How Do Ragdoll Cats Act When You Put Up a Christmas Tree?

Rags by Christmas Tree Copyright Floppycats.comRagdoll Cats and Christmas Trees

When we asked Floppycats’ readers about their experiences with putting up Christmas trees in a house full of cats, we received various responses. Some owners find their cats indifferent to the whole thing, while others are in trouble when their cat decides to take residence inside the tree.

Some of our readers have cats that attack the tree, attempting to knock it over. Choose a sturdy base that does not move quickly.

One of the most significant issues with Christmas trees is the ornaments. Avoid going with glass ball ornaments that are shiny. These items resemble cat toys, and you may find your cat drawn to trying to knock them down or chew on them. Or make sure you put them high enough on the tree that the cat can’t bat them off.

Perhaps you’ll find that your cat treats the Christmas tree like a cat scratching tree. He may need help to tell the difference. Some sprays are available that, when used, make the surrounding area temporarily unpleasant to the cat. Otherwise, use your usual techniques for setting boundaries. You’ll also want to take it easy on the lights for the Christmas tree to avoid any problems, as some cat owners report that their pets like to chew on wires.

Opting for a fake tree may be safer if you’re a feline enthusiast to avoid your pet eating real pine needles or hurting himself on the sharp needles. Better safe than sorry! Remember to go for a smaller tree to diminish possible future damage if your pet decides the tree is suddenly the best cat toy ever.

My mom never had a problem with Rags, the Ragdoll cat I grew up with and the one photographed in this post. He never bothered the tree – just enjoyed sitting under it. Caymus and Murphy also enjoy sitting under it.

I have not had a problem with Charlie and Trigg bothering the trees I have had.

Let’s continue the discussion in the comments – what has been your experience with your kitties and Christmas trees?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Lisa Pittman says:

    This is our first Christmas with a ragdoll cat, and we erected our usual live tree in a sturdy stand, threw on some lights and decorated with a collected mix of handmade and purchased ornaments. My year-old Sawyer terrorizes the ornaments, resting on his haunches like a rabbit to snag ones higher off the tree. He has even launched himself from an armchair to gain a particularly enchanting bauble. He especially likes ornaments with feather or fur. He also enjoys yanking the tree skirt from around the tree base. I have not dared put wrapped packages with bows or trim under the tree given Sawyer’s taste for ribbons – no need for a holiday emergency vet visit. I am hoping that as Sawyer gets older, he’ll mellow but in the meantime, our tree looks pretty pathetic. I have had many other cats in the past, and none of them has shown a Christmas tree so much interest. Good thing I love the little rapscallion!

  2. I have 2 Ragdolls sisters, Ruth and Naomi. We put up a artificial tree every year.. My 2 girls have never tried to climb it but they do love to play on the tree skirt. We have a wood floor and they like to pounce on the skirt and slide.. they usually keep it all tangled until we put to many presents on it

    1. That sounds so cute and fun! We need a video! How old are the girls?

  3. We moved into a fix-up condo and the 1st Xmas I bought a 3-ft tree, stood it on a cardboard box, decorated it and surrounded the tree with a piece of gold lame. She went over, laid down under it on her back and just smiled as it that was the prettiest thing she had ever gotten and it was just for her. She was the love of my life. I guess it was just her size. I had her for 17+ years.

  4. My rag doll is terrified of the door bell runs and hides under the bed. Does anyone have any suggestions how to get him over this he is 1 1/2 years old

  5. Well, my 1-yr old twin Raggies were curious at first… they work as a pair of velociraptors plotting to to seek and destroy! The bottom half of my fake tree is dark this morning as one (or both) of them chewed through the wire last night. Luckily, not plugged in!! Gotta love Ragdolls! ❤️

  6. Lida Rice Waugh says:

    Our rag dolls love Christmas trees. They haven’t ever bothered them, artificial or real. I always hang non breakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree anyway, in case little children are around. Since I put stuffed animals under the tree, they just like to lie under it and hang out with them . The two I have left now are 15 1/2 years old.

    1. Oh, that’s sweet about putting the stuffed animals under the tree.

  7. I finally gave up on large trees of any kind.I would come home to find the tree on the floor, reduced to a large, pathetic, mangled cat toy.
    We now have an 8 year old Ragdoll and a 7 month old “black panther”. Just kidding! Our Ragdoll Molly, loves to check out our 4 foot tree sitting on it’s table. She knows not to get on the table. She likes to be near it when the lights are on and she likes to nose around amongst the bags and wrapped gifts I have placed under and around the table.I have the table draped in a dark burgundy silky sheet and our Christmas tree sits on this. Molly likes to go behind the table where there is a small opening for cords and hide and nap.
    But I have no idea how our 7month old kitten is going to behave!!!

