Moving to Freedom, .Org

Fortress Christmas

First, you must read “Tree bomber,” by The Bloggess. She is having cat-related Christmas tree problems:

Except that this year I can’t put up any of my nice ornaments because our cat (Ferris Mewler) obsessively climbs to the top of the tree and remains very still until he thinks you can’t see him (you can totally see him) and then he jumps down on you as you walk past, like some sort of terrible, furry kamikaze.

Go read the post right now. There are pictures with captions and it is awesome.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

O Christmas Plant-Tree

My initial reaction was, wow, she’s so accepting and supportive of her cat’s interests.

As a parent/servant of two cats, I felt lacking. We haven’t nurtured them fully in their discovery of novel environments.

We didn’t put up a Christmas tree for many years in our house because we were certain the cats would instantly savage everything to do with it.

One year when we had family over for the holiday, we decorated a plant.

We finally got a real (fake) tree after we had a human kid, but instead of letting the cats pursue their natural instincts, we established a perimeter of motion-activated sprayers to guard the tree and ornaments. They effectively deterred the cats and our daughter.

It had to be done. The orange cat had military training before joining our household, specializing in higgledy-piggledy ops. Here you can see how he’s trained the other one to provide cover as he moves in on the presents:

Sprite and Tugger Make Their Move

When Animals Attack Christmas Presents

Our cats are normally masters of mayhem, but the sprayers have been a surprising success. Except that now I’m disappointed in our iron-fisted regime and in the inability of our cats to counter our efforts. It’s led to a much less exciting post than The Bloggess’s.

Christmas Tree and Plant and Sprayer Perimeter

This final picture shows where we are today. There’s a lot going on here, so I’ll walk you through it.

First, we painted in 2004.

Second, Christmas Plant-Tree is still alive. Barely. It doesn’t live in this corner; I just wanted to bring the two holiday symbols together for reconciliation and illustration.

The years and the animals have not been kind to Christmas Plant-Tree. The cardboard shield is necessary to prevent cat digging. (We never let them have any fun.) I’d like to blame the missing leaves on the cats, but the dog got to them first.

Third, notice the sprayers and the wistful look of the cat. (I further staged the photo by moving the sprayers into the frame, and I threw a crumpled piece of paper in there to try enticing the cat. And, no, the sprayers weren’t on at the time.)

Fourth, the bunnies are on patrol right now: worried, but safe inside the perimeter. At night we all take turns on watch. The sprayers have worked so far, but the cats must be planning something.