Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, why is my cat so obsessed with thee?

Well, it's for a few reasons...

Perhaps the most obvious being the fact that it’s new to them and their environment. And not only is the tree itself new, but it also brings with it new scents, new textures, and new nooks and crannies to explore. OH WHAT FUN! For the cats, not so much the humans...

Ginger cat sitting under Christmas tree looking at toys and lights at home.

Why the Christmas Tree?

Another reason your cat may be interested in your big, beautiful Christmas tree is because… well, it’s a big ol’ tree. Instinctually, cats seek out higher vantage points in which to sleep or relax because it increases their feelings of safety. Hence, the desire to spastically race up your Christmas tree. But the fun doesn’t stop there, no no no. Chances are, if your cat is interested and willing to ascend the heights of your tree, they’re likely also going to scratch the trunk, bat the branches, lick it, chew it, and so on.

Ginger cat sitting under Christmas tree looking at toys and lights at home.
Grey and white cat sitting on a couch with lighted Christmas tree in the background

It's not just the tree:

Which leads us to our final reason for why our cats are so obsessed with our Christmas trees: the ornaments – or in cat lingo – the toys!

A lot of traditional Christmas tree ornaments are round and shiny, like little toy balls, just begging to be batted down and chased around. Others may be noisy, dangly, sparkly, or a trifecta of all three! The important thing to remember here is this: if it’s an ornament to us, it’s a toy to them, so always buy plastic.

Start off on the right foot by making sure your tree is sturdy and secure so your cat won’t be able to shake things off or knock things over. Get a tree stand with a wide, stable base.

Try wrapping the base of your tree with aluminum foil. It’s an unpleasant sensation for many kitty paws, and they don’t love the crinkling sound. You can easily drape a thin tree skirt over the foil to pretty it up.

You can also get creative and use decorative garden stones. Cats don’t like feeling unstable when they walk.

Foil or other defenders might not dissuade your cat from exploring the tree. If that’s the case, you can try some deterrent spray on the tree, ornaments, and electrical cords. Be sure to use a spray made specifically for cats to avoid ingredients that may be irritating or dangerous to them. Instead of freely “spraying” the spray everywhere, saturate a rag and use that to wipe the spray where you need it.

Use cord protectors to keep cat teeth away from dangerous wires. This split corrugated tubing is inexpensive and comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Or you can use cat-safer battery-powered rope lighting.

little cute puppy sits in a gift box on red background


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