Cat Memories from the Christmas Tree

December 3, 2020

By Karen

Yesterday I finally finished decorating the tree with my cat ornaments (and a few rodents and birds). I counted 153 altogether. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised that Roc and Tony have been mostly paws off…

Last night, Max even spent a few hours hanging out under the tree…

I started this ornament collection after the “1983 Christmas of Broken Glass and Tinsel Terror.” I was in an apartment and my tuxedo cat Rex was a kitten. Rex loved Christmas.

My tree, which stood near the front door, was decorated in typical glass balls and tinsel, which Rex’s more mature sisters Coco and Cleo had never bothered.

But Rex liked to stroll under the tree holding his tail straight up to catch tinsel, which he’d drag all over. I have no idea if or how much of it he ate, but he lived to be 18 1/2 so it didn’t hurt him.

While I was at work, Rex would amuse himself by smashing ornaments against the door. After he took out a whole box, I decided we had to become unbreakable — and no more tinsel.

These are some of the first cat-proof ornaments I found, and they always hang at the bottom in case anyone gets playful…

This is another very old one and it’s just one of my favorites…

Today I’ll show you the personalized collection, which started after I moved into the house and got a bigger tree. Fred, who I adopted as a stray in 1993, got the first one…

Yul came along in 1996 just a few days before Christmas, so I had to work fast to include him. I didn’t have many photos of him yet and tried to fix his glowing kitten eyes with a pen. As you can see, that didn’t work out too well, but he eventually did have that crazy persona…

Fancy Feast began selling an annual ornament in 1984. Their 2001 edition was a picture frame, and I gave it to Rex because by then he was the senior cat…

Adele joined us in 2000, but I don’t remember why I didn’t get around to giving her an ornament until 2002…

In 2009, we lost Fred, and that’s when Cole came to celebrate his first Christmas in a real home after spending three years at the Richmond Animal League waiting to be adopted…

Max joined the family in 2011 after we lost Yul…

Then, in 2015, we sadly lost Cole many years before his time, and Roc came and took the place by storm. Roc has fulfilled his destiny of being named after the human Yul Brynner’s son Rock, because my Roc shows the same maniacal daredevil streak that Yul the cat had…

And, of course, in 2019, after Adele finished her very long life, we found Tony, who brings me lots of laughs and joy every day…

PS: Roc and Max insist I show you this ornament of them. It’s from when Roc first arrived. They were pals and Max mistakenly thought he could be a good influence. It features a special Cats Working message…

Putting up the tree was a grueling chore, but now that it’s done, it is nice having it around again. I guess it’s like having babies; you forget the pain.

Chapter 136: COVID Chronicles

November 30, 2020

By Karen

Day 261

Thanksgiving is Thankfully Over & Christmas is Coming Slowly

The family stayed apart for Thanksgiving, but my sister and her boyfriend made their customary feast, which my father delivered. I contributed cranberry relish from scratch.

Roc and Tony LOVED the turkey leg so much that night that I didn’t even have to open a can of cat food for their dinner. They ate more turkey than I did.

All weekend, I pretty much lived on mashed potatoes and stuffing, including for breakfast. Yes, I love stuffing that much.

So, next up is Christmas and I have to say I’m not feeling the spirit. Last year, we’d recently lost Adele and Tony was only about six months old and into everything, so I did the bare minimum. But the little guy really deserves a proper Christmas, so I forced myself to pull the big tree out of the Man Cave Closet.

I wonder if I’ll ever have the stamina or patience to do that again, even though I took the shortcut of dropping most of the branches off the balcony into the living room. By the time I had finished the day’s Christmas fun, I’d made at least a dozen circuits the length of the house and taken the stairs as many times and I’m still feeling it.

Tony and Roc must have sensed my less-than-festive mood, because they supervised from their new perch at a respectable distance…

My tree is one where each branch is inserted into the trunk in specific layers. But first, there’s assembling the stand. Since I hadn’t done it in a few years, I forgot how it went and there was much swearing and gnashing of teeth. The tree’s thanks is to now look like it has a lean from any angle you view it.

Then I was forced to throw away three strands of lights or spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to revive them. Two strands had only been used ONCE before and only half in a row would light. But replacing the first dark bulb with a new one didn’t light the rest of the strand. Go figure.

