Cats and Christmas Trees: How to stay calm and keep them both

Fraser Firs have soft, dark green needles that NYC loves -- and so do the cats! Their strong, upward angled branches are perfect for hanging ornaments and for climbing. I mean, who can blame them. There’s a tree in the house! Of course, it was brought in for the cat. 

For us humans, the frustration is real. Our perfect Christmas tree has become a cat tower; broken ornaments and needles now litter the floor.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way! 

Cats & Christmas Trees

Cats & Christmas Trees

While cats and Christmas trees make some exceptionally funny youtube videos, we don’t want this to happen in your home. 

There are other reasons beyond the mess to keep your cat away from the Christmas tree. The tree needles can upset your pet’s stomach, and the fir’s oils can lead to excessive vomiting and drooling. 

The more the cat is up in the tree, the more the needles drop, and the pets will have access to eat them. Not all cats are attracted to tree needles, but it’s even more important to keep them away if your’s tends to. Tree needles are considered mildly toxic to animals. 

From your cat’s perspective, a live tree in the house is more than a gorgeous cat tower. It also comes complete with a built-in water bowl. The Tree Life Extension Solution that you add to the water is not meant for pet consumption, and neither is the sap from the tree. Both can lead to stomach irritation. Keeping your cat away from the Christmas tree is for their safety and your sanity! 

Switching to a fake Christmas tree isn’t the solution (and we aren’t just saying that because we’re in the Christmas tree business ☺️ ). The fake needles are also bad for your furball and can cause vomiting and even puncture their stomachs when ingested. Then there are the decorations to take into consideration. Broken glass, electric cords, and tinsel all present their own dangers. 

How to keep your cat out of your Christmas Tree

The good news is that just having cats does not mean you have to give up the delicious smell and beauty of a Fraser Fir. There are steps you can take to cat-proof your tree this year.

Let’s work our way from the outside in and the bottom up to remove the temptation as much as possible:


Be strategic in where you place your tree. You protect it from heat sources, such as fireplaces and vents, in order to keep it healthier longer and prevent fire. 

Be just as strategic when protecting it from cat-tastrophes. Make sure it is not near furniture or a windowsill that gives the cat easy jumping access. 

Arrange the room to remove as much access as possible. Don’t place it in your cat’s favorite sunning or napping area. This only sends the message that the tree really is a gift just for them.

Leave plenty of room around the tree that makes jumping difficult or near impossible. 


Spray the tree’s base and the perimeter (follow the outside edges of the tree skirt) with an anti-cat spray. 

You can make your own DIY Repellent Spray. Cats avoid smells like citrus, citronella, garlic, black pepper, and vinegar. 

Make sure you make a spray that doesn’t upset your senses. We aren’t looking to keep the humans away too or mask the beautiful smell of the Frasier fir.    


Start with a secure base so that if your cats do breach the tree, it stands a better chance of remaining upright. When shopping for a base look for a stand that is made with heavy plastic material and has metal bolts. These provide great support.

Another way to secure the tree is to use a rope. Tie the rope about halfway up the trunk and then anchor it by tying the other end to a nearby support.


Make sure your cat’s water dish is always full. This will help remove the need to look for a drink elsewhere. To further remove the temptation, cover the tree’s water source with the tree skirt.. Out of sight is out of mind.  


Leave the tree up for a few days before decorating it, and keep a spray bottle with water nearby. Then, every time the cat gets within the perimeter, give her a light spray. She’s smart and will catch on quickly.

Before you add the decorations, give the tree a once-over with that DIY cat repellent you made, or add a few dried orange peels to the tree as decorations. Cats hate the smell! You can also decorate the floor around the tree with pinecones; they don’t like the feel on their feet. 

Avoid decorations that look like their toys! I mean, seriously, tiny fabric mice or dangling tinsel? That’s just mean. 

Opt for non-breakable ornaments so that if the cat does break through your defenses, the collateral damage won’t involve shattered glass. It makes for a much simpler clean-up and has less risk of injury for you and the cat. 

If you must decorate with the fancy breakables, hang them higher on the tree, out of reach for swatting paws. You can also tie the ornaments to the tree branches to keep the cats from knocking them off the branches, or running off with a brand new toy.

Enjoy your cat-proof Christmas tree all season

Once you’ve done the work to keep your cat away from the Christmas tree, sit back and relax. Offer your furball a nice lap to sit in and enjoy the twinkling lights together.

Make us a part of your Christmas Tree tradition!

At Christmas Tree Brooklyn, we have everything you need to enjoy the holiday season, and we deliver for free throughout NYC: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. 

Pre-order your tree today.