"You better watch out, you better not cry" might be a good behavioral deterrent for little kids, but there's no gimmick that works on pets. "Santa is watching" does not prevent Phineas from gnawing on the Christmas tree. If I hide an elf on a shelf, you'll find Matilda up there with him (probably biting him, actually). You better believe that both of my cats are on the naughty list.
Really, who can blame them? This is a season of enticing foods, drunken strangers, and tail-pulling babies. We bring a perfectly climbable tree into the house and put shiny temptations on every branch. It's no wonder that every year we experience a bit of cat-related holiday mayhem. Just look at our Thanksgiving aftermath...
Our kitty mishaps have ranged from amusing (Tildy's obsessive pilfering of faux cranberry vase filler and Phinney's sneaky turkey tasting) to slightly stressful (like the cat + dog chase that led to a broken mirror).
The key to avoiding disaster is simply to know your pets. Between Phinney the plant-nibbling ribbon-swallower and Matildor the Destroyer, we have our hands full.
- If we're expecting a house full of guests, I know that Phinney will hide under the bed until the party has died down- but Matilda loves to mix and mingle. I put a bell on her collar to prevent her from getting underfoot.
- Ribbons are Phinney's ultimate temptation. A pricy trip to the emergency vet in the middle of assembling wedding invites taught us to keep loose ribbons and bows out of reach, and to skip the tinsel on our tree.
- Matilda likes to bat at baubles, so we tie ornaments onto the tree.
- Phineas has a sensitive belly, so we don't overdo it with the treats.
- Knowing that Tildy holds grudges (she's been hissing at my brother for years now), we're careful to make slow introductions to new people and animals.
- Like many cats, Phineas can't keep his teeth off of the greenery- so we avoid poisonous poinsettias.
So, a few questions for you in the comments section:
How do you keep your pets out of trouble during the holidays?
What's your most memorable Christmas Cat-astrophe?