Feline Felicitations, Redux

Many of you met Dixie Rose and her Christmas carols some years ago, but newer readers haven’t had the pleasure. She’s an old kitty now, but she still enjoys celebrating, so this repost of  her “Cat Carols” seems in order. Enjoy!

Laugh at the antlers if you must, 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. I don’t advise standing in her way.

Dixie arrived on my doorstep as an unloved, four-month-old stray who became my first real pet. During my childhood, there had been a painted turtle which met an unfortunate end and a birthday puppy which terrified me with its enthusiasm and had to be sent away, but even the fox squirrel and prairie dog that came along later were pets only in a manner of speaking.

My relationship to Dixie Rose has been of a different order entirely. She’s a beautiful, spoiled creature who brings me great happiness despite her quirks, and she’s come to accept me with a certain tolerant bemusement.

During our first Christmas season together, it became obvious that old routines would have to be adjusted. Tree trimming and gift wrapping became enticements toward chaos: shredded ribbon, broken ornaments, and pulled-down swags marked her passage through the house.

After she tipped the tree a second time, and then a third, I surrendered. We celebrated with a bare tree that had been weighted at its base with several feet of galvanized chain. 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 due to my furry darling’s obsessive appetite for tinsel, glitter, and gold.

As Christmas Day approached, Dixie and I began to disagree 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 come to call Cat Carols. (Click any title for an original song version.)

Wreck the Halls

Wreck the halls all decked with holly,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la la-la-la.
Sheer destruction is so jolly,
Tip the tree with all its treasures,
Shred the presents for good measure!
Fast away the fur-ball passes,
To wreak havoc on the masses,
Swinging through the punch and cookies,
Snarling at the reindeer rookies,

When I included the lyrics in Dixie’s Christmas card to her vet, he suggested she keep writing. So, she did.

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 sweet 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 save you for a 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, so there’s even a song for them. I don’t advocate shooting cats (or dogs, or people for that matter), but I do understand how pure frustration might lead to this:

Jingle Bells

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. Like children, cats (and probably dogs) need to be reminded that 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 contributions to the songfest.  Housecats themselves, Mister Man and Miss Moo knew 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
Through the halls our toys we pitch,
And with triumphant meows proclaim,
Cats do have superior brains!
Hark, the housebound felines sing,
Glory to the milk jug ring!

Dixie and I have begun working seriously on this year’s song. 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 necessarily bad, and even silly excess can become a path to truth.

Looking at Dixie, singing her little songs to her, I  remember another favorite carol. Remarkably, we don’t sing, “Joy to human beings: joy to those who walk upright, drive cars, open too many credit card accounts, and are nasty to their neighbors.” We don’t sing, “Joy to the church-goers, the faithful, the worthy, the few.” No, we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her king.”

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 inhabiting them.
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, tracing a path upon its soil and gazing upon its stars, are called to sing its praises, too.

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 even to the face of the most anti-feline Scrooge.

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 awaits, in perfect peace and joy, 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.


Comments always are welcome.




137 thoughts on “Feline Felicitations, Redux

    1. Ah, yes. You’ll notice that I used the phrase “despite her quirks” to qualify my description of Dixie Rose. She certainly is a one person cat, and anyone who trys to pick her up — including her vet — learns that pretty quickly. Still, she has some sterling qualities: no jumping up on tables or counters, no scratching, no attempts to get into human food. It makes up for a lot.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Give my regards to Elle Destructo, and a happy Christmas to you both.

    1. You have enough voices there for a choir!

      It occurred to me that someone surely had come up with some Southern Hemisphere parodies, and so it is. Check out these. They amused me as much as the ones Dixie and I wrote, and they’ll suit that 40C in a way snow lyrics don’t.

    1. I saw your latest post with the cats this morning and thought of you, Nia. I wish you could meet Dixie Rose. She doesn’t generally take to other people, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she accepted you. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post — give all of your friends our greetings!

    1. There are a few outdoor cats I’d love to be able to render catatonic. I do enjoy cats, but I’m fond of birds, too, and I’m sure a neighbor or two has been amused by my antics when I try to clear a prowling cat from the area.

