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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Christmas is the feast of love, of reunion, of traditions and of a quiet, contemplative time. Quiet and contemplative but only if you don’t have a four-legged roommate at home who has literally declared war on domestic christmas decorations. Above all, the impressively decorated christmas tree is the focus of many cats’ desires. But the tree can be more dangerous for cats, as some might think. 

Danger source cat and christmas tree    

One thing first, not every cat is out of control at the sight of a decorated christmas tree. If your at sees a Christmas tree for the first time this year, you have to wait and see, he might not be interested in the “indoor forest”. If more attention is paid to the tree than you would like, you should know the following things:

  • The essential oils of some conifers are toxic to cats. Nibbling on needles and twigs, licking the tree resin, and drinking the water in the tree stand can irritate the stomach and even lead to symptoms of poisoning.
  • Other typical christmas plants are also poisonous to our pets, such as christmas star, holly and mistletoe. 
  • For some cats, the christmas tree resembles a scratching tree. Especially big trees can cause damage if they fall down.
  • The christmas tree decoration can become another problem. Especially tinsel, angel hair and snow spray pose enormous medical dangers when swallowed, such as the risk of intestinal obstruction. Jewelry made of fragile materials such as glass balls can cause cuts. The danger of swallowing various small parts is also given. Chocolate umbrellas and co could be eaten with preference. Not only that these snacks are not species-appropriate at all, cocoa for example contains theobromine, which is toxic for cats. 
  • Especially open fire has a special charm on us humans. However, real candles on the tree in combination with a cat that loves to play and climb can end in a catastrophe.  
  • Power cables of the light chains could be gnawed on and electrify your darling, or there is the danger of strangulation. 
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Cat-safe christmas tree

As you can see, the traditional christmas tree can be quite dangerous for your beloved cat. The good news, however, is that you don’t have to give up this custom altogether if you consider the following things:  

  • An artificial tree would eliminate the danger of poisoning by tree needles and the like. Nice side effect: You can reuse it for the coming years and no real tree has to be felled for it.
  • However, if you do not want to do without a real tree, a smaller tree would be more advisable. Also, blue spruce trees are preferable to the usual nordmann firs, as they sting more and keep your cat away. If it falls down the danger of injury for the cat is lower and your home is less devastated. The water container under the christmas tree should always be covered.
  • Whether real or artificial, the tree should be well secured. A stable and heavy tree stand prevents the tree from swaying easily.
  • If possible, the tree should not be set up near the scratching post, because otherwise there could be a danger of confusion with your darling. In general, the tree should rather be free standing, so that surrounding furniture could not be used as a climbing aid. 
  • If your premises allow it, it would be best to place the tree in a room that is generally inaccessible to the cat. Alternatively, your cat should only be allowed near the tree under supervision.

Cat friendly tree ornaments

As mentioned above, the tree hanging can also pose a risk. But also here there are several cat-friendly alternatives:  

  • Jewelry made of fragile glass or similar should best be replaced by hangings made of natural materials (straw jewelry, fir cones…). Jewelry made of plastic is of course also possible, but because of the environmental friendliness it should also be considered.
  • Everything that sparkles and shines has a greater attraction to our darlings. Matt balls and co prove themselves better here. 
  • Do without tinsel and angel hair. A good alternative would be pearl necklaces. However, many cats find hanging jewelry generally more fun to play with than smaller tree hangings.
  • Open fire, like candles on the tree, should be omitted. Light chains are a good alternative, but they should be well secured, or unplugged when not in use. Small battery operated LED- lights are the safest. 
  • Do without chocolate and co. Our little sweet tooths are unnecessarily tempted. For example, you can use nuts in shell or artificial fruits. 

Here’s how you can keep your cat away from the christmas tree

It would be best to place the tree out of reach of the cat. If this is not possible you can try the following tricks: 

  • Put aluminum foil under the Christmas tree. Many cats do not like the crackling under their paws.
  • Citronella scent is not necessarily christmassy, but most cats avoid it. So you can spray your tree a little bit with it.
  • Distract! Provide your cat with enough toys and make sure he doesn’t get bored. This way she will have less of an idea to go to the tree.
  • Tree in prison. If the christmas tree is unattended, you can put it behind grids so that your cats cannot get at it.
  • Last but not least, the unconventional way of hanging the tree on the ceiling should not go unmentioned. Correctly read. Just screw a hook into the ceiling and fix a rather smaller tree to it. Now your tree hangs upside down, but it can be decorated just as nicely and your cat can’t reach it (as long as there is no furniture nearby to help him climb).  


Who does not know them, the funny videos on the Internet in which cats have declared war on the christmas tree. As funny as it can be, some people unfortunately forget that the christmas tree has many pitfalls for our beloved cats. Fortunately, there are cat-safe alternatives to the classic christmas tree to make your feast perfect. Merry Christmas!