Cats and Christmas trees
By Mary Jo
Cats have been around since time immemorial and Christmas trees became popular in the mid-19th century, when Victoria and Albert introduced the German custom of decorating trees into the British royal palaces and from there to most of the English speaking world. (In other words, they went viral. <G>)
And if Victoria had a cat, it probably climbed her tree. But cameras, especially easy to use cell phone cameras, have really helped cats in Christmas trees become a true internet meme. (The image of the black and fallen tree is from Facebook and I think of it as "My work here is done. <G>)
At least a couple of times when I was a kid in our farmhouse, cats brought down our tree and very messy it was. That hasn't happened in many years because tree stands are much more stable now.
I've had a few cats who were Christmas tree climbers, and many of them enthusiastically bat at low hanging ornaments. ("Look, they hung all these nice play toys just for me!")
The cat below, right, is the Mayhem Consultant's cat, Reggie the Rascal. Don't believe that innocent look. He has climbed trees and he loves scooting up tree decorating ladders, then prowling the valances.
But mostly my cats are content to lounge underneath and possibly check the tags to see who gets what. (That's PandaMax on the left, doing exactly that.)
The number of jokes about cats climbing trees and sometimes pulling trees them over got me to thinking about pets in Christmas trees in general. Cats are small and agile and have claws designed for climbing.
Probably a ferret would also be a climber, but they aren't that common as pets. Parakeets and other pet birds can fly across a room and land on a branch and perhaps cause some damage if they're larger types like macaws.
Dogs aren't built for climbing, but a friend of mine assures me that the enthusiastic wagging tail of a Labrador retriever can reap a serious harvest of ornaments!
Thus, the number one rule for pet owners who put up trees it to PUT UNBREAKABLE ORNAMENTS ON THE LOWER BRANCHES.
We have a nice collection of lightweight, hard to break plastic apples that look pretty and have a high tolerance for being knocked across a room. (They make a distinctive rattling sound as they roll merrily across a hardwood floor at 2:00 am.
So the bottom line is that with decorating care it's possible to have both pets and trees which is good for those of us who love both.
Do you have experiences with pets and Christmas trees? Tell us about them!