I have a feeling this will end up stretching out into a series.
Welcome to How To Have A Christmas Tree In A Small House With Three Cats Without It Ending In Tears! First off, we'll explore the relationship between you, your Christmas tree, and your cats by using myself, my tree, and my cats as an example.
I love my Christmas tree. My roommate and I drove all over Kentucky just trying to locate a reasonably priced, at-perfect-height, false, aesthetically pleasing triangular shaped green Christmas tree. We chose a false tree because it was less messy and the lights were already on it. It has since then been a remarkably wise $65 investment; we've got at least three Christmases out of it thus far.
This is a remarkable feat considering that the cats think the Christmas tree is their own personal jungle gym. Once, our tree was pleasant. Now it looks like it was dragged behind a car.
Last year, the cats tore up every possible hope of my having a fully-decorated ornamental tree. I tried everything to get them to stop--spritzing them with water guns, spraying the tree down with citrus-flavored Febreeze, even laying fresh orange slices around the perimeter of the tree--cats are known to hate citrus-y things, and the orange slices worked...
...for about eight hours. And then it was a free-for-all.
This year, I am beginning Christmas Tree Training for Cats. And I am starting it early. To accomplish this, I first went to the Guru, my roommate's mom Jo, who possesses the cat juju.
"What you do is, after you put on the lights, set up your Christmas tree in a corner and tie it to the wall. Here, I have some hooks. Use these. Tie it to the wall."
She also approved of my training plan, which includes tying up the tree in a corner at least two weeks before the scheduled tree decorating, which will be on December 1st if the cats pass their test. This is how my plan will unfold--I shall force the tree from hiding, set it up, clear a corner for it, tie it to the wall, and here is the catch: I shall not discipline the cats.
Maybe if they can get it all out of their system at once I might have a chance. The hardest part is not telling them "get down", "no", "stop it", "I hate everything", and letting them have the run of the battered tree until I get sick of it and enforce martial law. The cats and I have a special "annoy-me-annoy-you" relationship in which one corporal belly rub equates to one ruined curtain.
These next twelve or so days, I shall document the progress. And I will, once and for all, find the solution to keeping three cats out of my Christmas tree. I'm doing it for all of you people. Because I care.
December 1st: I have you in my sights. Stay tuned.