Even Cats Crave Christmas!

Laugh at the antlers if you will, but laugh at your peril. That business-like look in the eyes of my beautiful calico is very real. Dixie Rose (short for Dixie-Rose-Center-of-the-Universe-and-Queen-of-all-She-Surveys) loves Christmas, and she intends to be ready when it arrives. Do not stand in her way.

Dixie arrived at my door as an unloved, four-month-old stray who became my first real pet. As a child I did receive a small painted turtle, but the poor thing met a most unfortunate end. My birthday puppy lasted only hours. A tiny but exceedingly enthusiastic black Cocker Spaniel, the pup terrified me and was sent packing by disconsolate adults.

Later, I raised a fox squirrel and laughed my way through four years with a prairie dog, but my relationship with Dixie Rose is of a different order entirely. I believe her to be the most beautiful and most clever creature on four paws. I don’t think she’s the most spoiled creature in the world, but we’re working on it – diligently.

My first Christmas with Dixie, it became obvious old routines would have to change. Tree-trimming and gift-wrapping were more than she could bear, and a swath of shredded ribbon, broken ornaments and pulled-down swags marked her passage through the house. When she tipped the tree for a second time and then a third, I surrendered.  We celebrated with a bare tree, a tree weighted at its base with feet of galvanized chain wrapped around the trunk. No candles burned. No poinsettias glowed.  Presents piled up in the closet until time for humans to unwrap them and all things sparkly were banned because of my furry darling’s obsessive and quite literal appetite for tinsel, glitter and gold.

As Christmas approached, Dixie and I disagreed more and more sharply on the nature of true celebration. Things weren’t always good that year, and the phrase “This hurts me more than it does you” became as common as “Merry Christmas”. Things were so bad I began to amuse myself by creating the first of what I’d later call Cat Carols. You know the tune, and can add the “Fa-la-las” as needed.

Wreck the Halls

Wreck the halls all decked with holly,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la la-la-la.
Sheer destruction is so jolly,
Fa-la…
Tip the tree with all its treasures,
Fa-la…
Shred the presents for good measure!
Fa-la…
Fast away the fur-ball passes,
Fa-la…
To wreak havoc on the masses,
Fa-la…
Swinging through the punch and cookies,
Fa-la…
You can tell she is no rookie,
Fa-la…

It was the start of something wonderfully fun. When I included the lyrics in Dixie’s Christmas card to her vet, he suggested she keep writing. So, she did. Again, you know the tune:

Stalking in a Winter Wonderland

Collars ring, are you listening?
In the lane, eyes are glistening…
The moon is so bright, we’re happy tonight,
Stalking in a winter wonderland.
Gone away are the bluebirds,
Here to stay are the new birds.
They sing their same songs as we skulk along,
Stalking in a winter wonderland.
In the meadow we can build a snow mouse,
And pretend that he is fat and brown.
He’ll say “Are you hungry?” We’ll say, “No, mouse”,
“but we’ll have you for dinner on the town.”
Later on, we’ll retire
For a snooze by the fire,
And dream of the prey we’ll catch the next day,
Stalking in a winter wonderland.

Of course, not everyone loves the kitty-cats, and there’s a song for them, too. While I don’t advocate the shooting of cats (or dogs, or people for that matter) I certainly understand how pure frustration might lead to a Christmas song like this:

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells

Jingle bells, shotgun shells, there’s that danged old cat!
Get my gun, let’s have some fun, I know just where he’s at!
Jingle bells, oh, Hell’s bells, now he’s on the run!
If I find my glasses, that cat’s hunting days are done.
A day or two ago, I thought I’d feed the birds,
I grabbed a bag of seed, a second and a third.
But halfway ‘cross the yard, I saw the bushes shake,
It was my neighbor’s scroungy cat, a big orange tom named Jake.
Oh, jingle bells, shotgun shells, (repeat chorus)…..
I love to feed the birds, it makes me feel so glad.
But Jake, that danged old cat, he makes me so darned mad!
He’s not content to eat a lizard or a mouse,
He wants to eat my pretty birds: that cat’s a stinking louse!
Oh, jingle bells, shotgun shells (repeat chorus)

Finally, there is this cautionary tale. A great-aunt much given to malapropism used to caution me, “Tempus fidgets“. Just like a child, cats (and probably dogs) need to be reminded that tempus does, indeed, fidget, and the magical night is not far off.

Santa Cat is Coming to Town

Oh, you’d better not hiss, you’d better not bite,
You’d better not tempt the dog to a fight;
Santa Cat is coming to town!
He’s making a list, checking it twice,
Gonna find out who chased all those mice,
Santa Cat is coming to town!
He knows when you’ve been scratching,
He knows who you’ve outfoxed,
He knows if you’ve been in a snit
And refused your litter box!
With potted cat grass and catnip-filled balls,
Snuggly warm beds and mice from the malls,
Santa Cat is coming to town.

Eventually Dixie’s online friends joined the fun, sending along their own contribution to the songfest.  Housecats themselves, Mister Man and Miss Moo know how to have a good time despite not being allowed to stalk in the Great Outdoors.