  8. We have two Ragdolls, and they respond in very different ways. Annie (18 lbs.) is very calm, looks at the tree, and does not touch anything on the tree. She is very low key and I think enjoys the lights and the shine and sparkle, but just to watch from a distance. George (12 lbs.) is another matter altogether. You see, George LOVES to munch on anything plastic: dry cleaning bags, grocery bags, packaging, bottle tops, plastic ties, you name it… Does not matter if the plastic is exposed or not, he even works hard to open kitchen drawers to go after baggies. We have to be VERY careful to make sure there’s nothing lying around the house that has any plastic parts exposed or accessible. We’ve had a few harrowing experiences to know that we have to be more careful than if we had a very active toddler. Of course, icicles are now plastic so they’re a big no-no. Plastic ornaments, garlands, hangers, are all off limits. So if we have a tree, our tree will be decorated only with crystal and wood ornaments, ribbon, and will not have anything on it that is remotely related to plastic or cellophane. And we make sure that we turn the lights on only when someone is present, and shut the door to the room where the tree is when we are not home. This year we’re thinking of having couple of small tabletop trees instead of one large. Artificial trees, of course, are out, too…

    1. I wonder what it is? I have a Ragdoll that is obsessed with plastic.

    2. What is it about plastic??? My two are not quote as bad as yours but they love bags, the plastic wrap on a case of bottled water or a case of TP. And packing tape! I think they put chicken in the adhesive on that stuff! I was afraid they were missing something in their diet but two Vets said they were fine. They act healthy and look beautiful. Glad to know mine are not the only ones.

  9. Rex Powell says:

    Hi Jenny and Merry Christmas!! I have Had trouble with my two cats trying to climb the tree(artificial). So I took regular Chicken wire and cut a piece that would fit just to inside the branches. Then cut half way to the center. and place it on top of the first row of branches to no to be seen, but the cats can’t make their way up the tree. If you have the normal mini lights not the LED’s they like the heat that they give off and like to sleep there. So we place cat blanket in the rear of the tree to sleep on , so they can enjoy the tree also.

    1. Wow, Rex – sounds like quite the set up! Do you have a photo to share? I can upload it to the site and include it with your comment. If you want to share one, just email it to me, please.

  10. Janet Knowlton says:

    Ok so am I crazy to try and have a Christmas tree with two kittens, ages 4 months and 6 months?????? I never had issues with prior cats but not sure about TWO kittens! Nothing scares or fazes either one of these boys. Squirt bottles, coins in cans, nothing deters them from trying to accost our food so I can’t imagine what would happen if they try and climb the tree!

  11. Shadow Dance Ranch Kittehs says:

    We would love to have a huge Christmas tree with all the trimmings. We used to have one every year before our Papa passed away. We used to climb it, sleep in it, play with all the really cool cat toys dangling before us(aka ornaments). Papa always made sure it had a really heavy and sturdy base plus he tied the top off to the wall and cathedral ceiling so we couldn’t knock it over anymore. We miss our tree, but we miss our Papa more.

    1. Nova&Mirjam says:

      Aahhh…I can imagine Christmas will be hard this years. I hope the spark of Christmas will sit next to the loving memories of pa in your heart.

  12. Murphy Bo Dee,is going to celebrate his second Xmas,and he loved to sleep under the tree with the lights warming him.I dont usually put many gifts till the last days cause I havent wrapped them.But my 6 month old Newer Ragdoll Ceasar will also be celebrating with him this,Xmas.Im sure they will both enjoy it together even more.Im so amused at how that baby copys and trys to get in on whatever Uncle Murphy likes Ceasar wants or likes to.The Xmas tree will be new and interesting.Murphy never messed with lights or decor,just loved naps under it!To Cute

    1. that is too cute – hope Ceasar enjoys the tree!

  13. We’ve never had problems with putting up a Christmas tree with other cats we’ve had in the past when our son was a child living at home. Now that he’s grown and traveling the world in the USAF, we’ve opted for a ceramic X-mas tree that I have that is very festive but doesn’t pose a risk for our little darling Raggie, Pink Sugar. 🙂

    NOTE: When our son gets married (currently planned for 2015) and he and his wife have children then we’ll definitely do an artificial tree with cat-safe ornaments when they all come to visit at Christmastime. 🙂

    Gorgeous picture of Rags with the Christmas tree, Jenny! Very festive and so cute!!! 🙂

    1. thanks, patti – i like the ceramic one – sounds nice =)

  14. We gave up on trees. We string a lighted artificial garland between two windows in our living room and hang ornaments from that. I have several blown-glass cat ornaments and I don’t want them or my cats damaged. Its a good compromise.

    1. sounds easier =). did you give up on trees because of cats or just in general gave up onthem?

  15. My Cricket loves the tree. I make sure the ornaments at the bottom are either large plastic balls or kitty-safe stuffed ones. She likes to bat at them. She doesn’t bother the tree itself. She does like to hide behind it and seems to miss it when we take it down.

  16. I have had cats that climbed the tree in the past, one that went all the way to the top and knocked it over but 2 of the cats cats I have now think they are presents and lay under the tree, they “help” me decorate and they really enjoy the Christmas music. I do have one that I didn’t have last year and he is a terror, so we’ll see what happens with him. mostly I have had good experiences with cats and Christmas though and they always seem to know that it’s a time for good cheer and presents under the tree… of course all the presents are for them right? one other thing.. if you have cats, don’t do tinsil . they can eat that stuff and it can cause all kinds of issues, even death. happy holiday!!

  17. This is the first year with our ragdolls so it will be interesting to see how they are with it. My previous cats used to climb it and play basketball with the baubles I am hoping these 3 will not bother it. Although I have doubts as Eric loves to chew, I will be careful which decorations we add this year.

    1. will be interested in knowing what happens too!

  18. Luckily, I’ve never had a cat that insisted on climbing the Christmas tree. Andy enjoys burrowing deep into the presents under the tree for naps and last year, Emily liked sleeping in her cat tree, which I pulled up next to the Christmas tree. Every once and awhile, she would delicately reach out and touch an ornament from her perch like she was admiring it.

    1. that’s what rags did – hide in the presents for a nap.

  19. Ragdoll Mommy says:

    My Ragdolls LOVE when we put up the tree!

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