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How to "Cat-Proof" Your Christmas Tree

1. Buy a cardboard box big enough to hold the tree. Paint it red and yellow. Paste pictures of cats playing with toys on the box. Write phrases on the box like: "Giant very expensive cat toy." "Your cat will LOVE it!" "No cat can resist!" "Hours and hours of fun!" "Only $99,999,999.99!"

2. Bring the tree home inside the box, and round up your cats. Say, "look what mommy got you! A giant, really really expensive cat toy! You will go NUTS! I can't wait to see you play with this!"

3. Force the cats to watch you put up the tree and decorate it. If they drift off towards the cardboard box, bring them back to the tree and point at it while saying things like "you had better play with this thing, mommy spent a month's salary on it."

4. When the tree is decorated, wave some branches in their face and shout, "come on and play! Lookee here, the branches move, see? Kitty is supposed to swat at the branches and have lots and lots of fun! Hey, come back here! You come back here right now and play with this tree. See how much fun it is? HEY. I'M TALKING TO YOU. Get out of that box right now, mister. The box is NOT a toy. THIS is the toy."

If you do this with enough sincerity, your cats will avoid the tree like it was a foaming mad Rottweiler. Of course, you'll be stuck with a big ugly cardboard box in your living room all through the holidays, but it can always double as a buffet table.

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