Hark! The Housebound Felines Sing

Hark! the housebound felines sing,
Glory to the milk-jug ring!
Mice on earth and squirrels reviled
Even indoors we are wild!
Warily our tails do twitch
As we down the halls do rip,
With triumphant meows proclaim,
Cats do have superior brains!
Hark, the housebound felines sing,
Glory to the milk jug ring!

Dixie and I haven’t begun working seriously on this year’s song, but phrases are bubbling away in our lyrical stewpot and “O, Christmas Bush” seems a likely candidate. It’s pure silliness of course, just another bit of holiday excess. On the other hand, excess isn’t always bad, and even silly excess can become a path to truth.

Looking at Dixie, singing her little carols to her, I can’t help remembering another carol.  “Joy to World”, we sing. “the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king…” Remarkably, we don’t sing, “Joy to human beings, joy to those who walk upright and drive cars and open too many credit card accounts and are nasty to their neighbors.” We don’t sing “Joy to the church-goers, the faithful, the few”.

The joy we sing is meant for the whole world, for stars and dirt, mountains and seas, trees, rocks, valleys and hills and every creature who inhabits them all. While human hearts prepare, heaven and nature are singing out this truth: the gifts of the season are meant for all. The coming of truth and grace is meant for the world as a whole. We who inhabit that world, who trace a path upon its soil and gaze upon its stars are called to sing its praises, too, including it in our celebrations.

In the meantime, whether you celebrate Christmas or whether you don’t, whether you take the promises of the season seriously or simply enjoy the traditions and the festivity, accept these bits of silliness as a gift from Dixie Rose. Feel free to laugh at them, sing them to yourself, or pass them on to friends. Believe me – an entire room filled with pet-lovers singing these songs can be hilarious, and they’ve been known to bring a smile to the face of even the Scroogiest animal “hater”.

As for Dixie, she continues on her best behavior. She’s learned she can avoid kitty-jail by avoiding kitty-misbehavior, and we trim our tree in peace. I hang ornaments even on the lowest branches with confidence and display cookies and gifts without fear. While I prepare our celebration, she spends quiet afternoons sleeping in the low, slanting light. I like to imagine visions of catnip-plums dancing in her head as she waits in perfect peace and joy for whatever gifts come next.

In this season of Advent, this season of waiting and anticipation, may we all be blessed with such peace and joy.

Something of a tradition at The Task at Hand, this post has been revised and re-published due to overwhelming demand (three requests this year!) and constant nagging by Dixie Rose and her agent. I didn’t know about Dixie’s agent until recently.  I should have suspected it.
Special thanks to Mister Man and Miss Moo of Third Storey Window for contributing “Hark, the Housebound Felines Sing!” and special shout-outs to Blue, Alphie, Lizzie Cosette and ellaella’s kitties, wherever you are. Gypsy is with us only in memory this year, but we’ve been joined by WOL and nikkipolani’s fur-herds, RC, Gus and others. Merry Christmas to them all!
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Published in: on December 14, 2012 at 8:05 am  Comments (84)  
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  1. I am now converted to loving cats! Tell Dixie thanks from me – brilliant post.

    • Julie,

      If you ever need a critter whose specialty is napping, just let me know! I suppose she wouldn’t do very well with the assorted birds at your place, but she and Ants might get on well!

      Linda

  2. Beautiful cat and some nice photos. I truly am glad that you now have a pet- they are a joy. This posting is quite entertaining. I always like reading about a pet. Dixie was lucky when she found you.

    • That look is the look of a feline bearing the feline burden gracefully. Hard to be a cat when you have to put up with humans, who routinely forget the proper obeisance.

      • John,

        I learned long ago the truth of what I’d assumed was a silly little throw-away line – that dogs have owners, while cats have staff.

        I laughed heartily when the most recent King Tut exhibit came through Houston. It included a sarcophagus for a Royal Cat that was pretty nice. When I told Dixie about it she gave me “that look”. The rough translation: “Well, did you get it for me?”

        Nice to have you stop by.You’re welcome any time!

        Linda

        • Thanks. Beautiful cat … but that’s the thing about cats. So many are beautiful.

    • petspeopleandlife,

      She’s a joy, and pretty entertaining in her own right. She’s not a snuggle kitty – she mostly was dragged around by the tail for the first four months of her life, by a clutch of young boys – but she’s a great one for lying by my feet.

      And yes – we were lucky to find one another.

      Linda

  3. What a precious face! Of course, they all have precious faces…

    I’ve had several cats and for some reason none really did more than bat an ornament or two or three. Maybe four. I had friends with stories of seeing their cat half way up the Christmas tree, but I never had that fright.

    Some mornings an ornament (put the less significant ones at the bottom!) would be left out all by itself as a gift for us. Or a warning…

    Other that this, dangerous pine water drinking and hiding behind the tree is as exciting as it gets. I’m just fine with that.

    Lovely, fun post. Thank you for something sweet!