  1. Excellent! I’m glad you both have reached a point where the decorations are safe. My brother has always been a big fan of cats. I will pass this along to him to enjoy.

    1. It only took about four years for us to reach détente: not bad, all things considered. Now, if she shows some interest in a bit of glitter, it pleases me. I get out a new catnip toy, and for a while she’s a kitten again. Then, she jumps back up on her heating pad and goes back to sleep.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for passing it on.

  2. We have one of those kitties. She calls it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year when the people put a tree and shiny things all over the house. We had to have a few years without a tree. I was trying to talk the family into a festivus pole, but no luck. Now she is happy to just eat artificial tree needles.

    1. Eating tree needles? As the old saying goes, there’s no accounting for taste. It is interesting how individual their quirks are, and how their interests change over time. A couple of years ago, Dixie’s greatest pleasure seemed to have become looking at the tree lights at night. Now, if I turn them off, she howls. If I turn them back on, she purrs. Of course I leave them on.

  3. A friend of ours from Germany found an abandoned kitten at Caribou Coffee and brought him home to us. The reason I mention that Christian was visiting Germany was that he would have gotten his kitten back if he had not been. The reason I mention that he found the kitten at Caribou is that is how the kitten got his name, Caribou, which stuck for about a week until we changed it to Little S**t or LS for short.

    Here is what LS accomplished in less than a week.

    – Removed table cloth from table along with everything that was on table at the time. What was on the table? I am not sure, I am not a forensic anthropologist, adept at piecing fragments together.
    – Got into sewing room. Enough said (we are still pickup up pins with our feet).
    – Terrorized the indoor cats. At one point, LS entangled his claws in Kelso’s fur and was dragged about the house for ten long minutes by a panic stricken Kelso.

    So we banished him to the shed to live with the outside cats. Within a week:

    – Terrorized the outside cats, a very tough crowd.
    – Discovered that going up a tree is easier than coming down. Cried until I got a ladder. Peed on me when I climbed up to get him.
    – While crossing the bridge over the pond, LS jumped into the water. I have never seen a cat do that, neither have I witnessed a cat rescue from the personal point of view.
    – Climbed the tree again and peed on me again.
    – Climbed the tree again.

    So we banished him to the cattle barn of my wife’s niece.

    – Now, LS rules the barn.

    1. I’ll bet he rules that barn with an iron paw, too.

      Your mention of LS’s jump into the water amused me. Like children, cats apparently go through stages, and for about three years Dixie would drink from any faucet, jump into the bathtub when it was filling, or sit at the edge of the tub and play with the water. Now, she’s done with that, and has moved on to power napping.

      It’s interesting that LS was abandoned. I’ve become convinced that early experiences shape animals’ behavior as well as humans’. Dixie Rose wasn’t abandoned, but she spent her first four months in a household where ten year old boys constantly were trying to catch her to carry her around by her tail, and other such indignities. She’s not a lap cat, and even after all these years full-blown panic sets in if I pick her up. If I leave for a time and a kitty-sitter comes, she moves under the bed and just waits it out until I get home — and more than one kitty-sitter has learned that you do not put your hand under the bed.

      1. Speaking from thirty years of criminal justice experience, I am also convinced that early experience shapes behavior. I recognized it in LS right off. It was not that he was criminal – rather that he could not connect his actions with consequences.

        At least in my thinking, the first indicator of sociopathic or criminal thinking is – that nothing is ever their fault and the first sign of recovery (yes, it is possible) is accepting fault and responsibility which means that they have to accept that other souls inhabit their world – something that LS has yet to do.

        1. LS isn’t alone in that, as any skim of the news of the day makes clear. Way back when, I wrote this about the former presidential candidate, John Edwards:

          “Like Narcissus gazing into his pool, full of admiration for his own image and oblivious to the world around him, Edwards became enthralled with some of the most common illusions of life: that his behavior was excusable because it was his behavior, that others existed only to serve his purposes, and that his own cleverness and agility would prevent others from discovering his secrets.”

          That seems strangely relevant. I may have to haul it out and polish it up a bit. There seems to be a larger pool of characters to draw from today.

