How To Keep Your Cat Off Your Christmas Tree

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This topic contains 37 replies, has 31 voices, and was last updated by  Robcy 1 year, 10 months ago.

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    I swear folks this is a tried and true way to keep your kitties out of and off of your Christmas trees. It really works.

    Cats for the most part hate the smell of citrus. Take some oranges and place them on the lower branches of the tree and/or around the bottom. The more oranges the better. I have seen cats discouraged by only 2 oranges but some may need a little more. Since oranges are often a staple at Christmas you can also leave the peels out as well if you eat the orange. They dry up and don’t rot. You can use your own judgement on whether or not you want to put oranges higher. I guess if you have something like a chair or mantle next to the tree that could be used by a kitty to jump from then you may want to put them up higher as well.

    Happy orange holidays.


    What a great idea, PetPntr! Low tech and low cost!! If my kits start showing interest in our tree, I will follow your suggestion. 🙂



    You can also buy orange extract, just like vanilla or lemon extract. I generally use lemon extract mix with a little water to spritz on things (like ornaments, light chains, door stops, etc.) that I don’t want chewed on. The advantage to using extract is that the ants and other bugs aren’t attracted to the extract.



    I will try that idea next year…this year I think I will coat all the climbing things in orange…including my legs…lol



    I am so glad to know this because tree climbing was a definite problem for us last year.



    That is a great idea…I will try that with the big tree..this year we plan to get them a small tree of their own to destroy!!!



    That’s a great idea. I like the spritzer idea too. Neither kitties tree climb but they are ornament getters…Is there any ideas to keep a toddler off of a tree??? lol



    I always read & heard that kitties don’t like citrus. But, if that’s the case…why do they make citrus-scented cat litter doeorizer (powder)?

    As for the tree problem…give them their own tree…yeah right.



    This sounds like a yummy way to keep everyone happy! I love sweet juicy oranges! =)


    It works! I have used clementines for the past 2 years and have not had one incident of a cat going up the tree.



    LOL this topic reminds me of this website someone gave me the link to a couple years ago…



    haha sloopy! I remember seeing that last year or so and my mom loved it!

    We didn’t have any problems with Mylo and Panda O. climbing the tree last year, but I don’t want to know what Charlie’s going to do to it!

    I noticed, when we started getting real trees, they stopped playing with the branches. Do cats love real christmas trees so much that they would try to destroy the fake ones??

    We also don’t put garland or ornaments on the bottom half of the tree… it always looks funny, but it helps.



    While reading about the orange peel anti-tree-climbing device I scrolled down to and clicked on the that Sloopy posted. I just have to bump this!



    Thanks for bumping. I hadn’t read this before and I love that website. I remember seeing it a couple of years ago and I love that they continue to add to it. Some of those photographs are really priceless.



    I just looked at Sloopy’s post. What fun they had and what loving “parents” to put up with their fun. The grey/white kitty looks so much like Yogi, they could be twins. But at 17 pounds I hope Yogi won’t try to climb. His little brother Schatzi has been up it a couple times now, he is just amazed we would bring a tree in the house. The spray water bottle has taken up nearby residence (respect the spray, it hisses and makes your fur wet!) I am going to try the oranges before we start to decorate. Last year we didn’t put on anything but some garland and an angel on top, this year may be the same but maybe the oranges will work.



    My two girls, Kara and Karina, must be the exception to this rule, they love lemons!!! I guess we’ll have to use other techniques at my house. Funny thing is, with our previous 7 we’ve never had an issue with Christmas trees. Now, we’ll have to see if we can continue our luck with our newest babies, Romeo and Athena.



    TL although I have found that most cats hate lemon too, why don’t you try the oranges? Maybe they have something in them which Kara and Karina won’t like that the lemon scent doesn’t have.



    Thanks PETPNTR, but those two lovely ladies gave me no trouble at all for their first Christmas with us last year. May have to keep it mind for our newest additions, should they go for the tree.

    I really should get a video with how Kara and Karina go crazy with my fingers whenever I have any lemon scent on them (I have a lemon tree in my yard), it’s like catnip for them!



    thats soo cuttee@ sloopy….. hahah my cats could care less…they will sneak off with the oranges and deposit them in some special place like the catbox just to make u wonder!



    Great advice! My Reed has reached the top of the tree and well….it was pretty. Thank goodness we decided no ornaments this year. Or my poor mother’s great Hallmark collection would be gone! Then I am pretty sure Reed would be a goner as well. Therefore, we have an ugly plain green tree in our living room! lol. Thanks for the advice! Going to try it!



    Wow the spritzer idea is genius.. I might actually try that on the bathroom mats and see if it keeps Chuck from peeing on them.

    I’ll be getting a mini-tree this year. I’m going to rearrange a few things, and have the tree on top of my entertainment center.



    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: Something 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!



    These are all good ideas, Howler, thanks. George loves to slide across the living room floor on the tree skirt (“no silly cat, it’s not a magic carpet!”), and yesterday he broke an ornament(!), so I’d love to find a way to keep him away from it.

    On the other hand, when he’s worn himself out & is just lying under the tree he looks angelic (yeah, I know it’s an act 🙂 )


    Rubia in CA, 4/28

    WOW – what a great list of suggestions! I tried the oranges with cloves stuck in them on the lower branches. That kept Ozzie and Murphy out from under the tree, but Murphy still managed to reach above them to chew on the tree. So then I put out 3 motion detector spray cans around the bottom of the tree. Those are extremely effective at keeping the boys out from under, but again, Murphy was gaining higher access by sitting on an end table near the tree. Finally I placed a fourth spray on that end table, and that seems to have solved the problem. It is a shame really – I would love for the boys to just hang out under the tree. But as long as they keep on wanting to chew on it or the lights, that can’t happen. 🙁



    I feel the same way, Rubia. If they wouldn’t try to eat things I wouldn’t mind them hanging out there. But Leo is a chewer so we set up the Ssscat (after having it recommended here.) We are having great success with just one device (strategically placed.) Fingers are crossed that it keeps them safe all season.



    Is it weird that I made a spot just for my cats under the tree? There’s a “clubhouse” made of presents surrounding an extra blanket under my tree.



    I’ve tried lemons, limes, oranges… my kitten LICKS them, then she knocks them out of the tree and plays with them. Help!?



    My kitt luvs knocking off the shiny balls and attacking her reflection.



    You state that cats are deterred by peppermint oil. This is, in fact, the opposite of what’s true. Peppermint and catnip are both in the family Lamiaceae. In addition, peppermint oil is considered to be harmful to cats. I have found the same error on many sites. I have included links to pages that are relevant.


    Peppermint – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia –

    Nepeta cataria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Catnip) –

    ASPCA | Peppermint Oil –



    Thanks for the info & bumping this festive thread Thedude!

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