Yes, I’m posting a Christmas story on February 9th. At least isn’t not July. And I promise I’ll take the wreath off the door before Valentine’s Day. Oh, and there are still two snowflakes hanging in the living room. I’ll take care of those, too. All other vestiges of the holidays are long gone, I promise. But, let’s step back for just a moment….
We adopted Mr. Colby Jack on September 26th. Considering that he was a rescue kitty, this was quite possibly his first Christmas…period. I adopted my former cat, Slater, in September as well. That year I didn’t get a tree because I didn’t know her well enough to know how she would respond. By the time the next Christmas rolled around I found the concern laughable as it was so obvious that that chunky grey butt would not be climbing any trees. Cats climb trees…not Slater.
With Colby Jack there really wasn’t a no-tree option. He was just going to have to deal. I did have a certain amount of trepidation, I’m not going to lie. He’s just so curious and playful. With a mischevious streak. He’s also 16 lbs of cat. Long and lean. And he gallumps around the house like a kitten. So, if he decided to be a climber the tree wouldn’t stand a chance. I shut him in our bedroom when we were installing the tree (cramming it through the front door, getting it in the stand) because we just didn’t need cat help in that situation. And he can be very helpful.
Once the 8 footer was standing (which presented its own challenges) I went up, opened the door, drug him off the bed and plunked him in front of the tree. Now, he is one cool cat. Curious and playful, yes, but he’s also very easygoing. Makes for a wonderful combination. He sniffed around the tree briefly, casting me this expression that seems to say, “What the…??” and then moseyed out of the room. Well, then.
I put the lights on the tree that same evening. He was very interested in the lights and I had to shoo him away from them more than once, visions of the cat scene from Christmas Vacation dancing through my head (“You smell something, Eddie?” “Fried pussycat.”)
I decorated the next day. I expected this to be a challenge of the cat’s will. He did wander through a few times to check on me and provide some brief pointers (and to occasionally complain), but other than that…meh. However, as I decorated I identified a weakness of our large Douglas Fir: many of the lower branches drooped down instead of out. This meant that I could only put the lightest of ornaments on those branches as the heavier ones slid right off. The lightweight ornaments consist of colored balls and squishy little things that resemble…well…cat toys. Problematic. But, I gamely pushed on.
We had friends over for dinner that evening and CJ didn’t touch the tree. I came home from work on Monday, eyes half closed as I entered the living room out of fear of what might greet me. Nothing. Perfectly intact tree. Him’s such a very good boy.
Tuesday morning Oliver the cat (a small plush cat from the Disney movie) magically threw himself on the floor. Next to him lay a small plush snowman…because Oliver must have looked lonely. I placed the ornaments back on the lower branches and went in search of the suspected culprit. When asked about the ornaments he blinked his pretty orange eyes at me and quickly returned his attention to the tweety birds hopping about in the back yard. I came home that evening and Oliver had again chucked himself on the floor. Odd that a cat would target a cat ornament? Oliver ended up on the floor one more time before being moved to a higher branch. The tree was not disturbed again.
CJ did decide, though, that lying next to the tree lends a festive air to the regular photographs that I take of him (I can’t resist…him’s such a handsome boy). Actually, he discovered that the table that I moved to make room for the Christmas tree has a vent under it. And that vent blows warm air. Now, that vent has been in the same place since he moved in. But, when a table was moved over it it apparently became the place to be. Since Christmas he has identified one or two other vents that he also enjoys.
I made CJ his very own stocking with his name on it, applied to the cuff using Elmer’s glue and glitter, that was hung from the mantle with care. On Christmas morning it was filled with squishy balls, special wet food, a mouse that rolls across the floor and a whirly bird thingy.
The whirly bird thing is a plastic stick with a line on it and some bird feathers on the end and when you zip it around it sounds kind of like a bird flying. To say that it’s popular is an understatement. His head goes round and round and round following it. He leaps, he twists, he falls into things going after it. Apparently it was the best Christmas present ever. That’s a lot of pressure for next year.
Bottom line? Orphan cat had a very successful Christmas. Nothing was destroyed and he hauled in some pretty good loot. Not everyone with a cat can say that.