Cat Chewing On Artificial Christmas Tree?

Cats may chew on artificial Christmas trees due to curiosity, teething, attention seeking, or medical issues. The needles and branches can seem like toys to playful cats. Kittens also teethe by chewing things. Other times, cats chew to get their owner’s attention. In rarer cases, medical conditions like dental disease or nutritional deficiencies cause chewing. Owners should try redirecting the chewing to appropriate toys.

Cat Chewing On Artificial Christmas Tree? This scenario is common around the holidays. Cats are drawn to sparkling lights, dangling ornaments, and the tree itself as something new to explore. An artificial tree likely carries intriguing smells too. All these things can tempt a cat to play with, chew on, or even try climbing the Christmas tree.

Chewing on artificial Christmas trees is a behavior many cat owners deal with. The reasons behind it vary from boredom to illness. Most often, it results from a cat’s natural curiosity. The tree suddenly appears in their space with interesting sights, textures and perhaps scents.

Cat Chew On An Artificial Christmas Tree

Cats may chew on artificial Christmas trees out of curiosity or boredom. The tree likely smells and looks unfamiliar, so the cat wants to explore it. Chewing is a common way cats examine new objects. 

Additionally, the lights and ornaments resemble toys, which tempts the cat to play with the tree. However, chewing the tree poses dangers like intestinal blockage from eating fake pine needles. So it’s important to discourage this behavior.

Cat Hungry For Cat Food

It’s unlikely the cat thinks the artificial tree is food. The plastic pine needles and metal branches don’t resemble cat food in smell, texture, or appearance. Cats have a strong sense of smell and vision, so they can easily distinguish the tree from their regular diet.

More likely explanations are curiosity, teething needs, or mistaking decorations for toys. Still, ensure your cat has adequate access to their normal food and water to prevent unusual chewing behavior from hunger.

Tree Smell Like Cat Food To The Cat

No evidence suggests artificial trees smell like cat food. The tree is made of plastic and metal, which have distinctly non-food odors. And comments indicate the cat ate tree needles, not ornaments it may have confused with food. With their advanced sense of smell, cats can differentiate the artificial tree scent from their regular diet. It’s more plausible the cat chewed the tree from curiosity or a need to teethe.

Cat Teething And Needs To Chew On The Tree

Teething could motivate inappropriate chewing. Kittens teethe until around 6 months old and chewing alleviates sore gums. The unfamiliar tree seems like an ideal teething toy. However, the non-edible materials pose health hazards if swallowed1. Provide approved teething toys instead. For adult cats, boredom and curiosity better explain chewing an artificial tree. Ensure your cat has sufficient environmental enrichment.

Types Of Artificial Christmas Trees Appeal To Cats

Artificial Christmas trees with dangling ornaments, tinsel, lights, and realistic looking branch tips can all appeal to cats. Cats are naturally curious and attracted to movement and light, so trees with these features mimic things cats like to play with and explore. Trees that are flocked or have a texture resembling cat food may also attract cats.

Flocked Trees Resemble Cat Food To Cats

Yes, flocked artificial trees can resemble cat food to cats. The soft, fuzzy texture of a flocked tree can look and feel similar to some types of dry cat food. This texture and resemblance is intriguing and appealing to curious cats.

Lighted Trees Intriguing Like Cat Food To Cats

Twinkling lights on a Christmas tree can resemble the shimmer and movement of cat food bits to cats. Just like a bowl of food catches their eye, the flickering lights draw their attention. Their curiosity leads them to explore the lights up close.

Tinsel And Ornaments Look Like Cat Food

Shiny tinsel and ornaments can mimic the appearance of wet, meaty cat food. The dangling items swing enticingly like food morsels. To cats, they may look tasty and the tree becomes an irresistible structure to climb and explore.

Can Needles Or Branch Tips Look Like Cat Food?

On artificial trees, branch tips made from materials resembling cat food in color or texture can attract cats. Whether flocked or made of fabric, materials that look like kibble or have movement can tempt cats to bite or play with the branch ends.

