This is our first Christmas with our new edition, George and boy do we know we've got him now. I grew up with cats but until now none of those cats (even as kittens) ever took the slightest interest in our Christmas tree or the decorations. I kind of guessed George might be different just because of his fascination with everything and I was right. Let's put it this way - he is obsessed with the tree!
We actually have two trees, our main big one and a very little one. Even though our condo is probably not really big enough for both I'm such a Christmas fan I can't help but get both of them out. I decorated the small one first and as soon as I did it George decided this was worth dive bombing repeatedly. It is only small so very easy to topple over. The only saving grace being that it's equally no issue to stand it up again and replace any fallen baubles.
I then got the bigger one out and as soon as I'd put it up (even before any decorations were on it) he was, as I suspected he might, climbing it repeatedly. Initially we put it in the spot we've put this tree for the past two Christmases in Singapore but I quickly realised there were lots of launch pads for an inquisitive kitten to jump from on to the tree so decided it needed to be moved. Unfortunately our condo isn't massive so this then presented the problem of where we should move it to. If you do any Internet searches on making a tree kitten/cat proof it suggests placing the tree somewhere with plenty of space around it, so they can't jump on it. That's fine in many homes in the UK, for example, that have plenty of space but over here those kind of options are limited in most condos. The other suggestion is to have it somewhere with a door that can be shut to keep the cat out when needed. Again not so easy here when our living room is our main living area. I like to see the tree so putting it in one of the other rooms is totally impractical for me. In the end my husband suggested we put it on the opposite side of the room to where it normally is which doesn't have as many launch pads (not that this has stopped him) for him to jump from.
So I moved the tree and began attempting to decorate it. This was just too exciting for George who proceeded to climb up and down it repeatedly, bashing all the decorations off as fast as I was putting them on. I gave up and in a fit of annoyance decided we couldn't have a big tree up this year and would just have to make do with the little one and a few other bits around. After I'd calmed down though (and taken everything down) I decided to give it another shot and try again with the tree.
I'd read on the Internet that spraying the tree with citrus spray and putting orange peel around the bottom of it was a good way to keep cats away as they dislike the smell. I was a little sceptical about whether it would work as, for example, all cats are meant to go mad for catnip but none of ours (including George) have ever shown the slightest interest in it. Anyhow I got some spray and gave it a go and, as I suspected, it didn't work! The photo below was actually taken shortly after spraying the tree and as you can see he is happily climbing it again.
|Yep that's him caught up the tree!|
This time though and despite his constant climbing I was determined to persevere. Weirdly as I started decorating the tree and was putting the lights on George didn't turn a hair and made no attempt to bother me or climb it. I actually started to wonder what he was plotting and sure enough it wasn't long before he started climbing it again. As a result of other commitments I then had to wait a day or so before I could finish decorating the rest of the tree and in that time he climbed it a few times but thankfully didn't manage to pull it over. I was convinced I was going to come home and find a tree sprawled on the floor.
When it came to finishing the decorations I'd already decided that only those with no sentimental value or that were not easily breakable would go on the tree. Instead the special ones have been placed in other spots beyond his reach. Of course he insisted on 'helping me' as I tried to decorate which resulted in me having to put him briefly in another room so I could finish it in peace. Since I finished decorating it he has climbed the tree countless times, knocked baubles off and also managed to ensure that two sets of lights now don't work. I can't face taking them off again to try and find the loose connection so I'm afraid they'll have to wait now until I take the decorations down. I hope that perhaps by next year he'll have calmed down just a little bit!