In addition to being a precious gift.  

By Meghan Overdeep
December 23, 2020

From computer keyboards to cardboard boxes, cats have a knack for finding the weirdest places to sleep. During the holiday season, this means you might find your feline bedding down in another surprising spot: beneath your Christmas tree.   

Wondering why your pampered indoor cat would choose to seek refuge beneath a live evergreen? Well, like all things with cats, the answer isn’t exactly straightforward.

As veterinarian Ignacio Casali, DVM, explained to PopSugar, a big part of the attraction is the fact that your shiny (and breakable!) ornaments just so happen to look like toys. *cringe*

"One of the reasons cats choose to lay under the Christmas tree could be that they are attracted to the decor and simply like playing with it," said Casali.  

Andrew Lee, DVM, agrees. A Christmas tree is basically a cat’s ultimate playground.

"A Christmas tree is like a cardboard box on steroids to a cat," Dr. Lee told PopSugar. "It can provide height, a place to hide, and is full of toys—all things that cats love."

It’s also something new. And new means exciting.  

“Christmas trees are exciting to many cats,” cat researcher Dr. Mikel Maria Delgado PhD, explained to Inverse. “First of all, you brought something new and fragrant into their territory. When cats are in familiar territory, they often want to investigate anything new! The tree has outdoor smells and bark to scratch so there is plenty to investigate.”

But, for cats content just to cuddle up on your tree skirt, it might not be a matter of mischief. According to Dr. Casali, your Christmas conifer could also provide your feline friend with a sense of shelter or comfort.

Our hearts!

Regardless of his intentions for being there, experts say you should always monitor your cat’s Christmas-tree snoozes.

“During this time of the year, we see cats that come into the emergency room with foreign materials in the stomach, which many times come from Christmas decorations," Dr. Casali warned. "Cats like to play with the strings and the ornaments, which they can swallow."

So, soak up the cuteness but be mindful when your kitty is hanging out near the tree.