Help your family pets to enjoy the holidays, too

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 4, 2000

One of the advantages of this job is getting a jump on everything that is put into the paper.

Monday, December 04, 2000

One of the advantages of this job is getting a jump on everything that is put into the paper. So while you folks are reading for the first time Nini Johnson’s column on cat- and dog-proofing your Christmas tree, I’ve already put some of the practices to use.

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With a 4-month-old kitten that has renewed the playful nature in my 3-year-old cat, I figured my tree would be a goner this year.

It’s attached to the wall by a string to prevent a couple of gray kitties from knocking the thing over. And it’s fake so there’s no chance the kitten (the big cat’s been declawed) will try to scale the tree.

But with all those shiny glass balls, sparkling lights and twinkling garland, my Christmas tree has become an irresistible toy for my cats.

That is, it was a toy. I think I now have the tree completely cat-proof.

I was holding out until I could find the spray that Nini recommended in her column. I couldn’t find any in town and was waiting until my next trip to Duluth.

But when I found one of my Christmas ornaments in the litter box (I blame the kitten), I decided to take immediate action.

I put a whole bunch of sheets of aluminum foil beneath the tree. Just tearing the stuff off the roll made the cats run for cover. A little pepper on the lower branches completed the cat-proofing ceremony. It was so adorable to see the two of them sitting at the edge of foil, carefully sniffing, then sneezing at the branches.

Pets have always been an important part of Christmas for the Schelinders. In my parents’ 36 (or is it 37) years of marriage, they’ve seen a lot of furry friends come and go.

Every Christmas, they still hang a ragged, red silk tie on the tree. It belonged to a black lab named Mike. He was a little before my time.

We also have fond memories of a little cock-a-poo (my mom’s term for a cocker spaniel and poodle mix) pup howling a tune while my sister pounded out Christmas carols on the piano.

Every family certainly has their own treasured memories involving their beloved pets. Check out Nini’s advice on how to make the holidays enjoyable for your pets as well.

Shawnda Schelinder is the Austin Daily Herald’s associate editor. She can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at shawnda.schelinder@austindailyherald