How can you make the winter holiday season a relaxed time for your cat? Are there such things as cat-safe Christmas decorations? Is there anything you should avoid doing? And what kinds of gifts can you give both humans and cats?

The Advent season is the perfect time for soft lights, peaceful hymns and cuddling with loved ones. Many homes are filled with the smell of cookies, baked apples, mulled wine and fresh pine. In order to make sure nothing spoils this holiday spirit, there are some things you can do in advance to make sure your furry friend has a relaxed holiday season.

How can you cat-proof your Christmas tree and Christmas decorations? Which Christmas treats are good for your cat? What gifts can you give your furry friend to make them purr with delight?

Cat-proof your Christmas tree

DIs decorating a Christmas tree part of your winter holiday tradition? That’s great, but don’t forget, your cat might have different plans. Last year, it only took half an hour before the joy surrounding your decorated tree came crashing down. It happened right after you stepped into the kitchen to check on your Christmas roast. That clever little kitty brought down your sturdy Nordmann fir! It was a scene out of a horror-comedy movie: the floor littered with decorations and your cat struggling to free themselves from the Christmas lights. You’re not doing that again, right? But how can you cat-proof your Christmas tree this year?

Caution: Christmas trees are poisonous for cats

There are certain trees out there that are poisonous for cats! If you’re going to purchase a “real” Christmas tree, make sure it’s a spruce or fir, not a pine. The wood and needles of pine trees contain small amounts of phenol, which is toxic to cats, primarily because they lack the liver enzyme to break it down. The needles of spruce and fir threes also contain essential oils that are slightly toxic to cats; they irritate cats’ mucous membranes and cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

TIP: Collect fallen needles regularly and never leave them lying around for too long!

Stop your cat from nibbling on your Christmas tree

Make sure your cat doesn’t nibble on the branches of your Christmas tree or lick the tree trunk. Why? Because conifer resin contains a mixture of essential oils and terpenoids. And, depending on the concentration of these substances, the resins can cause the following health issues:

  • Breathing problems
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Weariness
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“Oh Christmas tree!” – A Christmas tree is an alluring play toy for cats. Keep an eye on your cat and don’t leave it alone with the Christmas tree for too long!

Cat-proof your Christmas tree stand

It’s important to make sure your Christmas tree is cat-proof. Why? Cats are daring and nimble tree-climbing artists! They might feel the urge to make their way all the way to the top! Of course, they’ll never make it to the shining star, because their great adventure will come to an abrupt end when the tree tips over. So it’s up to you to secure the tree in place before your cat even comes up with the idea. Just place the Christmas tree in a heavy, stable stand and maybe even fix it to the wall for good measure.


If your tree stand has a space for water designed to keep the tree fresh, make sure to cover the space so that your cat cannot drink the tree water. If your cat drinks water that has had contact with the tree or its branches, the essential oils from the tree can upset your cat’s stomach and irritate their intestinal tract.

Christmas tree alternatives for cat owners

One alternative is to can opt for an artificial tree instead of a natural tree. Of course, an artificial tree will lack that fresh pine scent, but it will be cat-safe and sustainable. An artificial tree can last for several Christmases! It helps you avoid having to throw away a tree you only used for a couple of weeks after Christmas. If you choose a high-quality artificial tree¹, it will also be free of pesticides and sprays, unlike most real Christmas trees. These have to last a long time and look beautiful.

¹Source: VGL Publishing AG (2023): “Artificial Christmas tree comparison 2023. The best artificial Christmas trees in comparison” (in German only), online at Künstlicher Weihnachtsbaum Test & Vergleich » Top 16 im Dezember 2023, accessed on December 2nd, 2023

Cat-safe Christmas tree decorations

Decorate your Christmas tree in a cat-safe way. First of all, you should avoid colourful glass balls, which are real eye-catchers and encourage cats to want to play with them! If they’re not securely anchored to the tree, the toy-like balls will fall and create shards of glass that can injure your cat. Christmas tree decorations should be non-breakable and made from natural materials such as paper or wood. Please do not use tinsel or angel hair to decorate your tree! It’s far too easy for your cat to easily swallow both.

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Do not use snow spray to decorate your Christmas tree or your windows.

Christmas tree or your windows. If your cat licks the artificial snow, it can be toxic and harm them!

Cat-safe Christmas tree lighting

Unfortunately, every year during the Christmas season, entire flats burn down because people still use candles to light their trees. For this reason, it’s always a much better idea to light up your Christmas tree with cat-safe lights instead of candles. You can purchase wireless LED real-wax candles in stores that look amazingly similar to real candles. And the best thing is, with the help of a remote control, you can light them from the comfort of your sofa, without even having to stop petting your kitty!


