(Uh) O Christmas Tree

Christmas could not have come at a worse time this year.

My kitten, Indigo, turned six months old on December 1st, and he and I both realized a few important things.

Upon turning half a year old, Indie realized that he had the power to jump straight from the floor to the top of the kitchen island. After learning this new fact, he proceeded to practice it several dozen times in a row until he had perfected the maneuver. Then, once atop the smooth wooden surface of the butcher block, he looked around and realized there was a whole new world up there, four feet off the floor, that consisted of counters and a stove, and—gasp—a sink! A sink with water to splishy-splash his furry paws in and dirty dishes to lick and small objects to knock into the garbage disposal. Oh, what a discovery!

A friend suggested lining the island with foil to keep the cat off.
It didn’t work.

My realizations were of a different nature. I realized that my kitten suddenly resembled a bottomless pit and that when he bit my ankles or sunk his claws into the thighs of my leggings when I was standing at the fridge, he was trying tell me he was hungry. Again. I realized that, according to online resources, I had not been giving his growing body enough calories, so I started feeding him more often. I also realized, according to those same online sources and a few more that I double-checked just to be sure, that my kitten is on the large side of normal or perhaps the small side of huge. The average six-month-old kitten apparently weighs about 6.5 pounds. Indie is already 9 pounds and still growing.

Nine pounds of furry, curious, clumsy, impulsive energy that is very adorable when it’s sleeping with its toesies in the air.

By themselves, these aren’t terrible things. I love big cats, and of course I want my kitten to have strong bones and muscles that allow him to leap vertically, right? No, the problem is not my kitten’s healthy size and newfound athleticism. The problem is that it’s December, and we just brought a tree into the house.

I truly believe Indigo is at the worst possible age for the Christmas season. If the holiday had arrived when Indie was still a widdle baby kitten, he might have knocked off an ornament or two. He may have nibbled a branch or chewed a ribbon off a gift. We would have found it adorable and taken photos for our Christmas card. On the flipside, a year from now, Indie probably won’t bother the tree much*. By then, he’ll be a year and a half old and, if his current growth continues unchecked, probably about 18 pounds**. He’ll likely just bat a couple of lightbulbs for tradition’s sake and then curl up on the couch with a book.

But Indie’s not a widdle innocent baby or a calm young adult this year. Right now, he’s the equivalent of a giant toddler who’s just discovered he has super powers. Therefore, our poor tree didn’t stand a chance.

Indie’s examination of our tree reminded me of the lessons I used to teach about prepositions. First, he went UNDER it. Then, he went AROUND it. Soon, he climbed IN it and made his way THROUGH it. He considered going OVER it, then decided to lay BESIDE it, before resolving to leap UPON it. After that, he celebrated by jumping ON TOP OF the tallest bookcase in our house and knocking some items OFF of it, then stretching ACROSS it in triumphant glory.

I will say, he slept great after all this.

Thankfully, I love kittens more than Christmas and, thankfully, my hubby loves me more than he hates the fact that we basically just bought a very expensive cat toy. This year, instead of gazing admiringly at our beautifully-decorated tree while peacefully watching a holiday movie on the couch, we will leave our favorite ornaments in the box and sigh at our sparsely-decorated tree while pausing our movie for the fifth time to untangle the giant kitten from the string of lights. Again.

And we will be happy. ❤️

* Please tell me this is not wishful thinking.
** I’m kidding about the 18 pounds thing. I hope.

Note: While I don’t advise pairing six-month-old kittens with the holiday season, I highly recommend old dogs. Old dogs and Christmas go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows.

This right here is a very good boy.

Published by Carie Juettner

Carie Juettner is a former middle school teacher and the author of The Ghostly Tales of New England, The Ghostly Tales of Austin, and The Ghostly Tales of Burlington in the Spooky America series by Arcadia Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Twin Bill, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She was born on Halloween, and her favorite color is purple.

4 thoughts on “(Uh) O Christmas Tree

  1. “Maturity of a gremlin.” Yes. At six months, my Chloe was obsessed with climbing the Christmas tree, but when ornaments went on, she stopped that. But she was nothing compared to Indie. He seems to be a Force of Nature. Does Indie terrorize your dog? I suspect the dog behaves like an old, sweet pup and tolerates it.

    (Chloe and her older friend Christabel had been with us since Thanksgiving, and Chloe was driving me batty in other areas. Christabel was calm, knocked off one ornament, then spent the rest of the season sleeping under the tree. Every year.)

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