That Kitty Christmas Spirit

Treats, time off and a tree full of toys, aka ornaments: Christmas was made for cats.

The holiday season was made for cats. Think about it: all the treats, the huge cat tree – I mean Christmas tree – loaded down with sparkly, shiny toys, presents invitingly wrapped in crinkly paper and bouncy ribbons. It’s a kitty playground, there’s no doubt about it! The holiday season is a magical time for human beings, but cats also pick up on that sense of wonder and fun. You can see it in the way their eyes glitter as their people go about their festive preparations – the decorating, the tree trimming, and all that cooking.

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But at this time of year, there are so many articles, online and in magazines, warning pet parents about the dangers of the holiday season – the tinsel that can get eaten, the electrical cords that might get chewed, Christmas treats that will make a cat sick…. they are all necessary reminders, but what a downer! You’ve read those stories, no doubt several of them, so I’m here to tell you to have fun this holiday season with your cats. And I think fun includes stretching a few rules.

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• Yes, kitties can really get in the way of wrapping presents and they aren’t supposed to play with ribbons, but why not save a few presents to wrap that don’t have to look perfect (like maybe the gifts you are giving them) and let them enjoy a few moments of supervised madness?

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• Lots of holiday food is made with ingredients that aren’t good for your cat, like onions, garlic, many fruits, etc., so while you are in the kitchen, make sure there is something tasty and special for your cats to eat. When I was growing up and my family had turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas, my mother or grandmother always cooked the giblets, plain, and some of them would get chopped up into the stuffing and the rest would be given to the cats and dog. It was a ritual they all loved.

• You already know to put non-breakable ornaments on the bottom branches of the Christmas tree, but you can also decorate the cat tree with sparkly pom-pom balls and green and red catnip mice. You don’t even have to hang them – just scatter them on the tree, and put them back after the cats knock them down and play with them.

Give it a little thought and I bet you can come up with some great ideas to share holiday fun with your cats. I’ve given my kitties lots of presents over the years, but you know what their favorite was? An empty box that I wrapped with lots of paper and a bow. They had fun unwrapping it, and even more fun playing in it. Sometimes the best gift you can give your cats – and yourself – is a few minutes to play and goof off – and relax! With all the stress and obligations that surround the holidays, isn’t it nice to spend time with friends you don’t have to impress?

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