One of the best things about the holidays is the excuse to dress up and photograph it, proving to your family that you’re alive and that you own an iron. It’s my opinion that if an outfit looks like it could belongs to Liza Minnelli, then it also belongs around your cookie-and-whiskey-guzzling body and under some mistletoe. Equally enthusiastic about creating a holiday card were my roommates, Jessica and Megan, but after weeks upon weeks of trying to coordinate schedules, it was clear that the three of us together in one room was not destined to happen. Megan claimed she was busy doing something important (buying me lots of presents, probably) and so she was disincluded.
Too embarrassed to mail out an Odd Couple version of a holiday card, Jessica and I decided to enlist the help of my Katze, who, ever the team player, was willing to rearrange her busy schedule of sleeping and ruining my curtains to squeeze in our shoot, proving yet again that she is far superior to Auntie Megan.
I’m an idiot. I thought it would be a breeze. In reality, there are probably an equal number of pros and cons when you include your pet in your holiday card. Here they are.
At first, Katze seemed gung-ho about the whole idea, and she planted herself by my side as I began to set up. She helped by chewing on the tinsel. She helped by spilling the entire bag of ornaments I set out onto the floor. When she attempted to help me investigate the relationship between a string of lights and an outlet, I put her in another room for a while because that’s about all the “help” I can handle.
I’m not sure what happened during the 20 minutes she spent in the room while I finished with the decor, but by the time Jessica and I were ready to go, our decorations were the least interesting things on the planet. We spent the better part of an hour simply trying to get Katze to join us. It turns out that trying to get a cat to pose for a photo is … well, it’s like herding cats (or … herding a cat).
Look, I’m medium. I’m medium kind, medium generous, medium willing to hang out and not complain too much about things that don’t matter. I’m not the best, and I’m certainly not the worst. If you were to get a card from me, sans-cat, your reaction might go a little something like, “Oh, Laura sent a card. How medium.”
But if you were to receive a card from my adorable Katze, Jessica, and me, you might say something more like, “Oh, look at Katze! How cute is that?” If the Internet has taught us anything, it’s that cats make everything 99 percent more enjoyable.
You’d better plan to keep your schedule as wide-open as a cats, because this is a long, long process. We wanted Katze to feel comfortable, so we hunkered down to wait until she was ready to crawl onto our laps.
Here are some things we did while waiting for Katze to “feel it.”
We opted for the soundtrack from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, because the uncooperative Katze was giving off serious Grinch vibes. If your pet isn’t a monster, go for Mariah Carey’s 1994 Christmas album — or any classical choral arrangement. My only request is that you not play “Santa Baby” because it’s weird and gross and doesn’t need the encouragement.
I grew up in a cloud of Bath & Body Works. For much of my life, the popular fragrance brand was the only gift to give, and to me, December is synonymous with chemical gingerbread and soapy cinnamon apples.
But not this year. Did I mention that it’s difficult to get a cat to pose for a photo? Jessica and I went for the bribe-the-living-daylights-out-of-your-pet method, a method that requires a bag of treats and an annoying baby voice. After accidentally rubbing my eye with a salty, fishy smelling finger, I found myself pining for the B&BW Winter Cranberry days of yore.
Look! Look at me keeping something besides myself alive! It might not seem like a big deal to you, but to members of my family who still think of me as “the teenager who got kicked out of school for bringing her voodoo doll to class” receiving this card will be a great comfort. While “not ruining something” isn’t the most impressive bragging right, I am at the point where I will take what I get.
Happy holidays! Send me photos of you and your cat so that I can prove to Katze that I’m not the only person that makes her animal do this!
Read more by Laura Jaye Cramer
About the author: Laura Jaye Cramer is a freelance writer and ballet dancer based out of San Francisco. When she isn’t busy tending to her sweet little cat baby, she can be found drooling over artifacts in a museum, building a shrine to Dolly Parton, or eating a trough of guacamole. Stalk her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.