6 reasons why cats like Christmas trees

There’s 6 reasons why domestic cats like Christmas trees and there might be more depending on what is under and around the tree.

Cat in Christmas tree
Cat in Christmas tree. Photo: @KTM12XU.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats


We all know by now that domestic cats like to move vertically as well as horizontally. They like to climb and technically I would say that they are “semi-arboreal”. This means that they like to be in trees but there are no trees inside their home unless you give them a really nice Christmas tree about 8 feet tall! Although a Christmas tree is much harder to climb than a normal tree because it’s cluttered up with decorations and the branches are too narrow. Nonetheless the occasional cat will try and climb one. The first reason why cats like Christmas trees is because they can go upwards when the urge takes them.


A Christmas tree is a new object inside the living room to be explored. There may be initial caution, lots of sniffing and investigating but if it looks like a safe, new object with which they can entertain themselves they’ll dive in. For indoor cats self-entertainment counts for quite a lot because one of the great barriers to stimulating an indoor cat is to inject newness into their lives and challenges. The second reason is that it is something new.


The base of the tree contains a space above which are branches and on the ground there are boxes containing presents and bits and pieces which when combined make a nice hiding or snoozing place. For the slightly timid cat this may be attractive but for any domestic cat it might appeal because cats like to change the place where they snooze. The only slight negative as a snoozing places is that it is on the ground. Domestic cats often prefer to snooze off the ground because it’s safer. The third reason is that it is a bolt hole.


Sometimes there’ll be lots of bits and pieces at the base of a Christmas tree like tinsel and the odd bauble that has fallen off. There is likely to be pine needles and perhaps bits of decoration and these are potentially dangerous. But these objects are nice toys of interest to the ever-inquisitive cat but, you know how they are, they like to put things in their mouths like babies and chew them. If the object is a bit of plastic or a sharp object, or string, this is potentially dangerous. Beware of string in particular. As a cat is drawn to this area the danger is enhanced, but the fourth reason is the toys.


This is an add-on to toys and it happens after the presents have been opened. There’s lots of wrapping paper lying around, nice and crinkly and crunchy and noisy. There’s nothing more that will excite a cat temporarily than large chunks of scrunched up paper in which they can lark around to their heart’s content. Balled up paper are homemade toys and this is the fifth reason.


There’s going to be lots of nice new smells under the Christmas tree and on it. This is because Christmas trees smell of pine trees if they are the genuine article. And the baubles and decorations often smell as well. Cats are fascinated with the scent of objects and the smell of something in the air. This will entertain them. Be cautious about devices which produce pleasant smells to humans because they can be dangerous to cats. The six reason is the nice new smells that a domestic cat will encounter at Christmas.

Christmas cat
Christmas cat. Photo in public domain.
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