There are two cats in the Christmas tree photo above.
One is easy to spot. You’ll have to look for the other one. But he’s there.
I love my holiday rituals. That includes decorating my home and putting up a Christmas tree, usually the day after Thanksgiving.
Of course, when one has cats, and I do— Well, if you have cats, you know what I mean. If you don’t, I’ll tell you.
Some cats don’t pay any attention to the Christmas tree. That has never been the case at my house. As soon as I start decorating, my feline companions gather, eagerly twitching their whiskers, as they happily contemplate that big cat toy that appears once a year.
Pearl, who went to the Rainbow Bridge decades ago, would carefully remove the shiny tinsel balls and bat them around the living room. She rarely broke one, unless she batted it into a chair leg.
Then there was Gus, also long departed, but still remembered fondly, especially for this story. One morning as I was getting ready for work, Gus was under the Christmas tree, checking out the presents and making the ornaments jingle and jangle. In a loud voice, I told him to get away from the tree.
To be fair, he did. But he was tangled in a string of lights, so he took the tree with him. He dragged it several feet across the living room, accompanied by the tinkle of broken ornaments.
The following year, I tied the tree to a sturdy piece of furniture.
I love the smell of a real pine Christmas tree. But disposing of the dried-out corpse at the end of the holiday season gives me the blues. The remedy for that was to go with an artificial tree. I bought a seven-footer at a local store’s after-Christmas sale. When I got it home, I put it up, just to see how it looked.
That’s when I discovered it would hold a full-grown cat. The cat in question, Dexter, was midway up the tree, resting comfortably on a branch.
The climbing-the-Christmas-tree baton was passed to Bodie and Clio, brother and sister, who appeared on my patio ten years ago with their mother, Lottie. That year as I put up the tree, the kittens enthusiastically climbed it.
The following year, I set up the tree and was getting ornaments out of the box when I glanced up and saw Clio precariously balancing at the very top. She stayed up there long enough for me to snap a photo.
She doesn’t do that any more. The tree is smaller and she’s much fatter.
These days the Christmas tree tradition is mostly playing with the ornaments on the bottom and sleeping under the tree. Lottie likes to make a nest out of the Christmas tree skirt and snooze underneath. So do Bodie and Clio, both too big to climb the tree now. At least I hope so!
If you put up a Christmas tree, I hope it stays upright.