by Lillian Csernica on December 25, 2015
It is very, very early on Christmas morning. I sit here in the pleasant exhaustion of knowing the gifts are all wrapped and tagged, the stockings are stuffed, Chris and I ate the cookies John put out for Santa Claus, and we are as ready as we are going to get. Chris has begun preparations for Christmas dinner. The smells wafting up the stairway from the kitchen promise quite a feast.
Allow me to introduce you to three members of our household you’ve heard about but thus far haven’t seen. These are my cats.
Rayas, my torby, is around 10 years old. She’s John’s cat, but I am her human. That means I’m expected to provide pets, love, and a warm lap on demand. She’s small, but she’s feisty. Hunter has a bigger frame and outweighs her, but she routinely cleans his clock when it comes to the late night Bushwhack Wars.
The gray fellow with the impressive whiskers is Hunter. We got him from a shelter about 5 years ago. When he’s lonely he’ll wander around the house with his catnip mousie in his mouth, making those yowling sounds. Whoever he presents his trophy to had better respond with much praise and petting. Hunter is everybody’s cat, but my sister is his human. When she comes home, he gets all excited and goes galloping outside to jump up on the hood of her truck and try to climb in the driver’s side window.
Coco is the fluffy black longhair. She is my cat, acquired as a kitten for my 43rd birthday present, so she’s 7 years old as of the 29th. She is my big furry baby, but my husband is her absolute slave. She will demand “brushies” as we call them, and he cannot help but obey. She has commandeered the penthouse sleep berth of our multi-level cat tree, where the convection currents bring her the best heat in the house.
After dinner the cats will come sit on my bed while I’m working. Combinations vary depending on who gets in here first and seizes the best spot on the inevitable pile of clothing that occupies the foot of my bed. Rayas will sleep on my pillow. Neither Coco nor Hunter are brave enough to usurp that spot.
Why do I mention my beasties on this, the Feast of the Incarnation of Christ? Pious legend says that on this night you can hear the animals speak just as they did in the manger on that holy night so long ago. At this point, Hunter has been snoring, Coco demanded more brushies, and Rayas is off somewhere curled into a tight little stripey ball. My cats are not all that religious.
In the morning there will be happiness and laughter and the usual joyful craziness that accompanies tearing into all that gift wrap and trying to keep track of who gave who what so I can keep the thank-you notes straight. The cats will take part, chasing each other around the tree, diving into the piles of gift wrap, and trying to run off with the spiraling bundles of curling ribbon.
I love my cats. The holidays are often a hard time of year for those of us with intense family issues. Cats are pretty straightforward. They are the supreme beings, and I’m just cat furniture. Given how complicated my life can get, I find the simplicity of our relationship downright refreshing.
Wherever you are, whatever particular feast you’re celebrating, I wish you a New Year full of all good things.