    • Martha,

      Isn’t it something, the differences among them? Once Dixie got over the tree being around, that was it. She does like to look at the lights, and now and then she’ll reach out and touch an ornament, but that’s it. And since I went artificial-Texas-hill-country-cedar for a tree, the water issue doesn’t apply.

      She does get a little excited when she gets her stocking, though. ;)

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post – Dixie sends her regards!

      Linda

  4. Cats love Christmas!! Ours always loved the empty boxes and wrapping paper. We had a world class tree tipper many years ago but our two now will completely ignore a tree.
    Dixie is a real beauty!

    • Phil,

      Ah, the paper. Miss Dixie’s favorite “toy” actually is tissue paper. I put some sheets out for her, she shreds it into tiny pieces, I throw it away and give her more. The whole cycle takes about a week. If she’s really good, she’ll get some red and green tissue in her stocking, instead of plain white.

      Glad your tree-tipping days are over. And Dixie says “thank you” for the compliment. She does try to keep herself presentable. ;)

      Linda

  5. Yes, Linda, what a good tradition you’ve begun. When I received notice of this year’s edition of the Dixie Cat Carols in email this morning, I knew Christmas was truly around the corner. I love this post and always have — is the passage including the words about “the stars and the dirt….” new — or maybe just new to my eye — what I happened to especially connect with this year?

    • Janell,

      Whoever would have imagined there would be bloggish holiday traditions? I do love this post – for the fun, the photos, and especially for the way it expresses certain truths that are important to me.

      That passage about “the stars and the dirt” has been there since the beginning, but it’s been expanded a bit, re-worded and now reads a bit more gracefully than it did in the beginning. As both the good Miss Flannery and the good Miss Annie liked to say, “I write to find out what I know.” Sometimes, it takes a couple of passes. ;)

      Linda

  6. Hello Linda,

    I know I am really behind on your stories but I saved all of them I have missed so far. You know I read this one; I love your tales about Dixie Rose! And those songs you created.

    Here is wishing you and Ms Dixie Rose a beautiful Christmas Holiday!

    Patti

    • Patti,

      The good news is that I know where you’ve been while you’ve been getting so far behind. You don’t have all those hours to kill any more, waiting for 6 p.m. Saturday!

      Besides, if there’s anyone who does Christmas better than Dixie Rose, it’s you. It’s been such fun following your own seasonal traditions – in fact, maybe even more fun, now that the kids are growing up.

      Thanks for stopping by – see you “over there” soon!

      Linda

  7. I love the point that we sing joy to the WORLD, and not just humans. And your kitty cat… *sigh*…she looks very much like my dear sweet and departed Kali and this whole post has brought her to me today, paw prints in the snow.

    Happy holidays, Linda!

    • Emily,

      The world sings to us so beautifully and so often, it’s only right that we should return the favor, don’t you think?

      Holidays do bring our departed loves back to us. I can see your Kali’s paw prints – what a lovely memory. I don’t think Dixie would be so brave, although I was surprised when I discovered she’d been opening the sliding glass door and letting herself out onto the patio.

      Enjoy these last days of preparation, and the celebrations to come.

      Linda

  8. Hi Linda:

    I’m still rolling on the floor laughing from the lyrics of your songs and the initial behavior of your kitty. I once had a cat when I was about five years old, and when he died, I recall I cried for about three days. Pets are able to dig deep inside our hearts.

    I echo with your words about joy and peace in the world. We need so much of those two ingredients nowadays.

    Always grateful in meeting you through the invention of the Internet, and reading your weekly inspiring blog posts. Now I’m finally beginning to understand English.

    Thanks a bunch,

    Omar.-

    • Omar,

      Oh, I’m glad you enjoyed our little bit of holiday fun! There’s just no predicting what these creatures can get up to when our backs are turned!

      You’re right about the way any kind of pet can find a spot in our heart. Most people spend their lives vacillating between “Aw, look at the cute squirrel” and “That danged squirrel!”, but when my little guy died, it took a long, long time to get over it. There are so many stories – and there were some funny moments, even after he was gone, like the day I tried putting on a pair of shoes I hadn’t worn in months and found the toes filled with pecans!

      Joy, and peace – they’re always in short supply, but they never completely disappear.

      Linda

  9. She’s a very pretty girl!

    We really disliked cats until one cold and snowy Christmas day one appeared at our door and we took her in. (What else could you do?) We ended up loving her so much for the next ten years.

    • montucky,

      She is a beauty. She’s a little plumper now than in these photos – a result of age and indoor living – but she’s still a very striking kitty.

      Have you read Loren Eiseley’s essay, “The Talking Cat”, from his book “All the Strange Hours”? I found an online text here. Eiseley’s a master of short, mysterious, memorable nature writing. This is no exception, and I suspect it will surface some memories for you, too.

      Linda

      • Thank you for that link: I enjoyed his story very much, and yes, it did stir some memories. I posted a story about our Christmas cat several years ago. You can see it here.

        • She’s just beautiful, and so is the story. In fact, it brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad she found a home with kind people!

