The Cat and the Christmas Tree: A Seasonal Tail

December 5, 2007

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Above: Zippy

Cats and Christmas trees just don’t mix. Every year when I put mine up I’m always thinking of ways to discourage felines from climbing or otherwise abusing the centerpiece of the holiday cheer.

When I was younger a friend of mine had a big Siamese male cat who sat very patiently watching the family set up and decorate the tree. It seemed to me that he wasn’t all that interested. Once the tree was up and decorating completed it was a different story. He would then immediately run across the room and dash up the tree to the very top sending the tree crashing down with decorations scattered here and there all over the house. After that he wouldn’t touch the tree the rest of the holidays. It was almost like he was saying, “been there done that”. Needless to say this family finally outsmarted the cat and tied the tree securely at the top to the curtain rods. The cat didn’t like that much, it spoiled his fun. He just said the heck with it and left it alone. It was just no fun anymore.

The other memorable encounter between a feline and a tree was that of my big orange tabby who went by the name of Zippy. Now at first it didn’t seem like he was all that interested in the tree, but I should have known better based on my previous experience. One morning a few days after our tree raising  I came downstairs to a horrible site. Zippy had the tree on it’s side on the living room floor dragging it along like it was prey. He was tugging and pouncing alternatively as he moved it across the carpet. Yes he was actually dragging it like a leopard with his prey. Decorations, or should I say what was left of them, covered the floor as far as the eye could see. He was so intent on his fun that at first he didn’t see me. As I watched him I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh. The end result was another tree raising and decorating party including the use of brand new ornaments. This time I tied the top off in an attempt to deter another feline tree felling.

We now have an artificial tree. Cats still seem interested, but not in climbing. The smell of a real tree brought out the feral instinct in my “domestic” tabby, if you can really tame them. They really only keep you around to feed them, clean the litter and scratch them behind the ear from time to time. Oh yes they do enjoy the Christmas season, so many trees and so little time.

Now as a footnote, Zippy has passed on to the great litterbox in the sky, but what vivid Christmas memories he left behind. Because we missed the battle of cat and tree we now have another cat. Will the tree survive? Stay tuned. “Get off that tree cat!”


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