I did find on one strand two chewed-up empty sockets. It can only mean that Roc swallowed those bulbs, because I never found them. Such a daring stunt would never occur to Max. And Adele was too classy to ever consider doing anything so gauche and stupid.

But there were still seven strands left, so around the tree they went. Have I mentioned how much I DESPISE, LOATHE, AND HATE stringing lights?

Next came the garland, and that’s when Tony got paws-on. I had to wrestle him for most of the garland.

Tony also loves jingling the bells on the edges of the tree skirt. He hasn’t connected the dots that they’re my alert system to cat vandalism.

After lights and garland, I quit for the day…

Before I start hanging my vast collection of cat ornaments, I want to suss out Roc and Tony’s intentions.

So far, Tony is behaving pretty well. I did catch him chewing a light and yanking the garland, but he understands “No!”

Roc is still a climber, but he’s much bigger now and hasn’t gone past the bottom layer.

I’ll add the ornaments as the spirit moves me because it takes hours.

The rest of the house got a minimalist approach with a few bows and Santa hats…

And of course, stockings on the fireplace…

As for gifts under the tree, I have no clue and there probably won’t be many. I feel like we just went through these Christmas motions and have spent every day ever since locked in a closet.

BONUS FLASHBACKS: Here’s Max’s first Christmas in 2011. He was eight months old.

And Roc was only four months old his first Christmas in 2015, so he was into everything.

UFO BONUS: Tony was sighted trying to capture more UFOs from Paranormal Caught on Camera

Have a Crazy, Catty Christmas

December 21, 2012

By Max

This year, we’re getting real. Our Christmas tree didn’t come out of a box in the closet. Karen went out and killed this one. She wanted the house to smell like Christmas.

(Adele footnote: It really came from Home Depot. I saw the receipt.)

(Adele footnote: It really came from Home Depot. I saw the receipt.)

What’s even better, it’s just my size!

Its little branches can hold only a few ornaments, so we dug out the best —our own personal ones, of course — and those of the late Fred and Yul. I’m told those guys loved Christmas.

I helped decorate.

We also hung bells. Lots of bells. Those were NOT my idea.

We also hung bells. Lots of bells. Those were NOT my idea.

(Unfortunately, the camera flash doesn’t let you see how beautiful the tree is all lit up, so here’s another shot.)

Colored lights make it look like a giant cat toy.

Colored lights make it look like a giant cat toy.

Unfortunately, this tree has almost no smell at all. I check it every day.

Sniff… sniff… Nope, must not be Christmas yet.

Sniff… sniff… Nope, must not be Christmas yet.

Karen hung our stockings on the chimney with care, but she still hasn’t found a better alternative to all the stupid buttons on mine. So she let me raid her jewelry box and jazz it up with all her cat bling.

Adele is pea-green with envy.

Adele is pea-green with envy.

Once all the presents were in place, Cole conducted an inspection, found our section, and declared it a ColeZone. He’s taken a special interest in one sweet little parcel wrapped in red tissue paper.

Every Christmas tree needs a guard cat to watch the presents. Cole parks himself on that red one like a mother hen.

Every Christmas tree needs a guard cat to watch the presents. Cole parks himself on that red one like a mother hen.

Adele should go to work for the TSA. I think she must already know what Cole’s red present is.

Who needs a body scanner when you have claws?

Who needs a body scanner when you have claws?

Adele also became suspicious of a green present for our cousin Noel and wasted no time making sure Karen wasn’t trying to smuggle desirable flavors of Fancy Feast out of the house.

Hallelujah! Noel’s getting all our yucky Turkey & Giblets!

Hallelujah! Noel’s getting all our yucky Turkey & Giblets!

Me, I’m more interested in the tree. How often does a cat get a piece of the forest in his own living room? The only thing better would be if Karen invited my squirrel from the deck inside.

Good thing Karen used sturdy boxes, or somebody’d be having a smashed Christmas.

Good thing Karen used sturdy boxes, or somebody’d be having a smashed Christmas.

I’m looking forward to the Cats Working traditions of a special breakfast and playing with whatever Santa Kitty brings us, then settling back with treats and fresh ‘nip to watch Video Catnip.

It’s a wonderful life.

Adele, Cole, Karen, and I hope Santa Kitty is good to you and your kitties and you have holidays you’ll fondly remember.

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