SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Twas Two Weeks After Christmas



January 31, 2013
Thursday AM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska
- Well, it just wouldn't be the holidays around our place if one precious ornament didn't get destroyed and one pet didn't try to commit felinicide.
jpg Dave Kiffer

Now hold on there, notice I said "tried." No animal was harmed in the making of this column.

As many of you know we have three cats. We'll call them old cat, middle child cat and baby cat.

And no, having three cats does make us on of "those" families.

You know,the families that are overrun with pets? That's not us. We have three humans in the house and three cats. That's a balance. Sort of.

Now, if there was one person in the house and three cats, that person would be teetering on the edge of "crazy cat person." They would be just one cat away from loading all the animals in a car and wandering back and forth across the state, one ferry ride at a time.

But I digress.

We have three cats.

The oldest one pretty much just sleeps all day long.  At least 23 and a half hours.

Just enough time awake for a couple of meals and quick couple of trips to the litterbox. The rest of the time? Somnolent bliss.

If I was 118 in cat years, I'd sleep all day too. Heck, at 53 in people years, it still sounds like a marvelous idea.

Middle child cat just wants to eat all day.

Seriously, he aspires to Guinness record fatdom.

He probably wishes he had 10 lives because that would entail more eating. He is the only cat I have ever had who tries to really take the food right out of your mouth. I suspect he once saw a momma bird regurgitate. We are so NOT going there!

Which leaves us with baby cat. So called, because she is the youngest and smallest and relentlessly cute.

One day she hurt one of her paws and we felt sorry for her and gave her extra cat treats. Now her paw is fine but she will often sit near the kitchen and then raise her paw like it is still hurt.

Of course, she looks so pathetic we still give her extra treats. She has trained us well.

Anyway, this cat is about a year and a half old. It is not a kitten (although she is smaller than normal for her age and barely weighs seven pounds).

Be that as it may, baby cat continues to act kitten-like because it brings more treats. Clever cat.

When our plastic tree, "Faux Tannenbaum," goes up every year, little cat is in heaven. She crawls up into the tree and plays with the ornaments (especially the little tinkling Polar Express santa sleigh bell).

She hides in the tree, only occasionally poking her nose out. She squeaks as if trying to lure us closer to her lair. We think she has been watching the leopards on National Geographic Channel to excess.

This year she actually leapt out and landed on one of the other cats as it was skulking by. Great fun. Much hissing and spitting!

So baby cat spent most of a month living in Faux Tannenbaum. That was okay with us because it kept her occupied and less likely to get underfoot while begging for treats.

But, of course, all good things must come to blah, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

A couple weeks after Christmas it was time for the ornaments and Faux Tannenbaum to be put away for another eleven months.

Baby cat looked nervously as the holiday boxes came out. She scrunched back deeper into the Chinese polyester plastic branches.

Of course we felt sorry for her impending loss. We put away some of the ornaments but left the tree up.

I was out the house one evening, when Charlotte heard a crash in the living room and came running. The top of the tree was toppled over onto the floor and ornaments were scattered everywhere. A shiny gold ornament was smashed into pieces.

Liam’s Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Mertz, had given it to him with a note saying to look at the reflection on the ornament and he would see “someone who was very special to her.”

Liam, who is now in sixth grade, was very sad. Mrs. Mertz has since moved away.

But it could have been worse.

Baby Cat, who is Liam’s “cat,” was dangling from the tree with a string of lights around her neck. She was squeaking piteously, wiggling her legs and trying not to imitate a Lincoln co-conspirator.

Fortunately, Charlotte was home to rescue her, otherwise Baby Cat would have probably used up all of her lives.

As it was she had clearly given at least one of her nine lives in her effort to remain with “her tree.”

Next year, the “family Christmas gift” will be a “retro fit” of Faux Tannenbaum with the latest in "kitty" safety restraints.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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