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Thursday, December 13, 2012

DIY Christmas 2012 with Barbara Wright

Attention Pet Lovers. You must read this post. Somehow I get the feeling Barbara Wright was trying to tell me something about kittens, but I'm not sure I got it. Read on and see if you can decode her secret message.

Keeping the Tinsel Out of the Cat

You cannot keep a kitten out of a Christmas tree. Christmas trees are every kitten's Everest. They must climb it, and no amount of blockading will keep them out. People who think they've solved the kitten problem will invariably wake up at 3 am to a loud crash. There is only one surefire way to keep a kitten out of a Christmas tree and that is a locked door…unless your kitten has lock-picks. Then you're doomed.

All pets are curious. Bring something new into their home, and they want to be involved. I've found that my dogs are content to keep me company while I decorate, but the cats want to be all up in my holiday business.  


For my adult cats (because you cannot keep a kitten out of a Christmas tree), I usually don't decorate the bottom two layers of branches on my tree. To a cat, the dangling ornament on the tree will look exactly like the dangle-ly toys made for cats.

Besides keeping the lower branches free of ornaments, I try to make any ornaments that may be in reach the unbreakable kind, such as these cute tiny presents. Most pretty ornaments I've seen in stores are made of plastic now anyway, so even if kitty does get involved, you won't have any breakage. 

If you have a kitten, however, you may want to leave all breakable ornaments packed this year because YOU CANNOT KEEP A KITTEN OUT OF A CHRISTMAS TREE.

My dogs are more curious about things that smell nice in the house. They want all of the holiday dinner and they want it now. I try to keep in mind that people food can make my dogs sick, and some foods (like chocolate) are toxic. This doesn't stop with food, I'm afraid. A curious dog (especially a puppy) will be tempted to try anything. I avoid putting scented candles or cinnamon pine cones anywhere a dog can reach them…or where a cat can knock them into the dog territory.

This extends to plants and flowers as well.  Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can make animals sick. From what I've read, this is really only if the animal eats the plants in large amounts, but still, you don't want to be making an emergency pet visit around the holidays, so my advice is to buy fake plants. Even then, I keep these away from my youngest cat because she likes chewing on them.

I try to decorate far from where my pets are interested in hanging out, places where the cats never go and the dogs cannot reach.  

The best gift you can give your furry friends this holiday (and every day) is patience. They're going to be curious about what you're doing, but if the decorations in their reach are safe to explore, and your pets are anything like mine, they'll get bored quickly.

Except for kittens. You cannot keep them out of a Christmas tree.

Who has the funniest holiday pet story? Leave it in the comments and you could win this fabulous pack of pet toys! It's a toy turkey, roll, corn, potato, and broccoli. Perfect for dogs, and if your cats are like mine, purrfect for them too! I'll pick one winner that Maria will announce on Dec 24th.

Bio: Barbara Ann Wright writes fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories when not adding to her enormous book collection or ranting on her blog. Her short fiction has appeared twice in Crossed Genres Magazine and once made Tangent Online's recommended reading list. She is a member of Broad Universe and the Outer Alliance and helped create Writer's Ink in Houston. The Pyramid Waltz is her first novel. It's sequel, For Want of a Fiend, comes out May 13, 2013.


Don't forget, you can leave a comment on any previous DIY Christmas 2012 post for a chance to win the prize on that post. Who knows? You might get lucky.

Other DIY posts from:

Shelley Munro
Cathy Pegau
Gwen Gardner
There are more great posts to come. All contests end December 21, 2012.


TerriBruce said...

I had two cats (one of whom was named Mischief for a reason) that thought the tree was a slide, not Everest. They would get on the armrest of the couch and LAUNCH themselves into the tree, usually landing near the top, and then SLIDE down the tree, flattening all the branches and stripping lights and ornaments as they went (we always have a fake tree). They would do this OVER and OVER and OVER for the entire month the tree was up, YEAR after YEAR. Stupidly, I would refluff and decorate the tree after every attack - definition of insanity, anyone???

Strangely enough, those kitties have been gone for several years and the new cats are super angels - one couldn't care less and the other is curious but restrains herself - and my reaction is to scoff at thim "some cats you are - you don't even attack the tree." :-)

Misha Gericke said...

Mmm... I'm thinking I'm doing my Christmas trees wrong. My cats never go near them.


Barbara Ann Wright said...

Awesome, Terri! I love it.

Some cats can't be bothered, Misha. They're too cool for xmas.

Maria Zannini said...

My cat only messed with the bottom balls so I switched them out with plastic to avoid any catastrophes.

But one time I made the mistake of leaving a boxed gift set of sausages under the tree.

That did not end well.

Shelley Munro said...

I don't have any pet stories, but I have learned you cannot keep a kitten away from a Christmas tree! Loved the photos with your post :)

Angela Brown said...

It's a good thing we have no pets in our house. My Chipmunk was so busy watching Spongebob while we decorated the Christmas tree that the bottom row got the most ornament attention from her. And they're breakable. So I've definitely learned that pets can and will have an impact on the decoration choices, especially kittens since they'll end up toppling the tree trying to conquer it like its their own Everest lol!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I can't even express the hilarity i found in this post. The photo captions - THE PHOTO CAPTIONS!

I don't really have a funny holiday pet story. Though once our cockatiel Hedwig got outside on Xmas Eve. It was cold (in MN) and snowy and he kept flying further and further away (And, at one point a hawk tried to grab him. Dead serious). We thought we wouldn't be able to catch him, but we gave it one more try before bed and managed to knock him out of the tree he was in with a broom and he was too cold to fly. We caught him and brought him home and it wasn't a christmas tragedy.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I bet it didn't, Maria. I have to have all the food locked in the pantry.


I'm glad I could teach you something, Shelley. ^_^

Barbara Ann Wright said...

That's very true, Angela. In fact, with all those enticing ornaments on the bottom, you might have some kittens trying to break in.


Dang, Sarah! That sounds terrifying! One of our cats got out in December and got stuck in a tree. We finally got him down by lifting a patio umbrella up and getting him to cling to the top!

Jenny Schwartz said...

What a lovely post!

One very lazy golden retriever is no threat to the Christmas tree, but the bowl of Christmas treats on the coffeetable at just dog-height...yeah, that's not going to happen!

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Jenny, I'm glad it's not going to happen, unless it's a bowl of steak.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I laughed out loud at "kitten Everest". LOL!

Mike Keyton said...

Love your pets. My only story might not have proved funny but I was an ignorant small boy. One Christmas I shared a toffe with my uncle's small dog. It stuck his teeth together and from that point on it was like watching a cartoon as it rolled on the floor, waggled its head - almost used its damn paws but to no avail. Eventually it melted and all was well. We both learned a lesson : )

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Jennifer, they must climb it because it's...there...


Mike, yowza. Poor puppy! You were small, so I forgive you. I once fed my pets peanut butter to see them spend all day trying to get it out of their teeth. They didn't complain, tho.