  10. What a great homage to a special cat. I’m glad you re-posted this. Love the picture of Dixie Rose in the white bowl.

    When we were first married we had a cat Honey-Bun who looked like Dixie Rose’s twin. (She was named by the 5 year old daughter of the friends who gave her to us.) When we emigrated we gave her to good friends of my parents and she ended her days living like a duchess.
    Whenever they took their dog for a walk, Honey-bun would follow slightly behind them and always walking on the walls.

    • Rosie,

      That bowl is my marker for the changing of the seasons. In winter, she’ll have nothing to do with it – it’s cold, of course. In the summer, she loves sleeping in it, because it’s cool. When I notice she either is or isn’t in the bowl any longer, I know the seasons have changed.

      Aren’t cat names wonderful? I’ve always thought T.S. Eliot had it just right – there are the names we give them, and those “ineffable” names which we only get to glimpse. I can imagine Honey-Bun on those walks, tail straight into the air. They’re such marvelous creatures – I’m glad she found a good home. It had to make leaving her easier for you.

      Linda

  11. Dixie deserves an extra gift this Christmas for being so creative, funny, very good and herself.
    May Dixie continue to spread love, understanding, peace and laughter to everyone.

    • Fran E,

      She’ll do her very best to spread love and laughter – she always has. I hear that Santa may have a surprise or two in store, but I dare not say more than that. I don’t have any proof that she knows how to check out these blogs, but I have my suspicions. ;)

      Lovely that you stopped by, and I appreciate the comment.

      Linda

  12. Even as we speak, I am busy learning the carols to sing to my brother’s family cat, Mad Hattie, on our family get-together day just after Christmas. I suspect my rendition may trigger Hattie’s favourite party trick: getting locked in one of the neighbours’ garages thereby causing hours of mild mayhem.

    Festive Greetings to Dixie Rose, her staff ( ie your good self) and all your family of readers !

    • Anne,

      Mad Hattie!? Oh, my! Not only is the name clever, it evokes an image of a particular variety of cat – one given to creative ways of causing a stir. From what you say about the party trick, there’s some evidence of those tendencies.

      Dixie thanks you for your greetings, and sends along this little bit of Celtic festivity for you. She’s a wise kitty, and knows that some things shouldn’t be parodied!

      Linda

  13. Purrfect Christmas carols and very clever ones at that, for all us cat owners and lovers.

    Your Dixie Rose seems so playful. Our T-Bob used to be quite a playful kitty, but now as he approaches age 15 he just sleeps, drinks water from the kitchen faucet (he leans in and turns it on!–doesn’t turn it off though), walks around or perches on the window sills just looking out, and then, he sleeps some more. No, a ball, tissue paper, or a bell on a ribbon doesn’t do it for him anymore.

    Lately, he comes to sit on my lap when I go to the computer so I type with my hands straddled over him– a bit awkward, but I have adjusted. They have a way of doing that to us.

    • Georgette,

      T-Bob? How did your kitty get a Cajun name? That has to be a story in itself.

      He has a few years on Dixie, but she’s slowing down, too. She’ll still play, but it has to be when she’s ready. Otherwise, she’ll be asleep on the sofa again. She has learned a new trick, though. Now, when she wants my attention or something to eat, she’ll come over and sit up on her haunches, for all the world like a dog begging. She does it before she jumps up into the chair she likes to have her morning nap in, too. I’ve not been successful at getting a photo yet, but it’s funny as can be.

      They do have their ways. For a while, Dixie would jump onto my desk, get behind the monitor and then stare at me over the top. My heart melted every time. I’m sure she knew that.

      Linda

  14. I’m wondering if “Dixie-Rose-Center-of-the-Universe-and-Queen-of-all-She-Surveys” was in any way modeled after the “She who must be obeyed” in H. Rider Haggard’s fantasy novel She.

    • Steve,

      In a word, no. I’d not heard of the novel or the author until about ten minutes ago. I just read a bit about the novel and can’t believe it – never out of print, millions of copies, etc., and I’ve never heard of it?

      In any event, Dixie certainly would get along well with “She Who Must be Obeyed”. They’d have a lot in common. Now that I think of it, I’ve heard that phrase drifting around from time to time, but didn’t have a clue it was rooted somewhere. Live, learn and all that. ;)

      Linda

      • Hmmmm…. I always thought that “She Who Must Be Obeyed’ came from the Rumpole of the Bailey stories.

        • I do think it was used there, too, but it clearly was pre-dated by “She”. It was news to me!

  15. What entertaining songs, Linda. Dixie Rose must be in high spirits already! And you’ve caught her so beautifully in those poses from defiant, pleading, to “I’d never do that” and finaIly, in cat’s dreamland. All the best to you both for the “purrfect Christmas”! (l had to add that!)

    • Andrew,

      I love everyone of those photos – can’t pick a favorite. I’m sure you often experience that. I must say, the one of her experiencing a little timeout in her kitty condo never fails to make me laugh. If I were to caption it, I think I’d use, “Ain’t got no friends to make my bail”. Remember the old Kingston Trio song?