  4. I enjoyed reading this a lot! :) What a vivid and loving description of the “queen of your household:! I’m so happy for you two that you’ve found each other.
    Have a wonderful Sunday, and “happy tree-destruction” :D ,

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Pit. Dixie’s quite a character, but we’re well suited to one another. Once we figured out each other’s limits, things began to improve rapidly. It’s delightful to have her around, and when she no longer is here, the hole is going to be pretty large.

      But until then? It’s catnip mice and (shhhh!) a new scratching post for Christmas. I told her the 40W heating pad, an early gift, was all she was going to get — but that wasn’t exactly the truth!

  5. Cheery and lively post that illustrates how the passage of time eventually mellows us all, even cats.
    The photo of her on her back with rear white paws in a dapple of light would make a terrific painting.

    1. We do mellow, don’t we? Mellow certainly beats exhaustion or cynicism — at least in people. I don’t think Dixie Rose has a cynical bone in her body, although every now and then she does exhibit signs of exhaustion: especially after a 2 a.m. romp through the house.

      I do like that photo. If you’re ever inclined to play with it, let me know and I’ll send the original file, which would be better for purposes of painting. I suspect you’re still working with horses and bison, though. I hope you’re enjoying it, if you are.

      1. I would love to play with that photo. I may try a plein air approach on a small linen canvas to see if I could do it. Of course, if I can, you would be the recipient. Then, I would try a larger version for my granddaughter Lilah, who loves cats.
        Also, please send me your address privately so that I might send you a bottle of our olive oil.

        I’m taking a break from bison! Two finished paintings that I like very much.
        Turning my attention to horses (and maybe a cat).

        1. I’ll send the photo as an email attachment, along with my address. It would be special, indeed, to have a bottle of your oil. You certainly went through enough to get your olives from tree to press to bottle. And feel free to do with the photo as you please. I hope we’re going to see the bison on your blog — and perhaps a horse or two as well.

          A really interesting article landed in my morning reads today — a little article about the etymology of the word latke, and the relationship of that tasty treat to olive oil, Hanukkah, and lamps. It’s funny that we often had friend potato pancakes when I was growing up, but I don’t think I heard the word latke until I was in high school, and one of my Jewish classmates decided to hold a Hanukkah Hop at the country club. We thought it was wonderful. It gave us two holiday dances to attend,and besides — the food was delicious.

          1. Wow. A Hanukkah Hop. Weren’t you guys progressive! I was the Christmas Queen in 1966. And thanks for sending the article about the origin of the word. “latke.” I’m guessing it is Yiddish…many olive trees in Israel. I have finished two bison paintings that will soon be on their way to Arizona. I’ve been hesitant to post them but I’m not sure why because I am satisfied with the results. Thanks for the photo. It looks very fun to paint.Sorry such a choppy reply but I am tuckered out tonight!

  6. This is wonderful, Linda, and FUN! Ultra-clever job with the lyrics. I’m printing these out in large font & promise to try singing them when I’m home. Our cat (Yaller = his color and voice in one word) is pretty old and usually goes out, or hides under the dining room table, when we sing, not tuneful but joyful, but he’ll love the part about dancing catnip-plums. :) :) :)

    1. What a great, descriptive name for your cat. They’re such individuals, and more often than not, their names reflect that individuality.

      I’m glad you like the carols. I’ve certainly had some fun with them, and they’ve been passed around a good bit. I have a couple of verses of “Oh Christmas Bush” finished, but they just weren’t quite ready for prime time. Maybe I’ll add them in the next go-around.

      I’ve already done a parody of Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” as well as these carols. The thought of catnip-plums tickles me to death, and makes me think that a feline version of “The Night Before Christmas” might have to be next.

  7. Dixie Rose lives a good life and makes great fodder for blogging. Love the stories and the songs, especially ‘Santa is Coming to Town’ since it mentioned a dog. There is a cat who walks through our yard every day and I swear she’s purposely taunting Levi to go nuts. She stops, stares, goes five feet and repeats the process all the away across the yard.

    1. Jean, there’s no question in my mind that cat is taunting Levi. They can be sly and devious, as well as cute and cuddly. But they’re always interesting to watch, and when you get a good one — like Dixie — they’re pure pleasure to have around.

