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Do orange peels keep cats away from christmas trees?

Do orange peels keep cats away from christmas trees?

August 14, 2023

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As the holiday season approaches, many households are getting ready to decorate their homes with festive ornaments and, of course, a beautiful Christmas tree. However, if you’re a cat owner, you may have experienced the frustration of finding your feline friend playing with or even climbing the tree. To avoid this scenario, some people claim that placing orange peels around the base of the tree can deter cats from approaching it. In this article, we will explore whether orange peels truly have a deterrent effect on cats and provide practical tips to keep your Christmas tree safe and your furry companion happy.

The Intricacies of Cats and Christmas Trees

Do orange peels keep cats away from christmas trees?

For centuries, cats have been known for their curious nature and playful demeanor. It’s no surprise that when presented with a tall, shiny object like a Christmas tree, they become irresistibly drawn to it. The combination of dangling ornaments, twinkling lights, and the opportunity to climb make the tree an enticing playground for our feline friends.

While some cats may simply bat at low-hanging ornaments or take a nap under the tree’s branches, others may go to greater lengths by climbing up the trunk or knocking down decorations. This behavior can be frustrating for owners who want to enjoy a beautifully decorated tree without constant supervision.

The Myth of Orange Peels as a Deterrent

One popular notion that has circulated among cat owners is that orange peels can keep cats away from Christmas trees. The theory behind this idea is that cats dislike the smell of citrus fruits and will avoid areas where they detect it.

However, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim. While it’s true that some cats may be put off by strong scents such as citrus, individual preferences can vary greatly among felines. Some cats may be completely unfazed by the smell of oranges, while others may find it intriguing or even enjoyable. Therefore, relying solely on the presence of orange peels to deter cats from your Christmas tree may not yield consistent results.

Understanding Cat Behavior

Before we explore alternative methods to keep cats away from Christmas trees, it’s important to understand their behavior and motivations. By doing so, we can devise strategies that address their natural instincts and provide them with appropriate alternatives for play and exploration.

Natural Climbers

Cats are agile creatures with a natural inclination to climb. In the wild, they would scale trees to gain a better vantage point or escape potential predators. This instinct remains strong in domesticated cats, making Christmas trees an irresistible challenge.

To satisfy this climbing instinct, consider providing your cat with alternative vertical spaces such as cat trees or shelves. These dedicated climbing areas can divert their attention away from the Christmas tree and provide a safe and enjoyable environment for them.

Hunting Instincts

Cats are born hunters, and the sight of shiny ornaments hanging from a tree can trigger their predatory instincts. To prevent your cat from seeing the Christmas tree as a hunting ground, avoid using tinsel or small ornaments that could be easily swatted or ingested.

Instead, opt for larger, more secure decorations that are less likely to fall off when swatted by curious paws. Additionally, consider using lightweight plastic ornaments instead of fragile glass ones to minimize the risk of breakage if your cat decides to investigate further.

Tips for Keeping Cats Away from Christmas Trees

While orange peels may not be a foolproof method for deterring cats from your Christmas tree, there are several other strategies you can employ to create a harmonious environment for both your cat and your holiday decorations.

Tree Placement

Consider the placement of your Christmas tree within your home. Cats are less likely to be tempted by a tree that is tucked away in a corner or positioned in a room with limited access. Placing the tree on a sturdy table or using a tree skirt can also make it more difficult for cats to reach the branches.

Secure the Tree

Ensure that your Christmas tree is securely anchored to prevent it from toppling over if your cat decides to climb it. Using a sturdy tree stand and securing the tree to a wall or ceiling with fishing line can help prevent accidents and keep both your cat and tree safe.


While orange peels may not be universally effective, there are other scents that cats generally find unpleasant. Consider using natural deterrents such as citrus-scented sprays or essential oils around the base of the tree. However, it’s important to remember that each cat is unique, so what may work for one may not work for another.

Additionally, some cats may be deterred by the sound of crinkling aluminum foil or the sensation of walking on sticky surfaces. Placing foil or double-sided tape around the base of the tree can discourage cats from venturing too close.

Create Distractions

To redirect your cat’s attention away from the Christmas tree, provide them with alternative sources of entertainment. Interactive toys, treat puzzles, and scratching posts can keep them engaged and occupied, reducing their interest in climbing or playing with the tree.


While orange peels may not have a guaranteed deterrent effect on cats and their affinity for Christmas trees, understanding feline behavior and employing alternative strategies can help create a peaceful coexistence between your festive decorations and your furry friend.

By providing appropriate outlets for climbing, satisfying their hunting instincts with safe decorations, and implementing deterrents or distractions, you can enjoy the holiday season without constantly worrying about your Christmas tree. Remember, each cat is unique, so be patient and experiment with different methods until you find what works best for your feline companion.

By taking these steps, you can create an environment that allows both you and your cat to enjoy the magic of the holiday season without any unwanted tree-related mishaps.

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