Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cats and Christmas Trees--Need Help?

Cats and Christmas Trees

By Margaret Curtis, PhD

This year’s holiday centerpiece sits on a table, waiting for the cat attack. This tree’s two feet tall; so are the cats, lying down. A revolving disco light sits beside the tree, to segregate temptations. Only one kind of ornament graces the green branches: miniature nutcrackers. If they can’t take care of themselves, we’ll have to research the ballet again.

Previous Christmas decorations included the Red Cardinal tree. Its only ornaments came from a local flower shop, which had dismissed its population of red birds, graced with real feathers. These birds had to be smuggled onto the tree in the middle of the night, since my cats respond primarily to movement, not color or sentiment, although they do favor dancing mice.

So, here are rules I’ve created to get through the holidays with cats, trees, and sanity intact:

1.    Keep the scheme simple.
2.    Forgo round shiny bulbs; they’ll be the first to be 
3.    Keep the schedule of a cat burglar, setting up 
       decorations after midnight.
4.    If cats find boxes lying around, they’ll get the 
       ornaments before they make it to the tree.
5.    But if cats discover a tree already decorated, they may 
       mistake it for furniture.

Felines are due this acknowledgement: The same temperament and instincts which lead them to investigate Christmas trees like squirrels’ nests, also lead them into corners where spiders hide. The same sense of smell which goes after cookies and popcorn will hunt down socks, too. So keep guests’ feet in their socks. Otherwise, they may leave your home without them.

Never leave anything in plain sight which cats might be tempted to hunt and eat. A very long list of cats’ favorite goodies includes eyeglasses, birth control devices, watches, bracelets, rings, pens, pencils, hats, coats (for making into mattresses), fur and tails of any kind whatsoever. So place a tree up somewhere if possible. That way, cats at least have to lose weight as they go after it. 

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