The cat, perched upon the arm of a couch, watches her family of servants stringing lights and hanging glitzies and wrapping packages. She eyes the ribbons patiently, swishing her tail, waiting for just the right moment when a back is turned – then pounces.
She is pushed away, but not before the dancing ribbon, and all the threat it entails, has been shred to – well, ribbons.
The cat does not long ponder this mystery, and instead cleans herself so as to be presentable when next some sort of threat emerges.
The family is making food, what the cat has come to accept as their food, though it is not just meat but other things – some of which she has sampled and found at least intriguing. She hops onto the counter to offer assistance – to check for poisons, to approve the cuts of ham.
She is brushed aside, right off the counter, but not before she gets a taste of the meal, which she decides is too sweet anyway. They open a can for her, cat-friendly vittles, and she is at least temporarily satisfied.
Distant members of the family arrive, and will be disbursed throughout the house on all the beds and couches, and in blankets on the floors. Some of these visitors smell awful. They will take her favorite blankets, and she doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight – but they haven’t disturbed all her hidey holes.
The visitors insist on cat hugs and cat kisses, which she endures to a certain point before scrambling free. She finds a new perch, swishes her tail, waits for their meal to culminate with singing. And after they’ve all gone to bed, she checks each corner of the house, and on the well-being of every resident and every guest, then turns her attentions to the tree.
She bats at the ornaments. She massages herself against its low hanging branches. She’s about to climb, to chase after that angel at the very top, when there’s movement.
But everyone was snug and sleeping.
It’s another visitor, this one in red. He jingles and his belly jiggles as he piles wrapped packages beneath the tree. She does not crouch for attack; the big man poses no threat. She swishes her tail.
When he’s done with the tree, and also the stockings, he bends low to look straight into the cat’s eyes. He says, so she can understand, “I haven’t forgotten you.” Then he flicks a mouse – a fake little mouse with fake white fur and a long ribbon of a tail.
And just like that, the tree is forgotten in favor of prey, and another Christmas is saved.
Remember, if you enjoy my Christmas stories, you can find a whole collection of them, complete with Mery-et Lescher’s Christmas art, in all sorts of places, including Amazon.