Climbing around the Christmas tree

My mother once brought home a cat like the one in the video. White Socks had an unerring instinct for sniffing out cat haters. His favorite victim was part of my mother’s church women’s group. She detested cats so much she wouldn’t even touch White Socks long enough to push the crafty creature off her lap – which, of course, was where he always leapt the moment she settled into a chair.

One Christmas we decorated our usual scraggly tree, the one that needed a branch added here and there and a whole section turned toward the wall. We decorated it with our usual assortment of family heirlooms – the glass balls and birds, the bubbling lights, and the child-crafted decorations.

In my mind the tree was stunning, shining with lights and memories. White Socks thought so too and immediately set out to bat the bubbling lights and run up the tree after glass ornaments.

We finally figured out a means of tying the tree to immovable objects of some sort or another so at least it stayed upright. We never did figure out how to keep White Socks from climbing it. So the breakable ornaments were tucked back into boxes. The bubbler lights were replaced with plain ones. We strung garlands of cranberries and popcorn.

The alternative was banning White Socks from the living room until Christmas was over. In a house with one bedroom, a tiny kitchen, a small living room, and no inside plumbing, cat banishing is really not an option. Besides, the mischievous pet was part of the family, and challenges make the best stories.

Every cat lover who’s erected a Christmas tree and seen the wreckage caused by a curious feline will relate to this new episode of Simon’s Cat. And if you haven’t yet met Simon Tofield, I can almost guarantee you will become a fan of his cat.


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