Skooter testing the lights.

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

But his favorite pursuit 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. As Tom would say, “What could go wrong?”

Skooter looking angelic while admiring the tree.

On one particular Christmas just about everything went awry. The ornaments from the bottom of the tree were always on the floor, which I know now we should have expected. The worst event occurred, however, as guests were coming up our front walk. We were in the midst of yelling at Skooter and trying to prevent the nine-foot-tall tree from crashing to the floor. 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.

Skooter plays with his new toy before he unwraps it. (That’s Louise in the background.)

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 got close to crashing!

After MacKenzie‘s first Christmas in 2001, however, the only time a tree was erected other than behind closed doors, was when it was covered with non-breakable ornaments. As I am capable of breaking the glass ornaments without any help, the tree-pouncing pusses no longer need to offer their expertise. By that time I had also given in and purchased an artificial tree. Sharpening claws on the trunk is no longer an option.

To see MacKenzie’s shenanigans, please check back beginning December 14 for my 12-days of Christmas.

“What new toy? I thought this was the toy!”

But back to Skooter…I have included several photos of his yuletide delights.

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