Cats like Christmas, especially the tree

This is the second installment of “Cats like Christmas, especially the tree” — the story of whether Pip will or will not climb ours.

He did.

Multiple times.

We thought we had devised a foolproof strategy. We put up the tree with no decorations except for the topper. If the 9-month-old kitten tried to climb the tree we could use a small water bottle with a light-mist setting to discourage him. This strategy worked well when we wanted to stop Pip from climbing on the kitchen table and the stove.

Our first mistake was believing we had a foolproof strategy. Our second mistake was not having a backup strategy.

Having the tree empty of ornaments and garland actually made it easier to climb. Using a tree topper filled with shiny ribbon, greenery and red berries was like a magnet for a kitten who loves ribbon, greens and small round orbs.

The first time Pip climbed our Christmas tree, my husband, Ed, and our Lab, Teddy, were relaxing on the living room’s chair-ottoman combo. Ed was reading the newspaper. Teddy was napping.

Neither noticed the spry kitten climbing the nine-foot tree limb by limb. The two sleuths only paid attention when the front of the tree topper fell to the floor. Ed looked up to see Pip looking around the room. I’m sure the view is pretty magnificent from a kitten’s perspective.

The second time Pip climbed the tree, Ed was standing in the kitchen with full view of it. He noticed the stealthy kitten on top of the tree just as the back part of the tree topper came tumbling down.

Following the advice of websites such as, we didn’t hang any breakable ornaments or family heirlooms.

After looking at the finished tree, I naively thought there were so many ornaments that Pip would have a hard time finding branches to climb. So far, he has navigated the journey like a mountaineer in the Alps.

Our hope is that Pip one day will get bored of this endeavor and instead take naps under the tree surrounded by the glow of the Christmas lights.

We did get something positive out of Pip’s tree adventures — a theme for our family’s annual Christmas poem. Enjoy.

Oh, Christmas Tree: The Kitten Version

Our Christmas tree loomed large and tall

To our kitten Pip who was spry but small.

But, oh, how that star atop did glow!

How the tinsel shimmered! It was all paws GO.

“I think I can!” was Pip’s favorite hymn,

So those words Pip purred, climbing limb to limb.

He was David for sure to this Goliath of a tree.

He pawed and meowed, climbing high, higher, WHEEE!

Past bells and bows and colored lights

Up, up he climbed those star-topped heights

‘til soon at last at the top he sat,

Christmas-wonder-filled. Imagine that!

Still, when kitten things called, Pip was rarin’ to go,

And he made his way down, jumping low, lower, WHOA!

Then off he scurried, paw-waving and proud,

He knew all who’d been watching had been kitten Pip-WOW-ed!

Wishing you and yours happy climbing to last a lifetime!

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

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