A slightly different and longer version of this post was published originally in December 2012, just a few months after Kitties Blue and I started blogging. Two readers commented on that post. Knowing most of you have never seen this, I thought it would be a fun way to start the holiday season. 

Skooter Christmas 1

Our very first kitty, Skooter, loved Christmas more than any of our other cats past or present. He enjoyed decorating, the thrill of unwrapping gifts and playing with the discarded paper and empty boxes as well as with his new toys.

His favorite pursuit, however, was sleeping beneath the Christmas tree. In those days, we still put a real tree in the foyer each year. Skooter had constant access and spent most of his days and evenings beneath the tree with lights warming his fur. As novice kitty caregivers, we never considered this could be a problem even when we were both away at work all day.

Look at that sweet and innocent face. Who would ever expect this adorable kitty to get into trouble? As Tom always says, “What could go wrong?”

Skooter Christmas 2The ornaments from the bottom of the tree were always on the floor, which I now know to expect. I didn’t have any expensive ornaments in those days, so ornaments were rarely broken. It was just a pain to continually pick up and put the ornaments back onto the tree.

And nothing did go wrong, until one fateful night as guests were coming up the front walk. They could hear us from within the house as we were in the midst of yelling at Skooter. The nine-foot-tall tree was teetering, and Tom and I were trying to prevent it from crashing down. Our big boy had caught his head in a string of lights as he was sprinting from beneath the tree. In his desperation to run upstairs prior to interlopers entering his house, he struggled to get away with those lights wrapped around his neck. As we tried to assist him, the tree was on the fast track toward the floor.*

Being younger, faster and nimbler in those days (1990, I think), Tom and I caught the tree just before it hit the rug.

Even after that near CATastrophe, the tree remained in the foyer and at least semi-upright for several more years. From then on, it was attached to the stair railings with bungee cords! This wasn’t a full-proof method for protecting tree and ornaments as the kitties were able to tip the tree and partially dislodge its base from the floor. But the tree never again came close to crashing!

As I collected more expensive and breakable ornaments (many as we have traveled in other countries), it was necessary to move the tree. It went to the living room behind closed doors. As I am capable of breaking the glass ornaments without any help, the tree-pouncing pusses no longer are required to provide their expertise. I also gave in and purchased an artificial tree. The opportunity to sharpen claws on the trunk was lost forever.

Please don’t feel too sorry for Kitties Blue, however, or turn me into N.U.C.A.T. We have an artificial tree with unbreakable ornaments in the dining room. They can whap, bat and jostle the ornaments to their heart’s content with no fear of reprisal. I just collect them off the floor before I go to bed each night and put them back on the tree in the morning. After all I can’t deprive them of their holiday fun!

* No cats or humans were harmed during the fiasco, but a few ornaments did not survive.