Comforting Cat Cat: A post-Christmas story

Cat Cat Box

I hate the way the year begins. Not the drinking and countdown and everyone pretending to know the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne”—I actually find all that rather charming. But the packing away the ornaments, the sad absence of colorful giftwrap paper, the final dregs of eggnog, and the defrocking and removal of the Christmas tree. Especially the defrocking and removal of the Christmas tree.

You see, living in California, I don’t get to step outside and hear the crunch of snow beneath my boots, or watch my breathe circulate in the cold air. Christmas is the only winter I have, and even if it is a forced season, I am grateful for it. Then, with the heft of a pine tree with brittle needles out the front door, it’s over.

Every year I mourn. And I mourn alone because by that point I think everyone else is kind of relieved that it’s all over and they don’t have to panic and do last-minute shopping for another 355 days or so.

But this year, I had an unlikely ally in my grief. You see, Cat Cat had become quite fond of the tree. She spent an entire month staring in wonder at shiny glass bulbs, and then smacking them brutally down to the ground with her fluffy paw. Then, if there was enough time (aka, I wasn’t around to stop her), she’d bat the poor bulb across the floors in a merry Christmas chase that often resulted in a little pile of broken glass. The tree was her refuge. She’d engage in some illicit behavior and then run and hide beneath it, secure in the knowledge that we couldn’t reach her there. Jack liked to chase her around it until she vomited on the tree skirt, and then they’d resume the chase, leaving me to mop up the unfortunate fabric.

Then the tree was gone. Only now there are two of us staring sadly at the bare white floor where it used to rest.

We put an empty box where the tree used to be, and loaded it with a cat toy stuffed with catnip. (No, I’m not above drugging my cats. In fact, when their howls for food are particularly piteous or they’re hell-bent on destroying every last thing in the house, the phrase “give them their weed” is quite commonly heard. And I don’t think that makes us bad parents. I think it makes us practical people who recognize that living with cats is a marathon, not a sprint. And no one’s getting a medal anyway, no matter how saint-like.)

Cat Cat Box_2

In any case, the box is a big hit. She naps in it, dozes contentedly. Once, she even forgot to herd us to bed at midnight, which is pretty much her favorite activity in the entire world. We don’t know why, seeing as how she never settles down once we get into bed but nonetheless she loves the parade of sleepy people and becomes distressed when the parade is delayed or one party falls behind watching Breaking Bad in the living room. So when she forgot to come to bed, we realized that she and this box were quite serious. Oh, we don’t think it will last forever. Nothing does with cats. Just when we think that maybe, just maybe, the box will stick around for awhile, she’ll become bored and ignore it forever. Unless Jack decides he wants it, in which case there will be a renewed interest. For awhile, anyway.

 

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