Don’t forget to remove the cat when taking down your Christmas tree

image For our family, packing up the Christmas decorations is never easy. Not only because it means the official end of the holiday season, but also because it means it’s time to pry the cat out of the Christmas tree.

What makes this process especially difficult is sap. You see, it’s not until after spending the better part of December attached to the mid-section of our tree that our cat realizes she can no longer retract her claws.

A few years ago, this actually resulted in a front page story in the Weekly World News under the headline:

Holiday Tree sprouts CAT TUMOR!

It’s not like we haven’t tried to keep this tragedy from happening. In fact, we’ve even taken our cat to a pet psychologist, thinking that maybe she suffers from a traumatic experience that is somehow triggered by the site of Christmas trees — such as an unresolved conflict with a strand of tinsel.

After six weeks of therapy (equal to eight years in cat time), the only thing the doctor was able to tell us for certain was that our cat had been Shirley MacLaine in a previous life, which, according to him, isn’t all that unusual.

In short: He had no explanation for her behavior.

This, of course, led to my own — admittedly less scientific — diagnosis, which is that our cat is just crazy. This forced us to take drastic measures this year in hopes of avoiding another appearance in the tabloids. To achieve this, we came up with the idea of spraying our entire tree with WD-40. Initially, this seemed to be the answer as we watched our cat slide down the trunk and into the water bowl. But as we soon discovered, while WD-40 kept our cat out of the tree, it also kept any ornaments from staying on for more than six seconds.

This left us with a handful of desperate ideas, such as moving one of our stereo speakers under the tree and playing “Dogs Barking Jingle Bells” 24 hours a day.

That idea was dropped pretty quickly.

After six barks, to be exact.

We also toyed with the idea of decorating a dogwood tree, the logic being that a cat wouldn’t go near a tree with the word “dog” in its name. That suggestion was nixed after realizing we’d first have to teach our cat to read.

What all of this is leading up to is something you’ve probably already guessed, which is that, once again, the Christmas tree in our living room will remain there until it is completely brown and withered, and the sap has weakened enough that our cat can safely be detached.

In the meantime, we have already begun planning for next year, when we’ll try to coax our cat to move high enough on the tree that we can use her as a top ornament.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications.)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

28 thoughts on “Don’t forget to remove the cat when taking down your Christmas tree”

  1. Hilarious, as usual Ned!! …BTW, most cats hate the smell of citrus. I spray our tree with Orange oil and my three cats avoid it like the plague.

    1. Thanks, Mel — and thanks also for the tip. We’ll try it next year. Hey, maybe we’ll just decorate an orange tree! Plus, it already has “ornaments,” so we won’t need to hang any! And who doesn’t like fresh squeezed orange juice with Christmas breakfast! This just keeps getting better and better… 😉

      By the way, cheers and happy New Year to you, Mel — thanks for reading 😉

    1. When it comes to your past holiday tree decorating attempts, don’t knock yourself. I’m sure others will do that for you… 😉

      Sincerely, my best wishes to you in the New Year!

  2. What a funny story and cat, I just love animals for they make me smile! Our one tabby peed on our Christmas tree( fake) and the stench was so bad we had to get rid of the thing. Now we enjoy dry branches and African decor and the cat still take over. Have fun with that crazy cat 🙂
    Happy New year to you and your dear one.

    1. Just so you know, there is no Rosetta Stone reading program tapes for that. I checked…

      And hey: Happy New Year, RM.
      My best wishes for you in 2014. Hell, 2015, too 😉

  3. We don’t have a cat (husband’s too allergic), but my kids and I are visiting family right now, and they have a cat. I think crazy pretty much sums it up. How can such small creatures who snub their noses at us as if we’re not even worth a tiny tail flip be so endlessly entertaining?

    Happy New Year!

    1. I don’t know either, but I’m guessing it’s the same reason we allow our teenagers to hang around 😉

      And a Happy New Year to you and your (fortunately cat-less) family, Carrie!

  4. My sister’s dog peed on her tree during a dinner party with co-workers (and bosses). So much for the lovely aroma of pine!

  5. Ned, not every house is setup to have a Christmas tree. Perhaps when your cat lets go of your tree, you should too. You can be among the first people in the country to put up the Christmas Shrub, or maybe just hang a nice picture of someone else’s tree. Stop doing this to yourself and your cat. Some times the only way to win is non-participation.

  6. maybe you were approaching it from the wrong angle. instead of spraying the tree with wd40, spray the cat with wd40 or a good shot of pam?

  7. Cats can defniitely have ancillary uses – i.e – tree ornaments. I say pooh, pooh to those who are suggesting you graduate to a Xmas shrub (especially given shrubs’ attraction to The Knights Who say Ni, Ni! – ). I suggest that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade – go with the flow, accept your fate of having a cat for a tree ornament and beautify your cat so those who visit at Xmas will say: “Oh, look dear! What a beautiful cat ornament Ned has! Please, Ned, tell us how you did that – we so want one too!” So, to the point – I am here to help you Ned so you can become the most popular in the neighborhood for your beautiful cat ornamment. Serendipity introduced me to this process and I have been searching for a good use for it since then. Our pure white cat – Valerie (our little girl named her – don’t ask me)- met with a skunk one fateful night and when we let her in in the morning, her odour was intolerable. I ejected Valerie (temporarily and much to her dismay) and called the vet (that’s our veterinarian not our ex-Marine, although, it turns out that would have been helpful too) to see what she suggested. She was quite helpful and although, she said, she had some very expensive sprays, it was easiest and cheapest to bathe Valerie in tomato juice (no kidding!). So off I went to corner the market on tomato juice in the local supermarket. I won’t bore you with the details (OUCH! – where’s that Marine when you need him?) but it worked unbelievably well. I was astounded. There was one minor (for us) side effect. The tomato juice dyed Valerie a bright PINK. This was not temporary – it took about 2 months for her to fade back to white once again. In the meantime she would perch on our front step and greet passers-by in an obvious (and successful) attempt to embarrass us.

    All that to say, if you bathe your cat in tomato juice, you can beautify him/her to the point where he/she can be proudly used as a true tree ornament.Poblem solved. You’re welcome.

    1. Living here in the Northwest, skunks are a common encounter, which explains why tomato juice is always in short supply. Pink cats always seem to be in abundance. Thanks to your comment: Mystery Solved!

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