"New kitten putting a twist on holiday decorating this year" by: Jessica Shepard

   My sister Ashlee came down for a visit last weekend and did the unthinkable.
   She caught my mom’s motivation for Christmas and made us decorate the inside of the house.
   I’m sure if she had more time off from her job, we’d have done the outside decorations too.
   But, as someone who always gets the full brunt of the outside lights when we do, I’m glad she didn’t.
   If I was a small child, seeing weird projections of snowflakes and shadows from lawn ornaments would probably have freaked me out late at night.
   Not to mention, they probably would keep me awake due to how unnaturally bright they are.
   And yes, I know that most sane people put them on a timer.
   But, my mom has them run for six full hours until midnight.
   That’s valuable time I could spend with nearly perfect darkness and catching up on some much-needed sleep.
   I don’t know about you, but I really treasure my sleep during the holidays.
   Mostly because we’re always so busy and partially because Daylight Savings Time is over and I get an extra hour of darkness to enjoy.
   Speaking of sleeping, Ashlee tried to see if our new rescue kitten Loki could be taught to sleep with someone in bed without getting up in the middle of the night and going exploring.
   She managed it for most of one night before Loki woke her up by meowing in her ear that he was hungry.
   I’ve spoken with friends who have human toddlers and apparently it’s a thing that happens to them, too.
   Naturally, once he got his chance to eat he went to the bathroom then wanted to play.
   And needless to say, Ashlee left him to his own devices and went back to bed alone after that.
   Though the sound of him playing with his jingle bell ball certainly woke me up!
   Ashlee also managed to quickly become his favorite person since she spent almost as much time holding and playing with him as she did hounding me to help put up decorations.
   The good news is that he’s not as entranced by sparkly lights and shiny tree ornaments as much as things that make noise.
   We also made sure to hang anything with streamers or dangling bits well out of his reach.
   There’s something to be said about learning to anticipate and kitten “proof” for the holidays.
   I vaguely remember doing it for our other cats, but it’s been five years since then.
   And, I don’t recall it being so thorough, but, we managed it last weekend.
   Mom even mentioned that it reminded her of the old school baby-proofing she did when we were younger.
   As the eldest child, I only really remember those little plastic electrical outlet covers, the crib rail protector and being told “no” a lot when I got curious about dangerous things.
   Since I don’t speak cat, saying “no” is definitely taking a slow, long learning curve for Loki.
   The good news is - he’s getting it!
   Now, we’ll just wait and see if it sticks.

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