The Herald Bulletin

December 28, 2013

Maleah Stringer: Christmas shenanigans abound at home

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Christmas is the favorite holiday of my frisky feline, Oliver, a Siamese mix. This is his fourth Christmas. He gets a little bolder every year. It started off that he liked to bury the Santa ornaments in his litter box. It was nothing to see him tearing through the house with Santa clutched in his sharp little teeth.

The next year he got a little more bold. He somehow managed to drag various stuffed Santas from my collection since childhood and cram them in his little box. I would come home and see their feet sticking out of the litter box opening. He would watch me as I carefully removed and cleaned them. I must say he was very careful where he placed them.

This year I planned ahead. I booby-trapped the tree. I put packing tape on the glass top table by the tree so he'd get his little feet stuck. He hates that. One of his feline buddies seems to have an addiction to packing tape and loves to chew on it. I saw Blue flying through the house with tape hanging off his chin just before Oliver launched himself in the tree. It's no longer enough for him to stand back and swipe, now he has to climb the tree.

His taste has changed a bit this year, he's going after the little handmade snowman heads. They are about the size of a quarter. I had two dozen of them. I'm down to 15. Oliver knocks them down to Maddie the Pit who likes to chew them up and then spit them out. I find bits and pieces and little snowman noses everywhere. Maddie has gotten more bold as well. She used to wait for Oliver to knock things off the tree for her. Now she's nabbed a couple of Santas right off the tree. I thought I'd tricked her by not putting anything on the bottom, only decorating three-fourths of the tree. She now stands on her back legs and gently removes what she wants. The tree is left standing, at least so far.

I've got a huge squirt bottle. I can squirt Oliver right between the eyes from ten feet away. Now, they no longer do the damage in front of me, they wait until I leave. This way I come home to Christmas destruction.

I have a Santa with a shiny long beard made of the old icicle material hanging on the door. There's also a bell involved. Oliver loves to launch himself on Santa, little claws digging in while he swings on Santa. He then runs screaming through the house with red shiny streamers flying out of his mouth.

Oliver, Maddie and the rest of my pet crew love Christmas and throw themselves into it with abandon and joy. They make me laugh every time I dig a Santa out of the litter. I'm so glad I have pets with a sense of humor. They make my holidays bright. Oliver and his buddies all came from the Animal Protection League. Once they were unwanted and homeless.There are a multitude of Olivers and Maddies waiting for you. Waiting and willing to give you unlimited Christmas joy.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at