Cat From Chewing The Christmas Tree

Cat From Chewing The Christmas Tree

There are several methods to deter cats from chewing on Christmas trees, such as spraying citrus or bitter apple spray on the tree, wrapping foil around the trunk, placing lemon peels around the base, providing alternative chew toys, using deterrent sounds like a can of coins, limiting access and interaction with the tree, and trimming lower branches. Consistency and providing enough mental stimulation are key.

Providing More Cat Food Prevent Chewing

Simply providing more cat food is unlikely to prevent destructive chewing behavior, as chewing is often caused by boredom, curiosity, or anxiety rather than hunger2. It’s better to provide interactive play, “play alone” toys, cat towers, scratching posts, and other mental stimulation.

Bitter Sprays Deter Interest In The Tree

Bitter apple and citrus sprays applied to the tree can help deter chewing, but test them first to prevent staining. However, effects may fade over time needing reapplication. Not all cats are deterred by bitter or citrus smells either.

Playing More Distract My Cat From The Tree

Boredom is a top reason for destructive chewing, so providing adequate interactive play sessions, “play alone” toys, and other mental stimulation can curb interest in the tree. However, some curiosity and chewing may still occur.

Close Off The Tree When Not Home

It can help to limit access to the tree when unattended, such as by closing doors or using baby gates. Some chewing may still occur when able to access it. Completely preventing access can also make the tree more intriguing. It’s ideal to cat-proof the tree as much as possible.

Signs My Cat May Be Ill From Ingesting The Tree

Signs that your cat may be ill from ingesting parts of the Christmas tree include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and lethargy. Specifically, ingesting pine needles can irritate a cat’s mouth and stomach leading to vomiting. Eating tree needles, ornaments, or tinsel can also cause intestinal blockages which could result in vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

Monitor your cat for signs of pain such as hunching over, unwillingness to play or jump, hostility when picked up, or hiding. Subtle behavior changes like these can indicate illness even if other symptoms are not present yet. Contact your vet if any concerning symptoms develop after your cat ingests part of the tree.

Will Eating Needles Cause Vomiting Or Diarrhea?

Yes, eating pine needles from Christmas trees can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach irritation in cats. Pine needles and fir tree oils contain compounds that can upset a cat’s gastrointestinal system if ingested.

Vomiting may occur shortly after ingestion as the irritating pine needles and oils pass through the digestive tract. Diarrhea may follow depending on the amount ingested and sensitivity of the individual cat.

Monitor your cat closely following pine needle ingestion and contact your vet if concerning symptoms last more than 24 hours or seem severe. Quick treatment can help resolve Christmas tree-related illness.

Can Tinsel And Ornaments Cause Intestinal Blockages?

Ingesting tinsel, small ornaments, or pieces of glass from broken bulbs can cause dangerous intestinal blockages. These foreign objects may get trapped in the intestines, obstructing digestion and causing a buildup of fluid and gas.

Signs of an intestinal blockage include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and bloating or distension of the abdomen. A blockage can also change litter box habits, for example straining to defecate without producing stool.

Any possibility of a blockage should be treated as an emergency. Contact your vet immediately if your cat ingests tinsel, ornaments, or glass and shows any concerning symptoms. Quick treatment greatly improves the chances of recovery.

Should I Look For Changes In Litterbox Habits?

Monitor your cat’s litter box habits carefully if they ingest any part of the Christmas tree. Constipation, diarrhea, straining to defecate, bloody stool, frequently visiting the box, or eliminating outside of the box can all indicate illness.

Specifically, intestinal blockages often cause constipation along with straining to pass stool or frequent trips to the litter box without results. Ingested pine needles can also cause stomach irritation that leads to diarrhea.

Any abnormal litter box habits following Christmas tree ingestion warrant a vet visit. Catching issues early greatly improves the chances of effective treatment and full recovery. Contact your vet promptly if you notice any concerning changes.

