How to Keep a Cat out of a Christmas Tree

November 17, 2014 — 27 Comments

One of the most commonly known facts about cats is that they are drawn to Christmas trees like Mexicans to an American border. A decorated tree may be a symbol of the holidays to you and me, but ask any feline what they see, and they’ll tell you, “meow” (because they don’t speak English). Every holiday season, my cats swarm the Christmas tree, and by New Years Day, there are at least three dozen ornament casualties by the time I drag it back into the attic (the tree; not the cat).

This year, though, Christmas in my home will be festive, Goddamnit. I am determined to have a fully decorated tree in my living room between the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas day. The cats will not fuss with the dangling ornaments or get tangled in the Christmas lights. And how will I accomplish this? Allow me to share my master plan, a plan that will keep my cats out of the Christmas tree. 

Christmas 2009: Christmas 2009: “Fuck it. We’ll just not hang ornaments.”


christmas tree

One decorated Christmas tree

noise maker

One small, loud, motion-/sound-detecting Halloween decoration

white cat

One entitled heathen (i.e. cat)


1.  Erect Christmas tree in preferred location of your home. If you are re-using an artificial tree (as I do), be sure to vacuum the heavy coat of cat hair from the branches because you were too lazy to do it before you put it away last year.

2.  Decorate Christmas tree.  It is advised to play holiday music during this task. It’s hard to be disgruntled about the inability to display your beautiful, fragile glass ornaments when songs about Santa are playing in the background. Don’t dwell too much on how you didn’t bother decorating last year as this will only result in the cat wondering why your suddenly screaming at it for no reason.

3.  Secure the small, loud, motion/sound-sensing Halloween decoration near the base of the Christmas tree.

4.  Turn on small, loud, motion/sound-sensing Halloween decoration.

5.  Wait for heathen cat to trigger the Halloween decoration. As the unseasonal device viciously growls and shakes, it will scare the ever-loving shit out of your precious pussy. Your cat will run for shelter under the guest bed, and your tree will remain ornamented. I call it the Ghost of Christmas Stay-the-Fuck-Out-of-My-Tree.



This element of surprise may cause…

1. Heart palpitations from your significant other while he/she is watching a scary movie alone in the living room and discovers you rigged the tree because you forgot to tell him/her about it.

2. Ruined underwear while placing presents under the tree because you forgot that thing was there.

3. Inquiries about your sanity because you forgot to turn it off while hosting a holiday party.

However, the warnings listed above are worth it, because thanks to a carry-over decoration from Halloween, everybody will be able to have a merry Christmas.

Are you funny? Do you have a clever and/or hilarious cat-related How To article, comic, and/or story? If so, you can be published on The Reluctant Cat Owner’s Journal. Email your submission to If approved and published, you will win the admiration of the tens to twenties of readers of this website. I look forward to reading and sharing your stories.


27 responses to How to Keep a Cat out of a Christmas Tree


    My cat, Clyde the Destroyer, chewed through my oxygen line and ruined 4 of them in one week. A friend suggested rubbing hot pepper cream on the line, and bingo. It worked. I’m not sure how you can hot-pepper a Christmas tree, but there must be a way.
    I’ve had cats all my life, as well as two children for a long time, and I gave up glass ornaments lo-o-ng ago.

    Liked by 1 person


    Another option: Buy a shit ton of cucumbers and line up in a circle around the tree. If the Internets can be trusted, then your veggie faux moat will do the trick.

    Liked by 1 person


    The daily chore of putting the tree upright and stringing the lights over and over and over has taken it’s toll. I don’t even know where my ornaments are anymore, gave up on those long ago. That said, it’s very nice of you to give your kitties a nice toy, even if you do take it away in a month. Halloween scary thing will only work maybe….twice.. until it is ignored….

    Liked by 1 person


    I am going to see if this works with my demon dog, Duncan who is 1-1/2 years old. We normally keep our tree in the family room, but last year we put it in the living room where we spend no time, ever. I like your solution better. Plus it will dilute the damn Christmas music.

    Liked by 1 person


    The problem with scaring the ever-loving shit out of a cat is that they are not particular about where they squirt that ever-loving shit. And pale carpeting.

    Liked by 2 people


    Funny funny story. Mine just pee on the tree skirt. Have to put a garbage bag under it. Wonder if the scary Halloween decorations would work?

    Liked by 1 person


    Sadly, I do not think this would work for my heathens. I say this because two of my current ornaments (1997 Hallmark Darth Vader “The force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet.” and the 1992 Star Trek shuttlecraft ornament “Shuttlecraft to Enterprise, Shuttlecraft to Enterprise. Spock here. Happy Holidays. Live long and prosper.”) do NOTHING to deter them.

    In fact, the cats/Christmas tree tableau has been the source of many a fine blog post:

    I expect this year to be no different.

    Liked by 1 person


    What a funny and great Christmas manual for cat-owner-beginners. LOL I’ve tried everything from water to different sounds. What helped at the end was the vacuum cleaner. Whenever they got near the Christmas tree I got it. Finally they were scared enough just to not get anywhere near the chance of hearing the vacuum cleaner… *chuckle*

    Liked by 2 people


    I love it and I am still laughing. My mom gave up her Christmas tree all together after she tried just one holiday with Maxwelle Smarte and Morrie Amsterdam. She turned into the Grinch, just like that.

    Liked by 1 person


    I wonder if this will work with dogs as well? I’m sure it would with the little one, but he knows to stay away from the tree anyway. The larger male would probably pee on said halloween thingy…and the deaf one wouldn’t get it anyway. My tree is doomed. 😦

    Liked by 1 person


    I’ve no cats but I do have two children. We traditionally break at least one Christmas ornament each year. Well we certainly wouldn’t want to break tradition! Funny post, Cary!

    Liked by 2 people

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Letting Go Doesn’t Get Easier « The Reluctant Cat Owner's Journal - August 9, 2020

    […] Over time, her hobbies included chasing the red string, mimicking the sound of the squirrels she watched in the back yard, judging people, hiding from strangers, and telling you that she wants to be petted but walking away when you try to pet her. She was a finicky eater but ate well if you stayed and rested your hand on her back. And she once inspired poetry about shit scissors and comedy gold about how to keep cats out of Christmas trees. […]


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