      She is in high spirits – when she isn’t asleep, that is. I don’t go quite as crazy with this holiday business as some folks. She’ll never wear a Santa hat, for example (the antlers are photoshopped!) But she’ll have a good time, and probably even have just a lick or two of ice cream.

      Una muy feliz Navidad a usted y Cecilia – wherever you may land for the holiday!

      Linda

  16. There’s something so winning about a cats mischievous ways! Love the songs, they are super silly, just the ticket for a grey day :) It’s got me thinking…

    My last but one beloved cat used to like lying on the keyboard of the computer – but only when you wanted to use it of course! He also used to lie at the top of the stairs and savage the unwary, not such a great habit, but he was also badly treated before he came to me :(. My last cat was really thick, but very sweet, another stray…he used to lie in the middle of the road when he heard my car coming up the street!

    I’ve just noticed how much lying down is going on in the last paragraph…they do a lot of that don’t they?

    I’m off to sing carols to my friends cows next week, maybe we should make up some bovine ones.

    • thinkingcowgirl,

      I was such a serious child in some ways. I think that’s part of the reason I delight in occasional silliness now. No less a heavy thinker than Wittgenstein said, “Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness, but come down into the green valleys of silliness.” I do my best to follow his advice.

      While I still was learning about cats, I was surprised to discover they will sleep about 18 hours a day. And, of course, their awake time tends to occur during our sleep time. That presents its own problems, but we’ve made our adjustments.

      I think bovine carols would be splendid! The first one that popped to mind was a transformation of “The Holly and the Ivy” – perhaps into “The Heifers and the Hay Mow”! While I was refreshing my memory of English carols, I came across someone I’d never heard before – Woven Hand. Their version of “Down in Yon Forest” is memorable.

      Enjoy your singing!

      Linda

      • I like that quote! Great advice to follow…a high percentage of silliness is entirely necessary to life I find :) Go Wittgenstein…

        Dixie is a very beautiful girl, I’m impressed you managed to train her, which obviously means she must be clever too…

        Thanks for the link to Wovenhand, that was brilliant. I thought the the background sounds were like clip clopping hooves.

        And the Heifers and Haymow line…haha, I’ll work on that!

  17. Isn’t it fun rewriting lyrics? Once upon a time, I started calling the white cat Glockenspiel, for no apparent reason (it replaced “Cadwallader P. Tailflourisher, probably just in the nick of time). Inevitably, a certain poem got parodied:

    Oh, Glockenspiel has come out of the west,
    Of all of the kitties, his tail is the best
    If making a shambles is your kind of deal
    Then you need a cat like young Glockenspiel

    He’ll make you a shambles as quick as a wink,
    Barf on the carpet, then nap in the sink,
    Streak through the house from one end to the other
    Terrorize sister, and aggravate brother. . . .

    I have a nickname too — “She who must be butted.”

    • WOL,

      Yes, I agree. The move to Glockenspiel was a good one. And the parody’s great. That “streak through the house” business is especially amazing and entertaining. Even now, Dixie will take a sudden notion to make a run – usually at 3 a.m. I don’t know much about the secret life of cats, but I do know that a lot of the fun stuff takes place at night.

      Your nickname’s pretty entertaining, too. I know a little about that.

      Linda

      • The white one is Gobi (like the desert) Gobatiputitati, alias Emperor Pu An Yu (Pu for short), The grey one is Stormalinda Phogg-Foote, alias Penelope Pitti-Patti, and the black one is Jaks T. Hoover, alias Deedle. We have a deal. I give them elaborate, ridiculous names, and they don’t answer to them. Cats don’t really need names anyway. They know who they are.

        • And even if they’re not entirely certain who they are, we’re never going to know about it. Greetings to Gobi, Pitti-Patti and Deedle. If Deedle were around here, I’m afraid there would be a few instances of Tweedle-Deedle, just in the course of casual conversation.

  18. Growing up we had just one cat. Being army, our relationship with pets tended to be short lived with all the moving. But each seemed memorable in its own way.

    The parakeet had the funniest stories..or we had them when the parakeet wasn’t talking! I’ll watch for a parakeet post. And our toy fox terrier, Twinkle! Oh well! My mother tried very hard to train the cat to do its business outside. We had a kitty litter but there were still those outdoor opportunities encouraged. But, the cat always saved it for the planter wall we had next to the dining room in that house. Mom would open the door, a streak of fur and it was a done deal!! No mistake, cats are always in charge!

    • Judy,

      I always forget to include Nikki, the cockatiel, in my list of pets. He was a wonderful bird that met a terrible end, so perhaps my forgetting is simply a way to avoid thinking about it. Let’s just say that we WARNED him, over and over again, that he needed to fly, and not walk everywhere he wanted to go.

      His best trick was spreading his wings as broadly as he could and then announcing, “I’m an eagle!”

