The year my dad’s cat came to live with us was the year we had 2 Christmas trees. Puss had been an indoor-outdoor cat and our 7′ Frasier Fir was no match for his 15 lbs of feline fur.
After the 3rd night of ornament carnage, downed tree, and water spilled all over the carpet, I conceded defeat. The stately fir was tossed into the back yard to await the after-Christmas tree recycling and we headed off to the store to buy an artificial tree–at peak season prices.
The truce lasted 9 years and I have spent the last two Christmases gerry-rigging our artificial tree to get just one more year out of it. Did it really need all 3 sections? With the proper amount of duct tape you could get it straight up in the tripod stand, and actually the smaller size fit better in our new living room. But after spending 3 hours de-stringing the burnt out lights from EVERY INCH of branch (don’t do what I did), I knew we were headed for a new tree of some sort for Christmas, 2018.
So here we are, my husband insistent on a real tree; all my please fell on deaf elf ears. I sneered at the cat snuggled up against my husband’s lap, snoring loudly but surely taking in every word of our conversation. I planned my counter-attack:
- Scan Pinterest for suitable ways to cat-proof a tree. There are none.
- Find the most secure place in the living room to set the tree. There is none.
- Relocate all breakable ornaments to a safe place to shine. Only soft and plastic ornaments are making the cut this year.
- Be prepared for the mess.
- Practice not saying “I told you so.”
This weekend we headed out to the tree farm, teens in tow. We haven’t done this since they were in preschool, their memories are vague. We tromped through the snow, found our tree, forgot where it was, then found another. Watched Dad cut the tree and made the girls drag it back to the car. Twelve bungee cords later it was secured to the roof of the car and we were headed back home, our conversation laced with smiles and laughs.
When we pulled into our driveway, the cat was at the front window waiting for us.
Bring it on.
So far so good. My husband found a way to reinforce the tree stand and we had enough soft ornaments to do the tree justice. Puss watches the decorations and twinkling lights, an uninterested look on his face but I know he’s plotting a midnight attack.
My hope isn’t that the tree will survive the cat; I’m a realist after all. My hope is that my teenage daughters will remember this as the year Mom fought Puss over the Christmas tree and lost, and that that memory will bring them many laughs over the years to come.
I see you, cat.