Never leave cats and candles alone in a room!

Always blow out any candles before you leave the room.

Getting your cat used to the Christmas tree

How can you get your cat used to the Christmas tree? What is that green monster in the living room? Cats are always very careful and cautious when intruders enter their home. Things like new furniture, strangers and huge Christmas trees will be initially viewed with suspicion. Give your cat enough time to get used to the tree, and don’t put any decorations on it for a few days. You and your cat should take some time to get to know the tree. Explain to the cat what a Christmas tree is and then you can decorate it together.

Cat-safe Christmas decorations

So, this year you’ve got your Christmas tree up, fixed firmly and safe from cat attacks. But what about the rest of your Christmas decorations? They need to be cat-proof too! Your cat is likely to encounter shiny and glittery play things everywhere! And Christmas decorations are usually beautifully illuminated too. But Christmas lights not only shine beautifully, they can also be dangerous for your furry friend. It’s very important to clear these types of dangers away. The easiest way to do this is to not tempt your cat at all: 1. Place these things entirely out of reach. 2. Distract your cat and focus their attention on cat-friendly objects.

Cat-safe Advent wreath

The Advent wreath occupies a firm second place on the list of top ten Christmas disasters. Just like the Christmas tree, it poses a double risk in the form of fir branches and live candles. Both of these can cause a lot of trouble for your kitty and your home furnishings. Is that what you want for Christmas? No! So you should hang up your Advent wreath in a cat-proof location where your cat can’t reach it. Equip you Advent wreath with non-flammable branches and greet each Advent Sunday with a warm, glowing LED candle.

Avoid plants that are dangerous for cats

During the winter holiday season, festive decorations also include special plants. As a cat lover, you should know that there are some plants you should avoid, because they can be dangerous for your cat. Keep this in mind when buying plants! Because even plants that are not inherently toxic to cats can still end up being quite dangerous for our furry friends. Plants can be dangerous, for example, due to their…

  • edged leaves
  • jagged edges
  • sharp thorns
  • sharp spikes

Poinsettias are poisonous to cats

In winter and at Christmas time, poinsettias are available everywhere. Whether in red, white, pink or blue with glitter, these spurge plants should not be allowed into your home if you have feline housemates. Unfortunately, poinsettias are poisonous to cats.

Mistletoe is poisonous to cats

Mistletoe is also poisonous to cats. During the Christmas season, these pretty green plants with white berries often hang from door frames. And while a kiss under the mistletoe is said to bring good luck to couples, it’s more likely to cause misfortune for you and your cat, because the decorative branch is poisonous to animals due to its viscotoxins..

Enjoying a relaxed and festive Christmas with your cat

By nature, cats are creatures of habit and don’t like change. They will get stressed out if confronted with constantly changing circumstances that affect their immediate environment. It makes sense, because cats had to be on their guard when they were living in the wild. They constantly had to check their territory for any potential dangers and would only be able to relax once everything was found to be OK. If things aren’t OK, cats will be under stress. It might sound like paranoia, but it’s actually completely natural for your cat. In other words, if you want your cat to have a relaxed Christmas, you’ll have to make sure they feel safe and have a place where they can chill in peace. Provide them with a stress-free environment they can retreat to when Santa comes.

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Celebrate Christmas with your cat in familiar places

Are you thinking about taking your cat to a location away from home to celebrate Christmas? Possibly involving and return trip to where the celebration is taking place? Unfortunately, it’s just not a good idea! Being transported in a carrier to unfamiliar environments will be stressful for your cat. Why do unfamiliar things stress our furry friends so much? Well, cats are equipped with highly sensitive and sophisticated senses. If the things around them become too unfamiliar, their instinct will tell them to flee. They will only really feel safe and secure when they’re in their familiar surroundings. So if you want to celebrate Christmas with your cat, it’s always better to do so in a familiar space, that is, in your own home.

Make sure your cat has places to retreat to

Make sure your cat has quiet spaces they can retreat to where they’ll be safe and away from any hustle and bustle. In the common living area, cats like to be able to access spaces where they can find peace and quiet: under the bed, in cupboards, but also even in boxes, baskets and bowls! Are you still undecided as to which cat furniture is right for your cat? Then click on for information on cat furniture that’s a perfect safe space for cats!

TIP: Any new item should be available early enough for your cat to be able to inspect and accept it!

