How I Kept The Cat Out Of The Christmas Tree

For the past three years, our cat, Hercules, has climbed the Christmas tree.

He knows he’s not supposed to be up there, but the branches are understandably irresistible—as is the photo op.

But this year, he crossed a boundary. He broke two beloved ornaments.

He also knocked the ornament from my first Christmas off its place of honor near the top of the tree. I cried, thinking it was lost for good, but I found it stuck between some branches halfway down.

“Why do we even have a tree?!” I said through tears. “What’s the point of even having it if he’s just going to ruin it?! Part of me just wants to take it down right now!”

Of course, I didn’t really want to take down the tree. My husband, knowing this, wisely listened, hugged me, and assured me that everything was going to be OK.

Once the wave of anger had passed, I felt a sense of determination. I would find a way to keep that cat out of the tree.

I came across an article about using orange peels to keep cats out of the garden. That gave me an idea: What if I hung bits of orange peel around the tree?

It worked like a Hallmark Christmas miracle.

Here’s what I used:

  • A Halo (That’s the type of orange I happened to have in the fridge.)
  • A cheese grater, for zesting (I don’t have a zester.)
  • A knife and cutting board
  • Some pretty little sheer sachet bags from the dollar store (I had them on-hand from something else.)

I grated the Halo. It doesn’t sound as glamorous as “I zested the orange,” but that’s life—it’s not always glamorous!

Then, I peeled the Halo and cut the peel into small pieces. I also enjoyed a snack!

I put a few pieces of peel and a little bit of zest in each bag.

Finally, I hung them on the tree in inconspicuous places.

As an extra measure, I put some lemon juice and water in a spray bottle and misted the tree and the tree skirt, taking care to avoid the plugs that connect the lights.

The next morning, the tree was just as I left it—not a single branch was bent.

I was going to experiment and see how long the citrus scent would be effective, but after 36 hours, I decided not to chance it. I replaced the dried-up peels with fresh ones and misted the tree again.

Peace has been restored; Hercules is once again in my good graces. My ornaments are safe. And it looks like I’ll be eating a lot of oranges in the next several days.

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