Akron attorney Leza Cole half-jokingly asked for advice on keeping her cats out of the Christmas tree. I responded in kind: Give in to the reality that you are powerless and view the feline as a living, lovable ornament.
Cole said she has resorted to using double-sided sticky tape on the floor to keep the tree upright after 12-year-old Nicky and her mother, Lucky, who is 14, have had their way with it. What’s next? “Do I anchor it to the wall?” she asked.
The opportunistic felines wait until she goes to work before attacking the tree.
“They never do it when I’m sitting there in the room,” she said.
Is there a way to successfully keep Kitty from turning your tree into her personal jungle gym?
Cole said she has tried to take the progressive approach: “I’ve put pieces up over time to let them get used to it,” she said.
She’s also used plastic ornaments; gone without a tree; used a cardboard cutout of a tree; and tried a tabletop version that just didn’t quite fit the bill.
In reality, the fact that the cats have taken advantage of Cole’s good nature is a long-standing tradition that began when Lucky moved into the home’s walkout basement uninvited and proceeded to give birth when Cole’s brother owned the home.
By the time he moved out and Cole moved in, the cats had established squatters’ rights.
“The agreement was I would keep the mother and daughter and they would help me paint the house,” she said.
Already, the cats had the upper hand. The situation has not changed in the 10 years she’s had them, she said.
But let’s try to see this from a cat’s point of view.
A tree standing in a living room is the ultimate kitty Christmas present. A cat must think it has the best human “parents” in the world.
Then, to keep them really entertained, we put all those sparkly, swaying, twirling ornaments on the branches. Who could blame a cat for believing she’s died and gone to the kitten amusement park in the sky?
But there really are people who have investigated the best ways to help keep your cats from toppling your tree.
The folks at Cat International have offered these suggestions at www.catsinternational.org/articles/misc_behavior_problems/Keeping_Kitty_out_of_the_Christmas_Tree.html:
Give Kitty her presents early. If one of them is a tall cat tree, it will help. Cats love to be up high and it gives them a feeling of security and domination, which is something essential “to the feline psyche.”
Well-made catnip and interactive toys may keep her distracted for a while and a tall, sturdy sisal scratching post will redirect her energy.
Now, I’m not sure this is something I would do to accommodate a cat’s desire to climb, but Cats International suggests you screw a hook into the ceiling and attach a string from the hook to the tree top in the event Kitty launches herself from across the room.
Stick to unbreakable ornaments and tie them onto the branches rather than letting them hang. And since pets love to drink water out of the tree stand, don’t add preservatives that could be harmful to pets.
Some other suggestions include:
• Spray an indoor cat repellent on the tree before decorating it. This is most effective with artificial trees.
• Remember that cats can launch an attack on the tree from chairs, tables and other furniture pieces, so keep these potential launching pads far from the tree.
• Hang lemon- or pine-scented air fresheners from several of the low branches (most cats find perfumes repelling).
• Sound deterrents are highly effective with some cats. A mini-motion detector with an alarm chime works well to keep cats from forbidden areas.
Of course, the best defense is to keep the tree in a room that can be closed off, but then, what fun would that be?
Other animals in the news:
• Photos With Santa — Pet Supplies Plus, 2891 Waterloo Road, Springfield. Fundraiser to benefit Paws With Pride animal rescue from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Sunday, and Dec. 15-16. Dogs, cats puppies and children will be photographed for $7.50, or $10 for two 4-by-6 inch photos, frame included.
• Home for the Holidays Adoption event — Pawsibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron, 7996 Darrow Road, Twinsburg, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Adoption fee for all cats and kittens 6 months and over is $5 and all dogs and puppies over the age of 6 months is $55 (upon application approval). Fee includes spay/neuter, age appropriate vaccines, microchip and 30-day free trial of pet insurance through ShelterCare.
• Winter Boot Camp — Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is offering its first camp for kids ages 5-12. The three half-day camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and full-day sessions from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day from Dec. 26-28. Kids will meet in the Jungle Lab classroom at the RainForest and explore a different theme each day. Each session includes tours of zoo exhibits, Get Close encounters with small animals, arts and crafts and conservation-themed games. Fee is $85 for half-day, $115 for full day, discount for zoo members. Fees include snacks and participants are encouraged to bring a brown-bag lunch. To register, visit www.clemetzoo.com/education/breakcamps or call 216-635-3391.
Adoption party at Park Subaru — Sponsored by the Pawsibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron, Park Subaru will host an adoption event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the dealership on South Arlington Road, along the Green Auto Mile in Green. Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available.
Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.