      Cats tend to be in charge, but one of Dixie’s better qualities is that she understands “No!” I rarely have to use the word now, but it’s effective. At least, she stops whatever she’s up to. Whether she goes back to it when my back’s turned is something else, but she does allow me to think I have a little control. ;)

      Linda

  19. I think this is an excellent holiday tradition. I’m quite impressed that you are able to “hang ornaments even on the lowest branches with confidence.” That is a definite milestone. Funny how many cats have appended to their names “Center-of-the-Universe-and-Queen-of-all-She-Surveys” . . .

    • Susan,

      I think “COTUAQOASS” is an Ur-title. Consult cat owners in Brazil, Wyoming, Lichtenstein and Tamil Nadu and you’ll find it distributed pretty evenly! They may have different customs and sing different songs, but they’re all perfectly convinced of their place in the larger scheme of things.

      As for that ornament business, I’m perfectly aware that they hang solely at the pleasure of yon kitty. Remember Simon’s Cat?

      Linda

      • Hilarious! And as for Simon’s Cat: when I told the Edu-Mate about this post this morning (and particularly the Ur-title), she immediately said, does she know about Simon’s Cat? (To which I replied, oh, yes, yes indeed!)

        • That was Thor!

  20. I was going to beg you to do a reprise but I just never got around to it.

    I’m not sure how Gus will react to Christmas. It will be his first one with us, since I didn’t take him in until Dec 31st last year. He’ll probably sleep through it.

    The late Thor was one of those world class tree tippers and I got out of the habit of putting up a tree. That temptation is eliminated. There’s really not that much room for one, anyway.

    I doubt that Gus will pay too much attention to the Christmas cards taped to the dining room archway or the candles in the front windows. He might lift an eyelid at the twinkling dragonfly lights in the wreath on the front door.

    Anyway, best wishes of the season you and The Queen.

    • Gué,

      Can you believe I forgot about Gus? Bad me! He’s been added to our little group of cat-carolers, with all the privileges that en-tails!

      I remember some jokes about Thor’s enthusiasm leaving you with some “thor” heads when that tree toppled. They all have their little quirks – and we adapt, or not.

      We had arches in my childhood home, too, and that’s where the cards always went. I’ll try and find some pics. There aren’t many, but I’m sure I still have one of me and Santa framed by the arch by the front door. I must have been about in 4th grade.

      Of course, I also have a photo of Santa coming to the house the first year I was home from college. That year, he brought Chanel #5. Santa’s a very smart man. The best part is I never have found out who it was – but he never missed a year, for at least seventeen years. One of these years, he’ll show up again. I know it!

      Linda

  21. Delightful post! We have a housecat too and she too is named Dixie. Our Dixie is, however, indifferent to our Christmas celebration.
    May your Christmas season be filled with blessings and peace.

    • Bill,

      To each her own, as they say! Of course, it’s also true that, in your setting, there’s a good bit more to amuse a kitty on a daily basis. Who needs special celebrations when you have a dog, and chickens, and goats?

      Thank you so much for the Christmas wishes, and my best to you and your family, too.

      Linda

  22. Hahahah!! This was fantastic. Thoroughly clever. I really needed a smile, and I got it — thanks so very much. :)

    Ah, kitties and Christmas were MADE for each other! My entire family has cats — well, and dogs and horses, but they’re not so consumed by the festivities. The paper. The tree. The candles. The tinsel (oh my….if they EAT IT — do not pull! do not pull! CUT! CUT!). My mother learned the hard way…with a very large, heavily laden tree with two wild rescues, to tie it to the WALL. It’s understandable, though — you can’t blame them! They’re kitties…and it’s a fantastic thing to CLIMB!

    • FeyGirl,

      I’d never heard that hint about the tinsel. It makes perfect sense – but in the excitement of the moment, who’d think to run for the scissors? Thanks for that!

      I can just see your mom trying to tie up (down?) that tree. I’ve got a friend who went the ceiling route – they put a plate up above the tree’s spot and rigged up the sort of chain that would hold a light fixture – except stronger, I suppose. Anyway, they secured that to the top of the tree with a pulley, and… My gosh! The contortions we go through to have our trees and the critters, too.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Listen carefully the next time you’re out and about. I hear rumors the alligators sing, too. ;)

      Linda

      • Hahahah! Love it. Still love it….

  23. What cat lover would NOT love this post?!!! The photos are fun, the stories great, and the songs clever and well written/composed! Every cat lover that I know will love this post!

    I will share via reblog – oops, just kidding!- though i can work this in to the post that i’m writing now about reblog and pingbacks! with your kind permission, i would like to point readers to this post!

    You are a treasure!
    Z

    • Dear Z,

      You are so funny! Of course you’re always welcome to link to my posts – those links are what help to make the web the Web. I guess I did probably have more than enough to say about reblogging for you to know how I feel about that! But links? No problem at all.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Parody is a fine craft – it rarely goes to the level of art, but who cares? There’s fun to be had, especially during a festive season. And I did love sharing the photos of Dixie.

