Tuesday, December 8, 2009 12:15 PM

I Know What Cats Like: Piles of Stuff

Now that Christmas time is here, so is one of the most exciting things cats can imagine: Piles of stuff. Piles of just-bought stuff, piles of stuff under the tree, piles of wrapping and bows, piles of boxes...the list is inexhaustible at this time of year. Cats everywhere will be sniffing, pawing, pushing and jostling for position on top of countless piles of stuff. Why are cats so attracted to piles of stuff? Because they need to know what is going on every single minute, that's why.

Watching one cat investigate piles of stuff is entertaining enough. Having multiple cats nosing around in this fashion is truly a spectator sport. Usually, the alpha cat will insist upon being the first to check it out. He will generally bat at other cats trying to sidle up before he is ready to allow them access. Then, it's a free-for-all. Cats try to get inside or under the pile, so they can smack other cats that get too close and can't see them. If it is a pile of Christmas gifts under the tree, usually bows and ribbon wind up all over the place as cats race to be the first to do the most damage in the shortest amount of time. Well, at least it keeps them from thinking about climbing the tree!

Cats never seem to outgrow this passion, particularly in a multi-cat household where competition for just about everything is the order of the day. Last week, as I was decorating the Christmas tree, I tossed empty ornament boxes, bags that held strings of beads, cardboard tinsel holders (bough style, of course), etc. into a pile. Later, I figured, I would place them somewhat neatly back into the storage box. I left it unpacked for a while, though, because the cats were having so much fun playing around that pile. The pile was in a short hallway, so they kept taking turns jumping over it, or sliding around as they ran through it. It really was fun to watch--and these cats are almost 13 years old!

So, when someone tells you that Christmas is for kids, don't let them flounder in ignorance. Just tell them simply and forthrightly that, in fact, Christmas is for cats. When they ask you why, watch their reaction to your reply, "Because of all the piles of stuff, of course!" I'll bet you'll be able to tell right away whether or not they are a "cat person"!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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