I’ve tried every positive-reinforcement technique I can find, but I still can’t keep my cats from investigating the counters. Likewise the table: If I have guests and we’re eating a meal, I have to put the cats in another room so we can enjoy our dinner in peace. They wake me up at 5:30 a.m., even on weekends, and sometimes they puke on my bedspread. But that doesn’t matter, because in every way that counts, they’re good kitties.
They don’t climb the Christmas tree, even though it’s an extremely tempting target. They very rarely have knock-down, drag-out, fur-flying fights, and they’re not big on running for the door as soon as it opens. They’re more than willing to settle in for a good snuggle and keep me warm on cold winter nights.
Because Father Catsmas never thinks of her ÔÇª um, I mean his ÔÇª cats’ bratty antics, he visits Paws and Effect HQ every year with a boatload of toys and treats.
Honestly, it’s at least as much fun giving my cats Christmas presents as it is anyone else I know. It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling to wake up on Christmas morning and lay out all the presents under the tree while the cats are eating breakfast.
And then when they’re done eating, they run over to investigate, just like little kids. “What is it? What’s for me?” I can almost hear them saying as they look at the things on strings, kitty stockings, battable toys, and treats.
I distribute the gifts by tossing a few jingle balls and watching the gang run around after them. Then I break out a thing on a string and burn off a few calories before I distribute the treats.
Of course, the big hit of the day is always catnip. Siouxsie, being the Top Cat, is the first to investigate that euphoric smell.
Thomas butts in pretty quickly, though. He’s a total catnip lush. In fact, if I don’t distribute that beautiful green right away, he’ll rip the bag open and get it all over the floor. This will be followed by an orgy of rolling around, growling, and licking his nether regions with just a little too much excitement.
After the catnip rush has eased and the cats have passed out, it’s finally time for me to relax and enjoy my coffee before setting off to visit my family.
Even my family gives me Christmas presents for the cats. Usually this consists of scraps of a delicious feast prepared by my sister-in-law or a special treat for the “grandkitties.” Everyone in my family has realized that even if they think I’m nuts for lavishing such treatment on my cats, they should just play along.
I know I’m not the only person who gives holiday gifts to my cats. What kind of gifts do you give? Do your friends and family think you’re crazy? Do you care? Share your stories (and holiday cat pictures) in the comments!
About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, professional cat sitter, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.
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