In our own backyard....Wise man down!I don’t recall ever seeing a Christmas nativity or manger scene with a cat among the lowly farm animals. But somehow, I just bet one was there.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
I don’t recall ever seeing a Christmas nativity or manger scene with a cat among the lowly farm animals. But somehow, I just bet one was there.
The Christmas season seems to be a matter of great awe and wonder for cats. They get excited by the very act of bringing a live tree into the house, and with all of those dangly decorations, hanging garlands and strings of bright lights – well, it puts even the most self-respecting of felines on sensory overload.
We’ve always noticed a marked change in behavior at Christmastime in the various and sundry cats that have blessed our lives over the years. Snowflake was fond of climbing the Christmas tree and one night managed to bring it down in the middle of the living room. Rascal had her very own ornament that always hung on the lowest branch of the tree so she could bat it around and play with it. Slapshot was fond of drinking out of the tree stand, and Goliath liked to lie on the tree skirt beneath the fragrant pine boughs, no doubt pretending that he was hunting deep in the forest. Marmalade, who out-lasted them all, loved nothing better than to chew on the strings of lights (which must have used up several of his nine lives – to say nothing of mine!).
Both of our current cats, Mufasa and Sunshine, began to show signs of agitation as soon as we started moving the living room furniture around to make room for the Christmas tree this year. They bounded from chair to couch, getting a free ride as we moved them from place to place. When I dragged the love seat away from the window, exposing two cat toys, a shriveled grape and a host of dust bunnies, Sunshine pounced on them like a kid at Disneyland!
I thought it prudent to shut both cats in the bedroom when Ken brought the tree in from the garage, fearing they might escape out the front door while it was propped open. And so it was that the first glimpse they got of the giant evergreen was when it was already standing proud and tall in its stand next to the window. Since they’d already sensed something was “up” from our suspicious behavior, they stalked around the room stiff-leggedly, weaving in and out among the furniture as they furtively advanced on the tree. When at last they converged on it, they cautiously circled, delicately sniffing the lower branches as they went and sticking their noses into the tree stand.
Both cats seemed to have come to an uneasy truce with the tree by the time Ken brought in the ladder to string the lights and place the golden angel at its very top. There was much pouncing and chasing of the light strings as he wound them around and around the tree’s dense branches, but somehow he managed to get the task done. As I opened the box of cherished ornaments, Sunshine made one giant leap and landed in the midst of them, skidding a couple of crocheted snowflakes and a wooden rocking horse onto the floor before I firmly removed her from the scene and put her back in the bedroom once again.
Mufasa looked on with an expression of boredom from his perch on the arm of the couch as I proceeded to hang ornaments on the tree. I was almost finished when I came around one side in time to see him poking at an ornament with one of his giant front paws until it began swinging wildly from side to side.
“MUFASA!” I roared in a loud, booming voice, knowing I’d have to nip that sort of behavior in the bud right up front or it would be a long, long Christmas season.
He gazed innocently at me as the wildly careening ornament slowly began to come back into focus – and lo and behold, it was a small, wooden cat!
The rest of the day went fairly well. Sunshine was allowed back out of the bedroom and we kept a close eye on both cats to make certain they didn’t decide to try climbing the tree or chewing on the lighted garland that was wrapped around the railing of the upstairs balcony. In fact, by the time we went to bed that night, we decided we had pretty much dodged the bullet when it came to unseemly cat behavior at Christmastime.
As I woke up the next morning, I was pleased to note that the tree was still standing, there were no ornaments on the floor and both cats seemed fit as a fiddle. It was when I happened to glance over at my handmade needlepoint nativity scene that I noticed that some little “elf” had raided it during the night – a sheep had been knocked to the floor and one of the wise men was lying majestically his side!