Decorating the tree is usually one of the biggest and most exciting parts of Christmas for most people.
But for Darlene Sellars of St. John’s, it’s become more of a headache.
It’s because every holiday season, her tree turns into a new home for her cat.
From the time Sellars takes the tree out of the box and stands it up, nine-year-old Oreo — better known as Kitty — takes over, climbing it, playing and hiding.
“She gets in the tree and stays there for hours looking at us. She climbs right inside and climbs all over the branches,” said Sellars, who has had dozens of ornaments destroyed as a result of Oreo’s tree frolicking.
“When I go to talk to her and try to get her out, she just looks at me. Sometimes, she will try to scratch you and then moves to another branch out of reach. I can be just sat watching TV and my tree is shaking as if it’s alive. Then, she’ll poke her little face out.
“It’s funny, but frustrating at the same time.”
Sellars is not the only one who goes through this every year. It seems our feline friends love Christmas trees. Something new to climb, with little balls and ornaments to play with — it’s a cat’s delight.
Tinsel is a no-no for pet owners, as it could be dangerous if ingested
Dozens of YouTube video compilations of cats and Christmas trees show just how much fun — and destruction — kitty can cause.
Jennifer Cummings, development co-ordinator at the SPCA, handles the organization’s Christmas tree fundraiser and hears the same stories from pet owners quite often.
“A lot of people say the same thing about their pets. It’s really common,” Cummings said. “I’ve heard people say they don’t have trees because their cat or dog would destroy it.”
When it comes to preventing the Whiskers and Rovers of our lives from wrecking our tree, pet owners get creative, she said.
“My dog used to knock stuff off the tree with his tail all the time, so now I put plastic, unbreakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree,” Cummings said. “A lot of cat owners put all plastic ornaments.”
Many pet owners, she said, ensure the tree is tied on for security, “because I’ve heard stories of pets knocking over trees, too.”
Some switch to a small, table-top tree she said, ensuring the table is sturdy.
There are other precautions to take, she said.
Tinsel is a no-no for pet owners, as it could be dangerous if ingested.
Ensuring ornaments are tied on securely is also a good idea.
Some pet owners have also suggested using orange peels around the tree, as cats hate the scent. Some place obstacles around the tree to keep pets away or unpleasantlt textured items, such as tin foil or sticky surfaces.
Checking lights, as well, to prevent electric shock is a must.
“The best thing is to just pay close attention to your pet when the tree goes up. Maybe try a few ornaments or ribbon first to see how it goes,” Cumming said.
“But just take precautions because you can never be too careful.”
Sellars said she’s accepted the fact that her cat has now become part of the Christmas tree.
“I realize I may never get to decorate my tree,” she said laughing. “But hey, ‘tis the season.”