How to (Mostly) Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree

Every year around Christmastime, the internet is flooded with pictures and stories of cats terrorizing Christmas trees. I had cats growing up, and they simply loved climbing up into the branches of our trees. We had both fake and real trees over the years, and the cats loved both equally. The following is a guide of how to (mostly) cat proof your aluminum Christmas tree, but many of the notions can be applied to regular trees as well.

A fluffy grey cat sits under a green aluminum tree surrounded by presents. Text overlay reads "How to (mostly) Cat Proof Your Christmas Tree"

We began to put up all of our trees and once together, although without ornaments, Colonel Whiskers was very interested in the gleaming trees, and rubbed his face up against the branches, we knew we had to do something! Once we did the following, Colonel Whiskers has barely looked at the trees. We’ve only had one close call, when his tail hit a branch, and startled, he turned around to see the branch wavering slightly and he did bat at it, but I honestly think he did just because it was moving when he looked at it. I quickly picked up him and removed him from the area around the tree, and we’ve had no further issues. I should also note that Colonel Whiskers is a unique cat in that he doesn’t just go and play with anything and everything. Unlike some cats that will bat at anything, he is relatively chill and is actually fairly selective about what he plays with. So, just because this worked for us, doesn’t guarantee it will work for you and your cat. But I hope it does!

Elevate Tree

The first thing we did was we chose to elevate all of our trees. Patrick built three round platforms to place our trees on, which we then covered with fabric.

Fabric that covers the platform has been pulled back to reveal a round wooden base to elevate the tree.

Patrick built relatively short platforms for the green tree and the pink tree, and he built a much higher one for the silver tree.

We have vintage tree turners that hold our trees, so the fabric rests under the turners. If you use a regular aluminum tree stand you can place it on top of the platform and then use a traditional tree skirt or fabric to cover both the stand and the platform.

Remove Branches & Ornament Placement

In addition to elevating the trees we didn’t put in all of the branches on our trees along the bottom. This meant that the branches and ornaments were even higher.

We also decided not to place any ornaments along the bottom branches, and also placed some of the lower ornaments closer to the trunk of the tree to deter him from playing with them.

A close up of the trunk of the green aluminum tree showcasing empty branch holes.

Orange Scented Sachet Bags

In our research we found out that cats are deterred by citrus scents, so I made small orange scented bags.

On the left a bowl is filled with wood chips, next to it a bottle of orange essential oil, next to it an empty organza bag. Text reads: Cat Deterring Sachet Bags, Wood chips, Orange essential oil, Organza sachet bag, bowl

I purchased wood chips from Target, the kind you would use for barbecuing, and hand selected chips of good size and shape for the bags.

Next place a small handful of the chips into a bowl and drop some orange essential oil on the wood chips, then toss the chips like a salad, drop some more oil, and to try to get some essential oil on all of the chips. Then place the chips into the sachet bag.

A small organza sachet bag is filled with wood chips.

Repeat this several times, and place multiple bags around the base of the tree. It’s important to note that you may want to refresh the oil over the course of the holiday season, depending how early you decorate for Christmas.

Close-up of sachet bags filled with wood chips tucked near the base of the tree.

Faux Presents

To hide the sachet bags, and to create another line of defense for the trees, I decided to wrap up fake presents.

A fluffy grey cat sits under a green aluminum tree surrounded by presents.

A large pile of presents sit under a silver aluminum tree that has been elevated on a platform.

You can do this by wrapping boxes, or by purchasing hard, pre-designed gift boxes at stores like TJ Maxx or Michaels. I did a combination of both. I wrapped gifts for the silver and green trees, and then found darling pink and gold boxes at HomeGoods to place at the foot of the pink tree.

A pile of presents sit under a pink aluminum tree that has been elevated slightly off the ground.

To learn how to wrap presents really well, check out my post featuring a vintage wrapping guide!

I hope you find these tips helpful for you either this year and for years to come! If you do try it out, please let me know if it worked for you!

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