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Legends of the Christmas cat

December 14, 2012
Daily Press

ESCANABA - Tiny bells and dangly tinsels and garland, curling ribbons and swags of balsam. Yes, Christmas is a tempting time for the cats of the house.

A tree comes in the house and is planted in the corner in Kitty's favorite spot. A wreath and candles fill up the window ledge where Tabby usually sleeps.

Decorations don every nook and cranny. Then comes the rustling of wrapping paper, holly berries and poinsettias are new exotic no-no's around the house.

Article Photos

Karen Wils photo

The cat is out of the bag ready to make Christmas merry with just a hint of mischief.

The kitchen is warm and sweet smelling, but the rug in front of the stove is a high traffic area now.

Fluffy must retire to the hallway or risk getting stepped on. Visitors come and visitors go and with them comes boxes and bags filled with new little gadgets. Strange sounds and smells bring out the curiosity in cats.

I am sure all cat owners have known the excitement of a kitten's first Christmas. Some house cats instantly turn into bobcats and try to climb to the top of the Christmas tree. Other cats can't resist the temptation to swat at the ornaments. If you have a real Christmas tree, chances are the tree stand full of water will become a drinking fountain for the family cat.

After Santa visits on Christmas morning, when the kids have the living room filled with wrapping paper, bows, boxes and bags, even the oldest cat has to investigate. A few snakes of red ribbon are pounced on. Empty boxes become hideouts. The cat in the box is ready to ambush any innocent passerby.

Once the family's gifts are all opened and stacked beneath the sparkling conifer, cats can't resist the urge to inventory each item. Dad's new wool socks make good tackling dummies. Mom's new Bath and Body stuff makes Mitzy sneeze. Junior's remote control car looked like fun at first until he started to chase Tiger with it.

Susie's doll with the quilted blanket makes the coziest place to take a cat nap.

Besides the Christmas tree, cats are also drawn to every family's manger scene, too. Creches of almost any size are like warm little welcoming bedrooms. So move over Baby Jesus, the old tom cat wants to snooze in the hay, too. The statue Mary and Joseph don't seem to mind at all. It kind of gives the stable a real natural look.

My Mother used to get upset with one of our cats years ago because this particular feline had to knock over the poor little sheep figurines in the manager scene daily.

Cats can add a lot of fun to the holiday season. But, pet owners have to remember to take some special care to keep Christmas safe for the family's cat. Watch cats by electrical cords, keep them away from real candles, and be aware of any edible Christmas plants or items around the house.

Provide a safe quiet place for them away from parties and pooches who do not respect cats.

The holiday season is NOT a good time for most people to adopt a new pet with all the business and hustle and bustle. Christmas decorations can be tempting to even old cats. And crying kittens at night usually don't fit into the Christmas merry-making.

But after the holidays, the Delta Animal Shelter has a lovely selection of cats and kittens sure to add cheer to your new year. A house is not a home without a cat's purr.

If you cannot have a cat the next best thing is to read about them. Here are some suggestions: "The Cat Who Came for Christmas" by Cleveland Amory, "Christmas Day Kitten" by James Herriot, "Cat Stories" by James Herriot, and "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron.


Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.



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