-friendly. Read on to discover how to cat-proof your Christmas tree and have a very merry, cat-tree-safe, Christmas.

How to cat-proof your Christmas tree

  1. Cat-proof Christmas tree options
  2. Cat-proofing the traditional Christmas tree
  3. Cat friendly decorations
  4. Cat safety tips during Christmas
  5. Cat friendly wrapped gifts

Cat-proof Christmas tree options

Making a cat-proof Christmas tree is easy.

The tricky part is to create a cat-proof tree that fits in with the family’s Christmas décor.

Let’s talk about some alternatives that may fit in with your décor.

Decorate a ladder

Decorating a ladder results in the perfect Christmas tree and can be quite beautiful.

It will require fishing line or something equivalent to attach it to the wall because the cat might still climb it.

Let your imagination flow as there are many ways to decorate a ladder. Remember to use plastic ornaments and no tinsel.

Put a Christmas tree on the wall

Putting a Christmas tree on the wall could fit in well with your décor if you happen to have a free wall.

Once again, you are only constrained by your imagination.

Paint a tree on the wall

Paint a tree on the wall by first painting a portion of your wall with chalkboard paint, and then draw the tree with chalk.

This can be a lot of fun if you also allow friends, family, visitors to add Christmas messages during the festive season.

Take a picture after your happy cat Christmas and if you like the photo, use it for next year’s Christmas card.

Safely tucked away from destructive claws and perhaps little fingers as well.

Add triangular shelves to the wall

Add triangular shelves to the wall and then decorate the shelves. You can also fit some of the gifts on the shelves.

You may want to leave the shelves up year-round as bookshelves.

Use garland or twigs to make a tree

Using garland or twigs to make a tree is perfect as it is easy to stick to the wall, is light and inexpensive.

We are sure there is a lot of other material that will also make a beautiful tree.

Would love to see your pics of what you used.

Cat-proofing a traditional Christmas tree

Cat proofing a traditional tree is as easy as tying it up. Fishing line works well as it is difficult to see.

Tie the tree to the ceiling and at least two points of the wall if you want to ensure it will stay standing.

This will allow your cat to climb at will and not bring the entire tree down into a tangled mess.

Yes, we have been there.

If you are using a real tree, consider skipping the fir as the needles (if ingested) can cause your cat gastro irritation, and the oils produced by the fir tree can be irritating to the mouth and stomach.

Make sure you have a solid base for your tree. This will help to keep the tree upright if (when) kitty is climbing it.

Cover the water bowl with a tree skirt, so your cat is not tempted to drink the water.

There could be sap and/or pesticides leaching into the water resulting in a very sick kitty if the water is ingested.

Use foil and citrus scents to keep kitty away from the tree. Most (not all) don’t like citrus scents and don’t like the feel of foil.

You can even add lemon or orange peels around the base of the tree. Pine cones work well too.

In how to cat-proof your Christmas tree, we also take a look at other aspects of Christmas you should consider. Read on…

Cat-friendly decorations

Cat-friendly decorations take imagination but are better than using decorations that are not.

Those family heirlooms should not go on the tree even if you put them up high.

If the tree does come down for some unforeseen reason, it means the decorations have had further to fall.

Consider buying a tiny tree that can go high up on a shelf and adorn it with your family heirlooms and breakables.

Have no fear. Many options are kitty-friendly.

Plastic ornaments

Plastic ornaments are non-breakable which works well.

Balls do tend to draw the cat’s attention more as most kitties love to knock the ball out of the tree and roll it around the house and hunt it for hours.

So, ornaments that are not round are your best bet.

Wide ribbon

A wide ribbon offers endless possibilities. Pretty bows all over your tree or just wrap the ribbon through the branches.

Dried citrus fruit

Dried citrus fruit not only look and smell nice, but they are also cat deterrents.


Pinecones are the ultimate Christmasy decoration.

Stack them throughout the tree or add some ribbon and hang those cones. The lovely pine smell is a bonus.

Hanging lights

When hanging lights, try to place them as far into the tree as you can.

