TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aubrey Iacobelli of Tallahassee woke up at 4:15 a.m. on Dec. 10 to find a new and unwelcome decoration in her living room.
“I heard a scuffle, in through the doggie door. I don’t know how the heck this just happened, there’s a cat inside my Christmas tree,” she says in a must-see video of the ordeal she posted to Facebook.
In the video, while her dog watches attentively, she attempts to coax the cat out from where it is barely visible, deep inside the top of the tree. She pokes at it with a frying pan and, later, a wise man statue pulled from the mantlepiece holiday display. At one point Iacobelli even sprays the cat with vinegar.
Only, it wasn’t a cat. It was a raccoon. And when the dog finally lunged for it, chaos erupted.
“This is bad. This is bad. This is bad,” she said, shrieking and pleading with both animals. “Don’t knock over my tree!”
The tree goes over, hard. Glass ornaments break. Iacobelli, barefoot and in her robe, leaps onto the furniture as the dog and raccoon roll on the floor, biting and scratching and barking and snarling.
(For concerned animal-lovers, at this point in the video a message says, “I know it sounds bad. But both animals are relatively ok.”)
Unfortunately the raccoon didn’t take advantage of the front door that was wide open just a few feet away. Instead, it ran into the dining room and up on a table, where it started eying the chandelier hanging above.
By 5 a.m., a frazzled Iacobelli takes stock of her situation. The tree is back up, looking like it had been run over a few times. There’s a small, sad pile of carefully collected, unbroken ornaments. There’s a dog by the dining room table, ready to go again. And there’s a raccoon now completely inside the chandelier, watching them warily and swaying back and forth.
She finally was able to shoo the animal outside with a broom and was ready to laugh about it when she posted the video later. The dog had a few minor scratches, she said.
“Now that it’s not right there in that moment, it does seem kinda funny,” Iacobelli said. “It’s probably going to get funnier, the further away from it I get.”
The video has gone viral in the U.S. and around the world, and it’s even inspired a new Christmas song that’s sure to become a yuletime favorite, from her friend Kelsie Newman:
“This sure is a Christmas to remember / Next year I’ll lock the doors come November…”