Clear away all wrapping paper and packaging waste

You’ve unpacked all your Christmas presents, and now there are bows and paper everywhere. This garbage is virtually insisting that your cat play with it. Ribbons are particularly tricky. When cats unintentionally swallow ribbons, it can cause nasty complications in their stomach and intestinal tract, because the ribbons can’t be digested like organic material. During the holidays, emergency rooms tend to see a lot of cats with intestinal obstructions. Clear away wrapping paper and packaging waste!

The right Christmas meal for your cat

What is your cat allowed to eat for Christmas? The holiday season is a time when we humans tend to make opulent meals. Those delicious smells will reach your furry friend’s nose, too, and they might see if they can get their paws on some yummy stuff. But is it okay to give your cat some bites from your Christmas dinner? Unfortunately, the rule here is a strict “no”! Even at Christmas, all that fatty and heavily salted food is not good for your cat. It will likely upset your cat’s stomach. If you want to do something good for your cat, give them a cat snack!

Avoid giving cats chocolate and any other human food

A lot of things that we like as humans are actually harmful to our kitties. Of course, we mean well and want to make our furry friends happy by giving them a treat. Unfortunately, some of the things we offer our cats aren’t good for them at all. On the contrary! Chocolate and many other foods that we two-legged creatures love are dangerous for cats and should be avoided. Here are some examples² of foods that are taboo for cats:

  • Allium plants (garlic, onions, chives and leeks)
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Grapes, raisins and sultanas
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fats/nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Raw eggs
  • Raw fish
  • Raw meat
  • Raw dough
  • Raw liver
  • Tuna
  • Xylitol

²Source: FOUR PAWS – Foundation for Animal Welfare (2023): “Which foods are dangerous for cats?” (in German only), online at Welche Lebensmittel sind für Katzen gefährlich? – VIER PFOTEN Stiftung für Tierschutz in Deutschland (, (in German only), accessed on 21 Feb. 2023

Christmas treats for your cat

It’s a better idea to offer your cat a healthy cat snack. You can also make homemade Christmas treats for your cat. How about delicious poultry bites?

  • 45 ml chicken stock
  • 250 g corn semolina
  • 125 g spelled flour (type 630, also corn or buckwheat flour instead)
  • 350 g fresh poultry meat (chicken, turkey – without skin and bones)
  1. Blanch the poultry.
  2. Chop the ingredients and mix them all together   
  3. Cover the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for 120 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough, cut out little “cookies” and place them on a baking tray.
  5. Put the “cookies” in the oven at 180 ºC for 15 minutes. Take them out and let them cool down, After that, present them to your cat and see if they like them!


Keep the “cookies” fresh in a covered and sealed container in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days. After two days, you should no longer feed them to your cat. You can keep them longer by putting them in the freezer as soon as they’ve cooled down.

Christmas gifts for cats

What kinds of Christmas presents can you surprise your cat with? First of all, great Christmas gifts don’t have to be expensive. For example, you can use cardboard boxes to build connecting tunnels and caves. You should make sure to use only clean cardboard boxes that never previously contained items harmful to cats. If you cut different sized holes in the cardboard box, you can make entrances and exits for your furry friends. These holes are also perfect for “prey”, such as balls, walnuts, corks and treats. A Christmas castle like this is also a perfect cat retreat!

Cat toys for Christmas

How about a new toy for your cat for Christmas? It’s important for both humans and cats to engage in play, as it strengthens the bond between the two. But what kinds of toys are best? Some cats like fast, fun games, whereas others like to take their time and stalk their prey. And still others enjoy using their minds, preferring intellectual games that require strategic know-how. Remember, though, that when you and your cat play with the same toy for a long period of time, you’ll eventually run out of steam and things will get boring. So why not offer your cat a variety of toys!

A Christmas hat for your cat?

At Christmas time, cats with Santa hats on are everywhere, especially on social media! Please be aware, however, that a cat’s ears are little miracles. A cat’s ears amplify sound many times over, and cats can also accurately assess where the noises are coming from because their ears are extremely mobile and can rotate 180 degrees. A cat’s ears are responsible for doing even more than that: they also keep the cat in balance. In other words, a cat’s ears are an extremely sensitive sensory organ! So, if you were a cat, would you like it if someone put a Santa hat over your ears? Didn’t think so.

