We always love decorating the house for Christmas but last year, for the first time since I can remember, I didn't have a Christmas tree.
The reason was the four kittens we had taken in, along with their mother, in the summer of 2009. They had shown, while they were still out in the garden, that they loved climbing trees. In addition, when we brought them inside, within a few days Jester had tried to climb the silk ficus tree in the bedroom, with the result that the whole thing toppled over.
We could only imagine what would happen to a Christmas tree.
And then, of course, you only have to Google "cat in Christmas tree" to see our concerns.
Well this year we decided one year without a tree was enough and that perhaps they had matured enough (and perhaps learned from the ficus incident that these indoor trees couldn't be trusted to stay upright) so we thought we'd put up a small tree this year. By placing it on a table we hoped to discourage investigation and climbing.
Naturally Jester, the class clown, was first to investigate but two feet stayed on the ground at all times.
And, after sniffing at it for a while, they decided it was boring and went back to wrestling on the kitchen floor or chasing each other up and down the cat tree and all was well with the Christmas tree for a couple of days.
Then came the morning when I heard crrrrraaaaaaash! from the living room and heard the sound of cats zooming in all directions.
Bandit, seen here, looked at me with a "I didn't touch it, honest!" look.
The suspected culprit, the aforementioned Jester, was shaking in the far corner of the room.
We surmise he had been patting at the tree and got a claw caught in the wiring for the lights and, when he pulled his paw out, pulled the tree down with it. Poor little guy was obviously spooked.
I decided to give it another try so we stood the tree back up (secured this time with velcro so it won't be so easy to knock over) and put the ornaments back on.
This morning the tree is still standing and the cats are showing no interest. Fingers crossed it makes it through the Holiday!
I wish each and every one of you the very best of the Holiday Season and look forward to a wonderful New Year.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.