I’ve had many cats over the years: Ebony, Cleo, Beau, Jazz, Randy, Kato, Venus, Pudding, Josephine, Sunday, Cyan, Petunia and now Oliver and Willow.
Oliver and Willow are rescue cats I got from the North West Animal Shelter this past year. Oliver is a 15 lb. domestic short hair, white with tabby markings. He’s sweet and a bit skittish and has a distinct aversion to all children. He’s about 16 months old. Willow is a 12 lb., 8-month-old domestic short hair with fur the colour of a wild rabbit accented with tabby markings. He’s a ball of curiosity and fearless wonder. And he loves everybody!
Willow is precocious; a true kitten through and through. He’s the kind of cat that will find a way to get on top of a door and drop on your head when you enter a room. He has a particular fondness for boxes and is adept at opening closet doors. His biggest goal in life at the moment is to figure out how to climb up the shower curtain to perch on the rod. Having a bath is only done with him firmly locked out on the hall side of the bathroom.
In all my years with all these cats, I have never once had to concern myself with the safety of my Yule tree. This year it’s a completely different story…
Normally I decorate the Yule tree early in December. I love having the tree up, and now that I’ve converted from natural to artificial, I enjoy it for the entire month. I’ve been anticipating the decorating spree that was originally slated for December 1st. A few weeks ago, I started to wonder… What is Willow going to do?
I decided to bring the tree up even earlier and today I retrieved it from the basement. I thought that I should maybe put it up without decorations for a few days to see how things go. Setting the box down in the living room, I was not disappointed by either of my feline companions. They both woke immediately from their naps and began to explore it. Oliver lost interest after a few minutes, but Willow spent over an hour sniffing, climbing and doing his best to find a way in. I set about cleaning the house while he gave the tree box the once-over.
Before I ate lunch, I opened the box. Will was ecstatic. He climbed right in.
After lunch I took the pieces out of the box and left them on the floor. Oliver gave them a dismissive perusal, but Willow burrowed into the branches, making a game of popping out of them whenever Oliver passed close by. He was in kitten heaven!
Mid-afternoon, I started assembling the tree. Both cats were in awe as I put the three sections together. They circled me and the tree, sniffing and pawing at the branches. Oliver’s curiosity was soon sated and he went off for his second afternoon nap. Not so Willow. It was clear to him that I had just provided a new towy for his amusement. His fascination deepened when I plugged in the lights. I’m almost certain that he’s part crow; he loves sparkly things. But he did remain firmly on the floor and made no attempt to climb or leap into the branches or otherwise give me cause for concern. I was cautiously optimistic.
I settled down at supper time to watch Star Trek X: Nemisis, thinking that the Yule tree was safe and Willow had lost interest. All was well, until a movement caught my eye and I looked over to see Willow crawling – ever so carefully – through the branches. Yay!
Three things ran through my mind: 1) the tree will definitely have to be tied up; 2) it’s a good thing all the ornaments are plastic; and 3) where’s my video camera?!
You can see a snippet of a Willow in a Yule Tree here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kikjDwjtK6A&feature=g-upl