When Should I Call The Vet About Illness Signs?

Contact your vet promptly, within 24 hours, if your cat shows any signs of illness after ingesting part of the Christmas tree. Specifically, seek immediate emergency care if your cat exhibits vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, crying in pain, bloating, or abnormal litter box habits. 

Waiting longer than 24 hours with these symptoms risks dangerous progression of intestinal blockages or dehydration issues. For subtler symptoms like hiding, increased meowing, or minor changes in litter box habits, schedule a non-emergency vet visit within 48 hours. Still, do not wait if symptoms seem severe or quickly get worse. 

Cats are excellent at hiding illness, so trust your judgment and seek prompt veterinary care whenever something seems wrong after your cat ingests pieces of the Christmas tree. Catching issues early greatly improves chances of effective treatment.

How Can I Cat-Proof Future Christmas Trees?

I can cat-proof future Christmas trees by using a cat-proof tree skirt around the base to prevent access, choosing a smaller tabletop tree that is harder to climb, using deterrent sprays with citrus scents on the branches, wrapping the trunk in foil or double-sided sticky tape, placing orange peels around the base, and securing the tree to the wall with fishing line to prevent tipping. 

Cat-Safe Tree Skirt Help Deter Interest

Yes, a cat-safe tree skirt made of plastic, metal, or other solid material can help deter cat interest by preventing access underneath the tree branches. It blocks cats from climbing inside, chewing on the trunk, or accessing fallen ornaments. 

Are There Low-Light Trees Cats Ignore?

There is some evidence that cats may be less interested in Christmas trees decorated mainly with white lights rather than colorful lights. The brightness and color variation of multi-colored lights is more stimulating. A tree decorated only in white may draw less interest. 

Natural Trees Be Less Tempting Than Artificial Ones

Natural Christmas trees can actually be more tempting to cats than artificial trees because they have an appealing scent, dangling pine needles to play with, and a water reservoir at the base for drinking. Artificial trees are less interesting with their fake branches. 

Putting Citrus Scents On The Tree

Yes, spraying citrus-scented deterrents on the Christmas tree branches and pine needles can help repel curious cats. Cats dislike the strong citrusy smell. Options include orange essential oils, citrus room fresheners, or apple cider vinegar. 

Frequently Asked Question

Why Is My Cat Chewing On The Artificial Christmas Tree?

Cats may chew on artificial trees due to curiosity, boredom, attention-seeking behavior, or to ease gastrointestinal discomfort.

What Are Signs My Cat Ate Part Of The Artificial Christmas Tree?

Signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and abnormal litter box habits.

Can Tinsel And Ornament Hooks Cause Intestinal Blockages?

Yes, ingesting tinsel, ornament hooks, or other small decorations can obstruct the intestines.

Should I Take My Cat To The Vet If They Ate Part Of The Tree?

Yes, contact your vet promptly if your cat exhibits any signs of illness after ingesting part of the artificial tree.

How Can I Stop My Cat From Chewing On The Christmas Tree?

Deterrent sprays, double-sided tape on the tree stand, blocking access, and providing alternative activities can help stop cats from chewing trees.


Many cat owners struggle with cats chewing on and damaging artificial Christmas trees. There are several methods to try to deter this behavior, such as using citrus-scented sprays on the tree branches, wrapping the trunk in foil or double-sided tape, placing orange peels around the base, and providing alternative scratching posts and toys for the cat. 

Some cats may still be determined to chew, climb and damage the tempting artificial tree. The best solution for severe or persistent cat chewing on artificial Christmas trees may be avoiding artificial trees altogether. 

Cat-safe Christmas tree alternatives like wall-mounted trees, tabletop mini trees, felt trees, or other non-traditional options can allow cat owners to still enjoy holiday decorating without the hassle of constantly battling a troublesome cat. Removing the enticing artificial tree eliminates the cat temptation and chewing issue.

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