Intersections – Cat Christmas
By Nicki Salcedo
It is universally known that cats will go to heaven. It’s because cats like Christmas. They like Christmas more than dogs. In fact, cats like Christmas better than people. While I am woefully ignorant on pet theology, I feel comfortable knowing that one day Maddux will take the cat door through the pearly gates.
Brandy was our most memorable cat. We got her when I was 11 years old, and she was a teeny tiny kitten during her first Christmas. A kitten Christmas was a tactical error on our part. Brandy took one look at the tree and immediately climbed to the top. She was so little, she didn’t knock down the Christmas tree. Brandy just meowed in happiness while swaying on the tree trunk. Many times that season we would have to reach in between the lights and ornaments and extract a kitten from the branches.
Don’t bring outside in and expect your pets to act normal.
As the years went by, Brandy got too big to climb the tree, and she turned her feline attention to our Christmas presents. One year, we’d attached stick-on bows to our gifts. Brandy thought the presents looked better plain and systematically removed bows from all the presents and hid them in nearby corners.
My mother switched to using real ribbon the following year.
Brandy moved on to fighting tinsel. Why did we think that throwing shredded foil all over tree was a good idea? Even if you don’t have a cat, this is a colossally bad idea.
I guess part of my Christmas joy has always been watching my cats get ecstatic with Christmas happiness. Flashing lights and a dangling ornament go a long way with a cat. This is why animals are better than people. Animals love the small stuff. Have you ever seen a dog get a new tennis ball? Frisbee? A kid would never get that excited at a disc or sphere.
My cat Maddux no longer likes Christmas the way she did as a kitten.
Our first Christmas with her, I came home and found the top of an ornament and a hook. No glass ball anywhere. At first I could not figure where the glass ornament had gone. This happened for a couple of days before I caught her in the act. The act of eating glass. I was petrified.
I was prepared for the ornaments being knocked off or tinsel batted around. I had never heard of a cat eating glass. Do you know what that equates to in my stress and vet bills?
And she was fine. Not a bit of tragedy there. She ate glass and it didn’t bother her one bit.
The next year, I put the glass ornaments higher, but Maddux would always find a way to climb on a table or bookshelf to knock off a glass ball. And eat it. Her iron stomach gave me little comfort. Eating glass was too much for me. I love glass ornaments. I have a collection of beautiful ornaments from Germany that my kids will never see. I have not had a glass ornament on my tree in ten years. Thanks to the cat.
This year when the tree went up, my kids decorated the whole thing on their own. The tree was covered in kid-made ornaments. Paper snowflakes, popsicle stick angels, and felt stockings with glitter-glue names. Maddux sauntered by with distain. Like Christmas was dead to her.
“You hate Christmas, because you already ate it,” I whispered at her, but she ignored me as much as she ignored the tree.
I want Christmas to be fun, and safe, for my cat. She was my first baby. As many stories as I have with my family, I have about my cats. I want the holidays to be joyous. We bring in this huge symbol of outside into the inside. To dogs, it must look like a good place to pee. To cats, it must look like a glimpse of heaven. Cats know the true meaning of Christmas.
Run around like wild, climb a tree, pick fights with inanimate objects, and eat everything in sight. Happy Holidays.
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.