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This is the first year I try to decorate the house for Christmas with three kittens, and their young mother, running loose. Their normal behavior, under normal conditions, is appalling, so can you imagine what would happen when they see glittering tinsel, shiny, bouncy colored balls, trails of flex with tiny lights twinkling all over, and those delicious looking decorative plants and candles?
Fearing the worst, I took all precautions, when my friends came over to help me decorate the tree, to ensure that the kittens were too intimidated to venture downstairs and “help”. So the tree decorating went rather well, with only our (human) fun which did not cause damage, well not much anyway. The tree got decorated in reasonable time, then we sat to celebrate the completion of the feat. Of course there was still the rest of the house, but that can be done another day.
This “another day” came around soon enough and it was time to decorate the house before the annual Christmas Day dinner I usually give each year. This time there were no friends around to make a fuss and keep the kittens away, and boy did I regret that.
With the help of my houseboy (well, actually he was doing the bulk of the work and my role was mainly direction and praise) we started to decorate the rest of the house. First and foremost is the lighting which really is the most important as this is what sets the mood and gives a beautiful reflection to all else. I have a lot of very real looking artificial trees and plants that I decorate with those tiny lights on strings. The final effect is stunning. So we began by taking the little boxes of string lights out of the main storage box. Not realizing that certain sneaky felines had silently slunk into the room, I very boldly opened the first box and recklessly took out that string of lights. In a flash, one Pixie was tangled up with the tail end of that string, trying her best to catch as many of the little bulbs in her paws and jaws! My first reaction after a yelp of surprise was to try to get that string away from her. Wrong reaction. This turned into a game of tug of war. The rest of the clan – the traitors -sided with Pixie, so it was an unfair contest of one helpless human against four resourceful, determined cats, enjoying themselves to the hilt!.
So Pixie was holding onto one end, Sugar helping her by attacking the line further up, while Spicy, and his mother Lizzy attacked the other end of the line which I had foolishly let dangle while trying to untangle Pixie. So there I was, in the middle, with two cats at each end, trying to untangle the line out of their claws without damaging the wire or the bulbs, while those feral felines did a number on the poor wire. When after five minutes of trying to rescue the wire had gone without an iota of progress, I finally gave in, and with as much dignity as possible told my houseboy who could barely suppress his laughter, to try to retrieve it from them. The moment he approached them, they dropped the wire and ran to the four corners of the room. It seems I am the only pushover around.
Ignoring the whole incident, I started picking up some tinsel to decorate the mantle of the fireplace with tinsel and artificial poinsettias. Trying to keep a wary eye out for any sneaky little furry friend lurking in the shadows, I took one thick string of glittering green tinsel and a bunch of the flowers and headed towards the fireplace. I swear these kittens are mind readers. Before I even got there two of them were up on top of the mantle waiting for me. I could actually see them grinning at me, with a glint of calculation in their eyes, as to how they will execute this coming skirmish. I came to a dead stop a couple of steps away. The situation was dire indeed, I was outnumbered and out maneuvered and could not be worsted at another battle of will and wit. I could never, ever hold my head up again in my own house and among my own pets (let alone in front of the domestic help), if I let them get away with it a second time.
Egged on by desperation I had to find an alternative maneuver. Inspiration came in the form of one of those glittery little red balls hanging on the tree. Without a second’s hesitation, I swiped it off the tree and held it for a few seconds in my hand till four pairs of eyes zeroed in on it, then with a great deal of confidence, and I must say, grace, I tossed it out of the room in one sweeping gesture of the arm.
Two white streaks and two grey streaks followed the red glittering ball out to the hall, and in a second the houseboy and I had secured the door to the room.
Triumph! I could hear them chasing that ball all over the hall and felt a great sense of satisfaction and vindication.
Trying to keep my glee from showing, I turned back to the task at hand. By the time I finished decorating the mantle, my houseboy had finished the rest of the reception area. Well he is much younger than I, but I prefer to think of it as my being more fastidious in my ability to perfect the task completely! A few minutes before we were done, there came an ominous silence from the hall. I ignored it, but my houseboy did not! Thank God he realized that a trap was being laid out there in the hall for us.
Unsuspecting, I opened the door to leave after the work was done, but stood frozen on the threshold at the sight of four cats sitting there, in a perfect line, barring my way out. When they started to get up for the charge they seemed to have planned, my houseboy came into immediate action and took a decisive step forward. The surprise maneuver scattered the enemy and they were routed completely. Their retreat was as undignified as mine must have been after the first battle. Off they ran up the stairs in total disarray. I could not keep the grin off my face as I closed the door and thanked the houseboy for helping me finish the decoration of the house for Christmas.

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