      Oh! I told Andrew (Graeme Gould, a fine photographer based in Chile) about my great find at the farmers’ market today. Two women, one from Argentina and one from Columbia, have started a local business selling homemade empanadas! Beef and chicken, both Columbian and Argentinian. Spinach and cheese. Humita.
      And they have the sweet ones, too – like dulce de leche with banana or fig. I’m in heaven!~ I used to frequent an empanada stand in Houston. It’s moved on, but now, after 20 years, I have another source for the real thing. Hoorah!

      Linda

      • how great that you’re reunited with empanadas and humitas! have you ever had pan de yucca?

        i bought two yesterday while travelling, and oh my, they had to have been the best i’ve ever had. they were stuffed with a great cheese, not just average queso fresco.

        z

  24. Although I’m a dog-lover, I fully enjoyed this post. Dixie sounds like a fascinating pet! I’m glad you’ve got her trained to avoid the tinsel and trimmings, and she certainly coins some beautiful phrases in her kitty-songs. Thankfully, my Sheltie never messes with Christmas presents or decorations — I guess it just doesn’t interest him, even though he watches me wrap and decorate!

    • Debbie,

      Fascinating’s one word. Frustrating can be another, but we all go through that, no matter who shares our life. Truly, the most fascinating thing about her is her obvious desire to do “the right thing”. She can be demanding when it comes to wanting attention, but she’s well past wreaking havoc to get it.

      Your Sheltie looks too dignified for such foolishness! I saw you’re taking a little break, but I certainly hope somewhere along the line we get to see him celebrating the season!

      Merry Christmas to you and yours – I assume the Domer will be home for vacation. Enjoy it!

      Linda

  25. Ben and I enjoyed the poems and I showed him Dixie, a lovely and interesting kitty. I’m glad she learned to behave at Christmas.
    Our cats, Penney and C.J., are old now and could care less about Christmas. This year we have two poinsettias and some lights around the front window, so not a problem anyway. We’ll be at son’s for Christmas and they have two cats, Henry and Alice, so they can deal with them around the tree (including the Granddog and our dog). Should be interesting. Thanks for making us all smile.

    • Martha,

      You know what I read the first time through, of course – that your cats are named Penney and J.C. I can’t think of childhood and Christmas without thinking of J.C.Penney’s. It was The Store in our town, although Spurgeon’s gave it a run for our money.

      Old kitties are placid kitties, that’s true. Dixie’s beginning to slow down herself, but even when she’s splayed out on the sofa, you can see those eyes following every move. There ought to be plenty of movement at your son’s, with all those critters. Enjoy it all, and Merry Christmas!

      Linda

  26. Silly excess! It’s a philosophy I can get behind.

    Hanging ornaments even on the lowest branches these days, huh? Dixie Rose reminds me of my husband. He’s evolved over the years, too.

    That photo of her in the bowl is adorable.

    Your last sentence expresses a wonderful wish for all of us.
    “May we all be blessed with such peace and joy.”

    • Bella Rum,

      I have this sudden image of those decorations hanging over your table, and H, batting at them with his paw…

      I hope you’re feeling better, and beginning to edge back into a little silly excess yourself. Dixie was thinking about coming over to cheer you up, but then she remembered who her competition would be, and she said, “Forget it. I’ll never be that cute, that appealing, or that compelling.” She’s not fond of grandchildren.

      I hope they will be with you, and that peace and joy abound!

      Linda

  27. Wonderfully written and well worth a second read.
    My own fur ball is fast asleep on the new cushion covers I have just placed on the cushions ready Christmas. How does he know they are clean? I shall have to evict him…I want them to stay that way!! lol
    Is the tree up yet? Have you got into the ‘spirit’ – I mean time of year and not the bottom of a bottle!

    • Sandi,

      What is it about cats’ desire to lay on anything new? Even laundry fresh from the dryer is fair game around here. I used to think it was the warmth, but now I think it’s just the “new and different” aspect. Mail left on a footstool, an open magazine, a piece of cardboard – it’s all fair game.

      Yes indeed – the tree is up. It was up with just the lights for a few days, but now it’s fully decorated and adding to what passes for festivity around here. No spirits, though! There’s too much to be done between now and then for that sort of thing!

      Linda

  28. WONDERFUL post …
    With 7 cats, I have given in and stopped putting up a tree. My kitty jail isn’t large enough for everyone. :-)
    Initially, I was looking forward to finally putting up our tree(s) when the older generation reached a “mature age” … but lo and behold, the second generation started … the youngest is now 6 and the oldest is 14 … I always think … maybe next year!!!

    Thank you for the joy of this wonderful write! Merry Christmas!!

    • becca,

      I knew you’d like it! What I didn’t know is that you have seven cats – I thought you had about four. My goodness – I’d say I can’t imagine what that would be like, but the truth is I can imagine it. You’re a better woman than I!

      That kitty jail has been useful for a number of situations. Once I figured out that Dixie would “punish” me by ignoring me, I figured turn-about would be fair play, and I started making progress. She hated being left in kitty-jail. On the other hand, it has a lovely sheepskin in it, and it’s also her favorite place to sleep on cold nights – she’ll go right in on her own.

