Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Cats

I’ve had a few cats through the years, starting with Baggins and Swoop. We were in our Lord of the Rings phase when we named them---long before there were Lord of the Rings movies.  Both cats liked to sit on the window sill and bat ornaments off the tree. 

Cleo was next, inherited when she attempted to climb my Mom’s custom drapes the day after she was given to Mom as a Christmas gift.  At my house, she too took to batting ornaments off the tree.  Fortunately, most of my ornaments back then were handmade—crocheted and cross-stitched—and not breakable. 

We soon added Moocher to the mix, named for Minnie the Moocher, sung by Cab Calloway in The Blues Brothers. Moocher’s Christmas claim to fame was climbing straight up the trunk of the Christmas tree without knocking it over.  I reached in and pulled her out of the tree without disturbing the lights or a single ornament. 

Dancer, my little white cat, innocently curled up beneath the tree, where she stealthily batted the ornaments off the lower limbs.  She never ventured any higher hunting ornaments and lost interest in the tree as she aged. Eventually, she was only interested in the heat from the wood burning stove, and she stayed curled up near or beneath it most of the winter.  Dancer was 22 when she went to Kitty Heaven in mid-December one year, and I had the first cat-free Christmas of my adult life.   

The next year, along came Puddin’, who was fairly nonchalant about her first tree.  She spent plenty of time looking picture perfect on the tree skirt but didn’t attack the ornaments.  On the other hand, she was especially intrigued by the containers of sugared peanuts being prepared for friends. 

This year is another story. She seems to consider the tree skirt her personal hideaway, from which she launches attacks.  She hunkers down behind a package, thinking I’m sure, that we can’t see her. Or, she darts across packages and around the tree as though running an obstacle course.  She’s also decided that the tree stand is her new water bowl.  Despite all the time she spends beneath the real tree as “camo kitty,” she still hasn’t paid much attention to the ornaments.  She’s fascinated, however, by the old glass Woolworth’s ornaments on our small artificial tree, and insists on chewing the tree limbs.    

Those ornaments, which belonged to my mom, are easily 40-45 years old, and so far, she has only gently nudged them. That doesn’t mean all the Christmas decorations are intact, though.   I was upstairs in my office on a phone call one day when I heard a loud thud.  My husband came upstairs to mouth, “Puddin’ made a mess,”  and he says that when Puddin’ knocked the eight inch snow globe off the table, she stood stock still with her eyes wide before taking flight. We didn’t see her for several hours after the snow globe burst into pieces. 

There are only a few more days until Christmas, when Puddin’ will have paper and ribbons to attack, so I’m hopeful that she’s been suitably subdued by the snow globe incident and we’ll remain accident free until the decorations come down. And you cat lovers out there are thinking, “Sure, you can tell yourself that...”