For 35 years I have been parking a plastic Partridge covered in feathers in my Christmas tree. It was secured to its branch by a wire from one of its plastic feet. Over time, my various cats . . . Franoushe, Truffalo, Margalo, Chloe, Snictoria, Snalbert, Bunnelina, Possum, Wendelina, Toffee, and Lion, would take a few swipes at the partridge and maybe snap off a feather or two. I'd often find it dangling upside-down from its perch, and occasional I'd find it left for dead under the tree.
I thought that, after 35 years of subjecting my partridge to the scrutiny and scientific curiosity of a considerable number of cats, my partridge's long-term survival was assured. But I was wrong.
Because Harris. Here's what I found under the tree this morning:
I'm almost positive that it was Harris who butchered my partridge and subjected it to anatomical dissection. He seems to have eaten some of its torso along with most of its feathers, and one plastic foot is missing, too At any rate, this was all I could find — and I looked hard.
The plastic is brittle, at least. If any of it made it into Harris's stomach, I hope we will not find out in some dramatic way. But when have we had a Christmas in recent years that wasn't fraught with some feline disaster? We are perpetually on the alert since we've had our current crew. Swallowed cords from ornaments, chewed Christmas light bulbs, licking the gold leaf off a picture frame, jumping onto the hot burners of the stove on New Year's Eve . . . the holidays are filled with peril around here since we got Toffee and Harris. Toffee used to be the dare-devil, but he grew out of it. Now it's Harris, our Perpetual Kitten, who keeps us on our toes.
I'm not going to get a giant crate to protect the Christmas tree. If our cats are desperate to win some feline version of the Darwin Award there's only so much I can do to prevent them.
Here are some recent photos of Harris to show he isn't always being Bad. He was very Helpful as my assistant as I wrapped presents:
In the photo below, he's studying the floor plan of the new Eataly that opened recently, just a couple of blocks from our place. When he heard me say they sold hundreds of kinds of cheese, he was very interested.
I will, of course, as usual, keep you posted as we observe Harris in case he develops symptoms from his plastic bird encounter. Same old, same old!