      Merry Christmas to you and your own personal fur-herd! I can hear them singing from here!

      Linda

      • :D plus 2 porch cats (in front) and 2 large dogs (in back) …. fa la la la la! … la la la! LOL

  29. Ah, our beloved felines. How they inspire joy and laughter and hair-pulling and sighs and, apparently, new verses to Christmas songs! These are great, Linda.

    When I lost my beloved Nikki (she’s the real nikkipolani) to cancer at age 20, it was the first week of the new year. Roomie and I cleared up the Christmas decorations and enjoyed a fuzz-free house for all of a week. We couldn’t take it any longer and adopted Minou and Emmaline who were both about a year old. Boy, were we glad we’d put the Christmas things away before they arrived!

    • nikkipolani,

      Glad you enjoyed the adapted carols! Despite the hair-pulling and sighs, our girls do provide so much joy and laughter – a little tribute here and there is the least we can do.

      I’d wondered if Nikki had been one of your cats, but never focused enough to ask. I can’t imagine anyone ever taking Dixie’s spot in the household – and of course none of them ever “replaces” another, as each is so unique – but I fully understand that urge to fill the feline-shaped space! Still, I can imagine that Minou and Emmaline provided great entertainment. The phrase “herding cats” comes to mind.

      Merry Christmas to you, Roomie and the furballs – I know it will be a good one.

      Linda

  30. Hooray, hooray, hooray! Checking in after vacation and a crazy re-entry! And what to my wondering eyes did appear than a post about Dixie, adorable. Dear.

    Well, you know I am a big fan of these cat carols and I’ll be singing more than a few this year to one Lizzie Cosette who will no doubt add her own choruses!

    The carols are wonderful but as you might expect, most of all I love the background, the story of discovery, training and acceptance. I suspect she finds plenty of joy with you and doesn’t need to knock down a tree to prove it!

    Merriest and Happiest to you!

    • jeanie,

      I think it’s marvelous that this may be Lizzie’s “real” first Christmas. It’s wonderful that she gets to spend it with you – you’ve got so much to teach her, and vice-versa. I don’t think you need to worry one bit about tree-tipping. If I were Ms. Lizzie, I’d be so overwhelmed in your house I wouldn’t know where to start – so I’d just sit around and admire it all!

      Merry Christmas to you and Rick, and to Lizzie Cosette, too. I hope it’s a wonderful one, and that you feel well enough for the cookie baking!

      Linda

  31. LOVED the song with the shotgun shells. (But you knew I would, didn’t you?)

    • Hey! You frontier boys are all the same – except your attitude toward the bunny rabbits and what’s allowable to protect them is just a tiny bit different. ;)

      You bet I knew you’d like it – you can sit around and sing while you wait for the day to warm up. I just checked to see if you got any of that snow – looks like you missed out on that but are going to get plenty of cold. Stay warm, and enjoy the holidays!

  32. Oh, the carols are perfect! Dixie is definitely the Queen. (You are so lucky to have her select you as her person) Such adorable pictures. (How did you get those antlers on? OK you are a magician with the camera stuff….)
    Most of all I love the 2 paragraphs about “joy”.
    Look for us dancing on the bridge early in mornings – it’s the best time.
    Warm thoughts winging to you and Dixie

    • phil,

      The antlers are there courtesy of photoshop. It’s the only decent photoshop project I’ve ever achieved – and to be quite frank, if you asked me to duplicate it now, I’m not sure I could without a week to figure it out again. I tend to learn what I need for a specific reason, and I knew that, given the choice between tying on antlers and photoshopping – well, it was time to get techie!

      In the end, the joy is the point, isn’t it? The beautiful thing is, joy is possible even in the midst of imperfection. Thank goodness, huh?

      Keep watching on the bridge – you may find the ibis marching along, intent on who knows what kind of mischief!

      Linda

      • The antlers are perfect. (I was sure Dixie had a paw in the supervision of development…not wanting anything embarrassing out there)
        IBIS! – There’s a small flock of 12-15 that has been living on the greenbelt/island. Molly is fascinated by them and we always watch their march…it’s like changing of the guard precision. But they are MIA the past few days – maybe they joined your flock?
        Tide must be out – with a north wind – the bridge channel is about 1-2 feet deep today.
        Merry on!

  33. Oh what fun!!!!! Thank you, Linda!

    • Having neither crawfish nor alligators to mess with around here, we do what we can! Glad it gave you a smile, Wendy!

  34. dixie sounds like a sassy cat. they’re always so endearing and attractive to cat lovers. she’s beautiful. i’ve always had a special place in my heart for cats and callie’s are so special.

    • sherri, she is sassy. Just ask her vet! She doesn’t enjoy being picked up, transported or in strange territory. She becomes The Devil Cat. I’ve been blessed with a vet who just grins, wipes off the blood and does whatever needs to be done. He does say he’s pretty happy she’s been so healthy.

      She is beautiful, and she’s a dear, despite her quirks. I hope she thinks the same about me.

      Linda


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