December 1: The family starts talking about this year’s Christmas tree. Usually, the decision to be made is whether to get a real tree or put up the fake one. This year, the question was whether or not to put one up at all. This summer, two kittens joined our household. Lena and Cosmo are now eight months old, but they are still feisty. As my husband has observed, everything is a cat toy.

Cleo decorating our seasonal cat toy.

December 6: We decide to put up the artificial tree with inexpensive ornaments that won’t break. Because they are also chewing everything in sight, I do not put out any of my embroidered ornaments. I want to still love these cats when the holidays are over. We set a squirt bottle next to the tree.

Our tree with minimal cat damage; note the ornaments on the floor.
(Photo by Kurt Fristrup)

December 7: The first ornament is found on the floor in another room.

December 8: For the next week, more and more ornaments migrate to the floor and other rooms of the house. I never see a cat near the tree.

End of week one

December 12: The tree is looking really bad. The cats climb higher and higher, bending more branches and pulling everything down to the ground.

Christmas kitten casualties

December 18: Disturbed by just how bad the tree looks, my brother-in-law takes the whole thing apart. He straightens the branches and my sister re-strings the lights. No one has the energy to put all the ornaments back on.

December 19: The tree is untouched. Maybe the cats won’t be interested in it if it doesn’t have any ornaments, so we leave it as is.

Cosmo admiring his handy work.

December 22: The tree is down. The cats are very proud of themselves and treat the fallen tree like a jungle gym.

Cosmo and Lena, discussing their victory.
Cosmo, Lena, and our poor defeated tree.
Lena, insisting she’s innocent.

December 23: The tree lies there looking peaceful. Liam says we won’t be able to put our presents under the tree this year. We will have to put them next to it. We consider waiting until Christmas morning to put it back up.

Have you had kittens in the house at Christmas time? What do you do to protect your Christmas tree?

6 thoughts on “Everything Is A Cat Toy, Christmas Edition”

  1. Fishing line tied to tree and at least one point on the wall. Also, go to Petco and get Fooey. It’s worse than bitter apple according to Marco the hellion Siamese. We’ve been putting cloth ornaments from dollar store at the bottom. Squirt bottles often create the wrong reaction…guess how I know

    1. I didn’t know that they made keep-off spray that worked for pets… I assume it doesn’t smell too bad or you wouldn’t want to have it in the house? We have great success with spray bottles. Squirting with water sends the cats running. They’ve already learned it so well that just making the sound of the squirt bottle (shhht!shhhht!) chases them off. But you have to be there when they are misbehaving and they know it.

  2. I’ve had to replace all of our lights and redo the tree because our younger cat chewed through the cords. We decided to leave the lower level of branches un-lit, and to put the end of the cord out of reach when we aren’t around to monitor it. His mom suggested spraying vinegar on the tree/cords to make it distasteful to them.

    1. Lots of adjustments are necessary! We’re taking the tree down a week earlier than normal. It just seems easier.

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