Christmas gifts for cat lovers

So you’re invited to a cat lover’s home for Christmas and don’t know what kind of gift to bring? You don’t want to give them a run-of-the-mill present, but rather something that the host is really going to like. As you probably already know, the best gifts are ones where the gift-giver really puts some thought into it. By really reflecting on what the recipient of the gift likes, you show them that they’re important to you. Is your host a cat lover? If so, that’s half the battle when it comes to choosing a suitable Christmas present! But what’s the best Christmas gift for someone who lives with furry friends?

Cat-themed Christmas decorations

When you enter the cosy home of a cat fan, the decorations alone will likely tell you that you’re in the flat of someone who loves purr balls: kitties everywhere, even in bed! A cosy cat bed will keep anyone warm. People who like furry friends also like to give their home their own personal styling. In every corner, even on the balcony and in the garden, you’ll find evidence of their love of felines. What could round off this cat-fan ambience? You guessed it! The right cat Christmas decoration is a must for Advent³!

³Source: STRAYZ Petfood GmbH (2022): “STRAYZ Christmas decoration ‘Black Cats Rock’” (in German only), online at Witzige Weihnachtskugel mit Katzenmotiv | STRAYZ, accessed on 4 Dec. 2023

Cat-themed sayings for Christmas

Have you packed the presents and now all you need is the right cat-themed saying for the Christmas card and holiday wishes you’re going to send electronically? Cats not only look adorable, they’re also good for the soul. So if you’re still looking for the right words for your Christmas cards, send the cat lover a Christmas cat saying. It only takes seconds to remind your cat-loving friend how lucky they are to have their little fur ball at their side at Christmas.

Is it a good idea to give someone a cat for Christmas?

What about giving someone a cat as a Christmas gift? Forget it! It’s not a good idea at all! There are many other gifts you can give someone spontaneously for Christmas, but please no animals! No matter what kind of celebration it is – a birthday, a christening or Christmas – you should never forget that a cat is a living creature and not a knick-knack. It’s likely that the cute little animal you gave as a gift won’t be so small and cuddly forever, and sometimes it just wasn’t a good fit from the very beginning. If that happens, many animals are simply discarded. No cat deserves that fate! This is the reason why many animal shelters don’t give out any cats at Christmas time. Many institute a full stop on re-homing at Christmas!

Frequently asked questions about cats at Christmas

What can I get my cat for Christmas?

How about a cosy retreat, homemade treats or a new toy? Some cats like fast, fun games, whereas others like to slowly stalk their prey. And still others like using their minds to play intellectual games that require cunning feline strategies

Why do cats love Christmas trees?

For cats, Christmas trees look like alluring play toys. What a great new addition to the living room! The tall tree almost insists your furry friend try to climb it. They want to smell it and probably also see what it tastes like too. And, of course, they’re going to want to inspect all those sparkling lights and shiny balls …

How do I protect my Christmas tree from my cats?

To cat-proof your Christmas tree, you should choose a tree with a smaller height. Also make sure to fix it so that it can’t tip over. Your Christmas tree decorations should be shatterproof and made from natural materials, such as paper and wood.

What happens when cats eat pine needles?

It depends on how many they eat. Spruce and fir tree needles contain essential oils that are slightly toxic to cats. These needles can irritate your cat’s mucous membranes and lead to vomiting and diarrhoea. So don’t forget to pick up any fallen pine needles!

My cat ate my poinsettia, what should I do?

Keep track of your cat’s behaviour. If they’re listless, vomiting or they have diarrhoea, you should contact a veterinarian. Describe to the vet exactly when and what part of the poinsettia your cat ate. Don’t wait too long to take action!

What can my cat eat for Christmas?

Feel free to spoil your cat with little treats during the Christmas season. These might be cat treats or a special piece of meat prepared for them. You should avoid giving them the food and drinks that we humans tend to consume during the holidays.

Should I take my cat with me on Christmas holidays?

Your cat is a creature of habit and will always prefer to stay in its usual environment during the holidays. In other words, it would prefer to stay at home. If you won’t be home for Christmas, don’t leave your cat to their own devices. Instead, make sure someone is there to take care of them while you’re away.

Can you leave your cat alone at Christmas?

In general, you shouldn’t leave your cat alone for long periods of time. When you own an animal, you automatically have responsibility for that animal. If you’re leaving town, make sure your cat isn’t alone over Christmas by hiring a cat sitter. The best person for this job is someone your cat already knows and likes.

Should you gift someone a cat for Christmas?

A cat is not a suitable Christmas gift. Cats are not items you can take back and exchange. Cats are creatures with souls and personalities. Before you decide to give someone a cat as a gift, you should be 100% sure that the needs of the cat will not be neglected.