Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Solution

Those of you that have been around for a few years know that I have an ongoing battle with Speedbump (the cat).

So far, Speedbump is winning.

I used to put up the Christmas tree on Black Friday. Instead of going shopping and making myself crazy, I would stay home, rummage in the attic, decorate, reminisce, and make myself crazy.

Then Speedbump moved in.

Speedbump loves Christmas. She loves it more than a toddler hopped up on cookies and hot chocolate.

She loves the presents. They're wonderful to climb on. There are ribbons to chew, bows to attack, paper to sniff. They crinkle and rustle. You can hide behind them.

But more than anything, she LOVES the Christmas tree.

She gets excited, tail twitching, as soon as the upstairs storage closet door opens. If she had hands, I believe that she would even help carry boxes downstairs.

As soon as the Christmas tree box is set down, she's on top of it, desperate to get inside. We almost can't get it open because we can't keep her off of it long enough. She insists on helping to sort the branches and straighten the tips. She inspects the center pole. She sits in the stand.

I usually wind up putting her in a bedroom and closing the door so we can get on with it already because she also likes to chase the lights and the garland.

The ornaments are particularly exciting. I used to put up a "children's tree" - a tree with no particular theme other than all the ornaments on it were made by someone I know or given to me as a gift. My mom made a zillion felt ornaments with beads and sequins - all stuffed and sewn by hand. There are the horrid ornaments I made in grade school with a styrofoam ball and glue and sequins. There are the Hallmark ornaments that Rockboy chose over the years. With colored lights, it was a gorgeous tree. Impressive. Colorful.

We don't put up that tree anymore. The soft ornaments were disappearing at an alarming rate. Some of them were found under furniture. Some were found down the hall. And some, the very unlucky ones, were found drowned in Speedbump's water bowl. Some were dismantled by systematic chewing, stuffing strewn from one end of the living room to the other.

No matter which tree we put up (there are two), she loves to climb them. She climbs up the inside of the tree, knocking branches loose as she goes. When they're just loose, it's not so bad - when they're completely removed, it becomes more difficult. Imagine decorating each branch and THEN putting the tree together after you've draped lights around them while they were in a circle on the floor. It's hard to put that stuff back together so that it doesn't look like ass.

I changed to glass ball ornaments because Speedbump can't figure out how to carry them away. She may swat them with her foot, but they don't wind up in the water bowl and their stuffins don't come out.

But, I am no longer in a hurry to get the decorations out because I know that every time I come home, I will enter the house holding my breath, waiting to see how much damage has been done this time. How long it will take to repair it.

I believe that I have found a solution. The upside-down Christmas tree. Some people buy them because they're quirky and trendy. But I suspect that the person that first hung a tree upside down from the ceiling was a person that has a demolition artist disguised as a cat.


Autrice DelDrago: said...

Our cat loved to play with our tree. She'd crawl inside of it, tap all the ornaments out of place, eat the light strand wires (but never when it was lit) and attempt to dismember the angel at the very top.

It all stopped one year. I bought this nifty device that I saw on a shelf at a sporting goods store. I highly recommend it.

Lay on the floor and wait for the cat to approach. Take the device and orientate it in the cat's direction. When one tiny paw dares to even microscopically touch anything on that tree, depress the trigger and fire the air horn. One or two times might cure the cat's curiosity. :::devilish grin:::

Roadchick said...

Autrice~ I admit, that is a good idea, but Speedbump is smarter than that. Once the tree is up, she won't even look at it directly. She waits. And waits. And waits. Until she has the house to herself or we are tucked up in bed, sound asleep - THEN she attacks and dismantles the tree. The closest we got to behavior modification this year was when she slipped up and I was not quite asleep and I heard a little noise from the living room. I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter and found her crouched in the middle of the living room floor with branches all around her and ornaments still rolling. I swatted her bottom with a branch and she didn't touch it again - this year.