How To Keep Your Cat Away From The Christmas Tree

If you are celebrating the holidays, you know just how wonderful - and hectic - they can be.

For some of you, it's even more hectic than it should be, because your cat has decided the Christmas tree is a new jungle gym!

Many of you have tried the "water bottle technique", which I personally never recommend to solve any cat behavior problem. I tell you why at the end of this article.

If you have a cat who won't stay away from the tree, I have three words for you.

Stinky, Stinky, Stinky!

There are plenty of smells that cats hate, and will stay away from.

Bitter apple spray is one such deterrant, which you can buy at your local pet store or online.

However, some cats are extra stubborn, or actually like the smell, so that doesn't always work.

Here is a list of smells that have been proven to keep cats away:

  • Orange peels - Most cats hate the smell of citrus. If you have a tree skirt, you can hide the orange peels underneath the skirt.

  • Scented dryer sheets - Hide near the base of the tree or in the lower limbs.

  • Any kind of strong smelling perfume or body spray. Spray near or on the tree.

  • Cayenne pepper - Don't use if you have small children who might eat it. also, make sure your cat doesn't like it FIRST so they don't end up eating it.

  • Some people suggest using Vicks - which is effective, but you want to make sure you put it in a place whereyou cat can't reach it, for safety purposes.

Before you waste time putting all these different smells on or around the tree, test them out on your cat to see which one it dislikes most. This way you can find out which smell will be the best deterrent. Get an orange peel or bottle of perfume, show it to your cat, and wait for a reaction.

If one thing doesn't work, try something else. I don't care how stubborn your cat is, there's at least one smell that will get your kitty running in the opposite direction!

Don't just use these stink bombs to keep kitties away from the tree, you can also keep your cat away from the garbage, laundry room, or anywhere else you don't want them to be.

Other tips:

  • Get the SSScat repellent. It has an electric sensor that detects motion when your cat passes by. As soon as the motion is detected, a loud alarm will sound and a quick spray of harmless compressed air shoots in the cat's direction to scare them. (You can also turn off the gas so it just makes the alarming sound. For some cats, this will be enough.) Learn more about it by clicking here.

  • If you have a tree skirt, get a few sink mats/bath mat/or carpet runner. (where the bottom of it has those little rubber knobbies that stick up) and put them under the tree skirt. That way when your cat walks on it, it's not comfortable on their feet.

  • Can you think of anything that your cat is afraid of? If it makes sense to put it near the tree, do that. For example, I have a talking Santa toy that my dog is terrified of. I can keep him away from pretty much anywhere, simply by putting the talking Santa there!

  • It's also a good idea to put the non-breakable ornaments on the bottom limbs of the tree. (great for homes with small children too).

  • Give your cat something else to play with to distract them. You can find tons of fun cat toys at this website.

Many of you have tried the "water bottle technique", which I personally never recommend to solve any cat behavior problem, because it causes your cat to associate YOU with the punishment. So as long as you aren't around, there's no punishment.

The best way to train a cat is by creating a situation where doing the bad behavior causes an unpleasant outcome (to your cat) WITHOUT them thinking you are the one causing it to be unpleasant.

Let's say your cat goes near the tree, and you yell and/or spray your cat with a water bottle. In your cat's mind, going near the tree when YOU are around is very unpleasant.

However, playing with the tree when you are NOT around is fun!

Think about the way nature teaches a cat/dog/mouse/etc. not to do a certain behavior. Let's use a rose bush as an example. When a cat jumps in a rosebush, it gets pricked with thorns. The cat then decides on it's own that the rose bush is not a fun place to be, and stays away from it in the future.

By having your cat associate the Christmas tree with an unpleasant outcome, your cat will decide on it's own to avoid the tree.

It's the same thing with almost every other bad behavior your cat does. That's why punishing your cat never works, because your cat associates you with the punishment - which means if you are not around, there's no punishment!

Unfortunately, cats are pretty darn smart like that. ;o)


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