Why Do Cats Climb Christmas Trees?

When cats climb Christmas trees, they're not trying to be annoying. It's just so much fun!
Why do cats climb Christmas trees, Thomasina? My kittens have knocked ours over three times!
-- Annoyed Cat Mom

Hey, Cat Mom!
Sorry your little guys keep knocking over the Christmas tree. I can see where that would be annoying. Personally, I don't understand why cats climb Christmas trees. They're so prickly, and needles get stuck in our fur. Talk about annoying!

To explain why cats climb Christmas trees, we don't really look at things as "yours" and "ours." We think anything that isn't being used at the moment is ours until we get bored with it or someone else comes along and wants it. So if your kittens see that you're not using the Christmas tree, they thinks it's theirs to nap under and climb.


How To Keep Cats Out Of Christmas Trees



I always feel a bit guilty telling people how to keep cats from doing things they like. But here are some things to do when cats climb Christmas trees.


  • Put a curved scat mat around the tree. Your kittens won't like the tingling sensation underfoot when they walk on it and will stay away. 
  • Or try an electronic deterrent that makes a high-pitched noise that only your kittens can hear. It won't bother you, but they'll hate the sound and will stay far from the tree.
  • You could put pine cones under the tree, too. They'll look pretty, but your cats won't like walking on them. 
  • This is my favorite idea. Get them their own little tree to climb. They'd love that! It doesn't have to be a Christmas tree. Any tree in a huge pot that won't fall over would work. Put it near your tree and hang some dangly cat-safe ornaments on it to make it even more fun than the tree that belongs to you.
  • While it might be too late for this year, you can keep your cats from knocking the tree over by securing it to the wall or ceiling with an eye bolt and some fishing line or wire. Or look for a big, stable stand so your tree won't fall over, even if your cats climb it. And consider getting an artificial tree. Artificial trees are less appealing to cats than real ones are. I know this from personal experience. I tried to climb one once and didn't get very far!
Our human and I wrote a whole article on cats and Christmas. You might want to check it out. It's pretty good, if I do say so myself!

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