Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas Cat

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What makes me think there is such an animal as a Christmas Cat?

Look at the word “Christmas.” Do you not find a “c,” an “a” and a “t” in Christmas?  You will not find h-o-r-s-e; you will not find d-o-g; you will not find g-o-a-t. H-a-m-s-t-e-r comes close, but it doesn’t quite make it.

This time of year you will find the Christmas Cat under the Christmas tree — not as a gift — just sleeping in the miniature, lighted village beneath the lowest boughs of the decorated evergreen.

She doesn’t disturb the tiny houses and church nor the little people and vehicles distributed throughout. Occasionally, the cat will gently bat an ornament on a lower branch, but never knocks it to the floor. It is then I see the Christmas Cat smile.

I’ve never known a cat that didn’t like Christmas trees, and the Christmas Cat practically drags the tree into the living room as she anticipates lovely dreams beneath the decorated boughs. Of course, some cats will climb a Christmas tree, but not the Christmas Cat.

This feline loves Christmas and knows to show proper respect.

And why not! Was not the Christ child born in stable and laid to rest in a manger? And who is it that kept stables and mangers — also barns and silos — free of vermin over the centuries?  The cat, that’s who.

The Christmas Cat wears a small bell on a collar around her neck. It is said it is to warn unwary birds there is a feline in the vicinity. That is all well and good, but when the Christmas season rolls around, we know the bell, with its appealing tinkle, is celebrating the birth of the Messiah. If you listen closely you may even hear it ringing out a Christmas carol.

Now think of all the animals associated with Jesus’ birth: the donkey Mary rode as she and Joseph made their way toward Bethlehem; the cows and other farm animals close by the manger where Mary laid her newborn son; the sheep and lambs following the shepherds who came to worship the precious babe; the camels ridden by the wise men seeking the acclaimed Messiah — but where were the cats?

They were there, curled up by the manger purring a welcome to the baby Jesus, quietly sleeping at Mary’s feet or stealthily pursuing an invasive mouse or rat — not as obvious as the other animals, but cats were there, take my word for it.

No one knows for sure, but it is believed cats have been tamed for more than 5,000 years, long before Jesus’ birth. The ancient Egyptians considered the cat sacred. Today, many people believe having a cat brings good luck. The Christmas Cat comes from a long line of distinguished felines.

The Christmas Cat cares naught for presents from Santa. All she wants is her caring family of people whom she will deign to live with as long as she finds them satisfactory: providing food at regular intervals, a lap to cuddle in and a whole lot of petting and appropriate visits to the veterinarian (the last which she may not appreciate at the time). Occasionally, the Christmas Cat will bestow a kitty kiss on the noses of my husband and me; we have bonded. The Christmas Cat, who lives at our house, brings pleasure all year long; we look forward to her being with us for many Christmases.

We sometimes think of her as a little person in a cat suit. Is that such a far-fetched idea? Who knows what the Almighty had in mind when he gave to Earth the cat.

From the Christmas Cat and her folks, “Merry Christmas!”