Festive holiday decorations like twinkly lights and shiny baubles seem to be adored by cats as well as humans. However, cats don’t appreciate them in the same way…if your cat keeps destroying your decorations, it can get a little frustrating. 

Every cat owner has experienced it—you spend loads of time putting together the most perfect winter display, only to have Mr. Fuzzypaws come by and bat it all down. We’ve all seen the videos too, of cats climbing Christmas trees or tearing apart wrapped presents with their claws

So what can we do about it? The first step is to understand why your cat likes to wreak havoc on your perfectly placed objects, and the next is to understand how to mitigate it. 

Why Cats Like to Destroy Decorations 

It can be aggravating having to pick up your holiday decorations from the floor again and again after placing them so meticulously. So why is your cat still knocking them down? Simply put, it is one of three reasons. It could be due to an insatiable curiosity, complete boredom, or a need for attention. 


The old adage, “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back,” still rings true. Cats thrive off of curiosity. In the wild, curiosity might lead them into dangerous situations, but more often than not it leads them to food. Investigating objects helps them determine if something is edible, liable to fight back, or if it’s rotting. Important things to ascertain when hunting for your dinner. 


Bored cats will make their own fun, often at the expense of your knick-knacks and fun decorations. Cats can become bored if they do not have enough to occupy their time. Toys, play, and other types of enrichment are important for keeping your cat happy.


We know your hobbies aren’t boring, but unfortunately, your cat does not care about the next hit Netflix show or the 100 perfect crochet stitches you just made. What they do know is that you have not looked at them, pet them, or fed them once in the last 45 minutes. Cats can get destructive if they feel ignored, so if they’re climbing up the tree again, they might just be trying to get your attention.

How to Decorate With a Cat 

1: Gate off Large Decorations

Large decorations (especially Christmas trees) can tempt cats to climb, play, and pounce. By cornering off large decorations you can limit your cat’s access. And keeping your cat away from the Christmas tree will not only save your decorations, it will keep your cat safe, too. Although the ornaments and lights look like lovely cat toys, they can be dangerous. Plus, the tree itself could have residual pesticides on its bark or in the water, and the needles of the tree can be harmful to cats as well. 

2: Secure Important Items

Any items that are breakable or treasured should be strongly secured. Products like museum goo, a sticky substance that does not damage objects, can help keep objects safe from pushy paws. If you’re hanging seasonal items on walls or archways, consider using removable hooks instead of nails or screws. That way if curious kitties pull too hard, the hooks will come off and there won’t be anything sharp to step on. 

3: Pick Indestructible Decorations 

Cats will be cats, so try to find decorations that are hard to break. Fragile decorations are a danger, not just for your soul every time they smash, but also for your cat and any other pets or children in the house. Shards of glass or porcelain can cause splinter-like cuts that are easily infected. Broken decor can also cut up your cat’s paws and cause serious injuries if chewed or swallowed.

4: Make Sure Your Cat Has Entertainment

A well-entertained cat is often a tired cat. Sleepy cats do not have the energy to break your stuff…usually. Make sure your cat has places to climb and perch, plenty of toys, and some interactive playtime with you every day. Keeping your cat entertained will not only save your decor, it will make your cat happy and enrich their life, as well.

Expert Veterinary Care All Year Round

Making sure your cat is healthy is a yearlong activity. You can count on East Valley Animal Hospital to be there for your pet, no matter the circumstances or time of year. We offer a full range of veterinary services from checkups and vaccinations to surgeries and emergencies. If you ever need veterinary care in Gilbert, just give us a call.






Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/27/23). Photo by Vije Vijendranath on Unsplash.