Merlin, Gris Gris, Domino and Odin write: Disregard the byline. This was not written by the yellow-haired woman, aka our cat mom, but by her cats. We taught her all the cat wisdom she knows. It’s come to our attention our furless two-legged companions need all the advice they can get during the so called happy holiday season. Listen up, or someone might pee under your tree. Just sayin’.
1. ‘Tis the season to be merry, but not to behave badly in restaurants
Cats have the good sense not to frequent restaurants (we however do not mind doggy bags, especially you don’t refer to them as doggy bags). If you must eat out, do not leave your manners at home. Don’t be the annoying person who:
- Instagrams every course.
- Takes endless selfies.
- Steals bites from others’ plates without asking.
- Pees on the restroom seat or floor.
- Texts secretly while pretending to listen.
- Talks down to the server, or worse, doesn’t make eye contact.
- Tips poorly. See above. They are human and need to make a living.
2. Don’t be a Scrooge
Gifts cats want:
- Cozy cat beds or your cashmere sweater (an old moth-eaten one is okay).
- Catnip mice or real rodents (okay, maybe not real, but a cat can dream, right?).
- Treats. Spring for the good stuff without junky additives.
- Time. Your undivided attention for playing and just hanging out.
Gifts cats don’t want:
- Fake reindeer antlers. Ever.
- Santa sweaters or hats.
- A puppy.
- A rhinestone collar or glittery anything.
3. Less is more
Holiday excess is a snore. Do less and nap more. Take a cue from us cats. You’ll never see a herd of cats:
- Shopping ’til we drop.
- Drunk texting an ex. Please note: Texts by Mittens are exempt.
- Dancing drunk on the boss’s desk at the office party.
- Going into debt buying more than we can afford (exceptions made for catnip).
- Accepting every party invite. Hello boring whine-and-cheese party.
4. Don’t leave us home alone
Our independence is a myth and accidents do happen (usually in your favorite shoe).
If you are going away for more than 24 hours, arrange for proper cat care. That means fresh water and food twice daily, litter box cleaned out daily, and interactive play time. Leave emergency vet’s number and other written instructions.
When filmmaker Stanley Kubrick took one of his rare holidays, he left meticulous notes on caring for his eight cats and five dogs. The document included 39 typed pages of detailed scheduling, pet group dynamics and obsessive troubleshooting — the two species were never to be fed at the same time, what to do about cats fights and any victimization of a three-legged stray dog recently taken in, etc.
The time to arrange cat care is today and not the day before you’re leaving. If you have a reliable friend or neighbor, great. If not, a professional pet sitter is worth her weight in catnip.
5. Ho, ho, no!
“No” is not a four-letter word.
- Say no to adding one more thing on your over-stuffed to-do list.
- Say no to out-of-town guests who want to stay for a week or, horrors, more. We all know guests and fish smell after three days.
- Say no to re-gifting unless it’s from Tiffany or Petco.
- Say no to adopting a pet during the holidays, but say yes to fostering or volunteering at a shelter.
Did we mention napping is a cure-all and all cats’ default position? When in doubt, nap. It might keep you out of jail, out of debt and less out of your mind. And our last tip: Don’t leave decorations or tree ornaments within cat-swatting distance. Cats are genetically engineered to sing: “Oh Christmess tree, oh Christmess tree, your ornaments are history …”
Peace, love & purrs,
Merlin, Gris Gris, Domino and Odin
About the author: Layla Morgan Wilde is a holistic cat behaviorist, an award-winning writer/photographer and founder of the premier online magazine Cat Wisdom 101. A passionate advocate for cats, she founded the Toronto-based Annex Cat Rescue in 1997. In addition to her blogging at Cat Wisdom 101, she blogs at Boomer Muse and contributes to Petfinder.com and Nordic Spotlight. Wilde is a professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association. She lives in Westchester County, NY with four cats.