Kitty is much less likely to dangle off them, causing the entire string of lights to sag under kitty’s weight.

Remember to unplug lights when you are not able to supervise.

Felt ornaments

Felt ornaments offer endless possibilities. They are also fun to make.

You can even get the kids involved.

Safety tips for a happy cat Christmas

Do not leave lights on when unattended

If kitty does bring the tree down, you don’t want anything to short circuit, or even worse, you don’t want kitty to be electrocuted if he chews through the lighting wires.

Do not use tinsel

Tinsel, when ingested (which is easily done), can wrap around major organs or intestines, causing injury or death.

Tinsel is very dangerous for all animals and for small children.

Those little metal hooks

Those metal hooks, you know the ones that tend to come out of the Christmas box in a jumble.

Each of those little metal hooks is a choking hazard and should be avoided.

Plan ahead for a happy cat Christmas

Narrow ribbon

Narrow ribbon should be avoided for the same reason as tinsel. Ribbon can wrap around the intestines if ingested.

Breakable decorations

Breakable decorations, self-explanatory really, kitty knocks decoration out of the tree, it hits the floor and breaks, kitty jumps out of tree and lands on broken glass.

You’ve lost the decoration and you are off to the vet to get your cat’s paw stitched up.

Not a fun way to spend the holidays. Just ask your kitty.

Fake snow

Fake snow, If ingested, can cause poisoning.

Edible ornaments

Edible ornaments are a recipe for disaster unless you have specifically put them on the tree to be eaten.

We can’t mention edible ornaments without bringing attention to popcorn strings—so much fun to make, yet very dangerous when ingested.

Especially the string, as it needs to be quite narrow to string the popcorn in the first place.

Never a good idea.

Real candles

Real candles cause fires when knocked over. Cats knock candles over. Trees burn easily.

Do we need to mention real candles on or near a tree?

It never was a good idea, but it is really a bad idea when you add a cat into the family.

Toxic plants

Toxic plants tend to show up during the holiday season because many plants that are toxic to cats are holiday plants,

which is why we must discuss Christmas plants and flowers that are potentially poisonous to cats.


Lilies, especially those beautiful calla lilies, are one of the most dangerous plants for your cat.

Do not have them in your house. For whatever reason, some cats are drawn to them.

Ingesting this plant can cause arrhythmia and convulsions and will likely lead to death.


Poinsettia is at the top of the list for a very good reason. It’s very Christmassy.

Poinsettias are not toxic to cats unless they eat a large amount of the plant, but they can leave kitty quite ill.

The sap is irritating to the mouth and esophagus. The leaves, if ingested, will cause nausea and vomiting.  

If the plant has been treated with any kind of pesticide, this could also make kitty quite ill.

Pesticides, when ingested, can cause seizures to come or, in some cases, death.

Holly and Mistletoe

Holly is less likely to be eaten due to its prickliness, but the holly berry and mistletoe are more toxic than the poinsettia.

Once ingested, these plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, and in some instances, a severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and hallucinations.

Can you imagine anything worse than a cat that is hallucinating? Scary!

If a large enough amount of the plant is ingested, it can lead to death.

Even the dried plants are a risk.


Amaryllis is another form and lily and should be kept out of the house if you have a cat.

It is very toxic and should be kept out of the house if you have a cat.

Cat friendly wrapped gifts

Cat-friendly wrapped gifts are part of Christmas fun for the entire family.

Go ahead and use a lovely wide ribbon to wrap those scratching posts gifts, and add them under the tree.

Just remember that Christmas may come early for some people in the house.

Wrapped gifts can also become a hazard if they are adorned with small ornaments that may cause a choking hazard or a skinny ribbon.

You may notice in how to cat-proof your Christmas tree, that instead of just cat-proofing the tree we have decided to offer alternatives that help you to incorporate Christmas fun into your kitty’s life.

After all, your cat is an important part of the family and Christmas should be for the entire family.

We hope you agree.

Happy Cat Christmas

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