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

imageFor 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 National Inquirer 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, lead to my own — admittedly less scientific — diagnosis, which is that our cat is just freaking 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…





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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...

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

  1. Ha ha ha ha! Poor kitty…
    My cats never climbed our trees but that might be because we do not have real ones in our house. Hubby is highly allergic to cedar so we can’t even have the “smell” of it in our house. But nowadays there is no chance of either an allergic reaction or a cat in the tree because I do not put up decorations AT ALL… NOTHING, Nadda a single wreath on the door. I boycott Christmas decorations when I moved to Texas! I am a total Scrooge when it comes to them! I’m not anti-Christmas, just the decorations and shopping. I like giving gifts (don’t care if I get any) and I am always in the Christmas production…choir Cantata or play and I like some Christmas carols as long as they are not earworms! LOL!
    oh.. and we no longer have a kitty :-/

    1. We are surrounded by cedar trees and have a cat, so if you come visit some day your husband better bring allergy pills! And it sounds like your Christmas spirit manifests itself in your actions rather than decorations — which sounds fine to me. Although I have to admit, I love seeing the little decorations my wife puts out around the house and finding them tucked into window sills, book cases and shelves. Wouldn’t be the same for me without it 😉

      1. That’s cuz you are romantic softy when it comes to your wifey! As it should be… after 29 years of marriage, my hubby loves the fact I don’t make him drag everything out so it can collect dust for 3 or 4 weeks, then put it all back up again. There is no one but us….. no kids or grandkids and I don’t entertain during the holidays. Other people have gorgeous decorations and I can admire them. We used to go all out, professional decorators etc. But I just can’t do it anymore *sigh*
        And yes… we are quite familiar with all the cedar trees up there. We spent our anniversary in Portland in 2008. LOVED IT! We have friends in Victoria and we have spent some time in British Columbia. If it weren’t so far away, I would move there tomorrow!! It’s just beautiful in OR! He’s ok out in the open air, he just be cooped up with it in the house! 😉

        1. Well, if you guys ever come to visit, I promise not to have any cedar trees in the house. And yeah, Portland — and the Pacific Northwest in general — is a beautiful place to live 😉

  2. Poor Kitty! I suppose waiting for the tree to completely dry up and turn brown is a viable option. Fortunately, we have a guinea pig who can only just touch the first round of branches, if he stands up on his hind legs. He’s not a climber (thank goodness!). Next year I’ll loan you guys our fake tree that has a metal trunk. Guaranteed claw proof.

  3. Hahaha You could always try getting her a small Christmas tree of her own and decorate it with little catnip parcels – might distract her from the big tree :0) (Correct, I’ve never had a cat)

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