      Despite an early and rather long-lived fear of dogs, I’ve come to the point where I can enjoy and admire them. But in the end, for a whole variety of reasons, I’ve become a cat person. I probably won’t have another once Dixie is gone, primarily because the thought of outliving a pet bothers me. So, I’m just making the most of the time we have, and enjoying every minute of it.

    1. I love the seasons of Advent and Christmas, and always have. Some years, everything seems perfect; other years bring challenges. But every year a tree of some sort goes up, a candle gets lit, and even the worst Scrooge is welcome to come in for some cookies and carols. If the Scrooges don’t want to sing, that’s all right. They can sit around and eat cookies while we have fun making up verses.

  8. Kudos to you and Dixie Rose for meeting the challenges of a feline Christmas! She does look relaxed and happy after all those years of creating mayhem. Her work is done and your respect is a goal well met. And now the world can share and enjoy the hilarious Cat Carols.

    1. You’d laugh if you could see her this minute. She’s the very definition of relaxed and happy, stretched out and sound asleep on the heating pad I bought to help with her arthritis. We’re growing old together, my cat and me, but so far we’re doing just fine. It’s fun to share a little of her with you — and to have her to enjoy myself.

  9. Only because you mentioned that Dixie Rose was your first real pet, I wanted to tell you about the stages in a cat’s life, but I realized a bit later in your story that she is no longer so vicious towards the Christmas Tree. Usually, cats play a lot when they’re young, and it’s very natural for them to tear apart shiny and colorful ornaments, to climb a tree, and to tear all kinds of things down. I’ve gone through that a number of times with different cats. But eventually, they do learn to respect that which is important to their friends. Still, they maintain their own personality and belief system, and from my experience, that can’t be changed.

    I have to admit I was a little saddened by the sight of Dixie in her cat jail. My cat Nechama, for instance, developed reservations regarding religion. Even if she is most comfortable sitting on my lap… even if she likes my singing (she usually doesn’t), will get up immediately and walk out of the room if there is any religious ceremony performed. Moreover, she will also keep her distance from religious men who visit me. Since I have friends both religious and non religious, and adhering to more than one religion, it is really fascinating to watch her discerning among the guests, and how accurate she is in her appraisal. Wishing you and all your friends, and especially your animal friends a very joyous Christmas.

    1. There’s no need to be sad about Dixie’s “jail” time. For a couple of years, it did serve as a “time out” spot, but she rarely was behind bars for more than fifteen minutes. When she misbehaved, into the carrier she went. As soon as she stopped complaining, out she came. After a time, the misbehavior ceased, and there was no more need for “time outs.”

      In fact, she eventually came to regard her carrier with pleasure. It has a natural sheepskin in the bottom, and during the colder months, she took up the practice of going in and curling up in that warmer spot. Now that she has her own heating pad, I suspect she’ll not do that so often, but she’s still free to come and go as she pleases.

      One of the best tips I was given when she was still young — about two years old, I’d say — came from a vet’s assistant. She told me that mother cats will discipline their kittens by hissing at them in a particular way. She taught me how to do it, and before long i could stop Dixie in her tracks with a hiss. It was the most remarkable experience. One thing I didn’t want her to do was go out onto the patio. So, every time she began to do so, I hissed at her. It didn’t take particularly long for her to get the idea. Now, I can go out and water plants, or whatever, and leave the door open. She’ll sit right there at the open door, and never put a paw across the threshold. Good kitty!

      Their ability to judge people is remarkable, and their preferences can be just as fascinating as your description of Nechama’s behavior with your guests. Perhaps some day we’ll know more about what motivates them, but I suspect it won’t be in this world.

      Thank you for your Christmas greetings. Your own wonderful celebration begins in only a day: Happy Hanukkah to you!

      1. Thank you for the explanation of Dixie’s jail time. It reminded me of the travel carriage that I have for cats, and how miserable Nechama is when she even sees it when I bring it into the library from the storeroom. But it is true that a young cat needs a certain amount of discipline. Hissing is very good, and I have used it at times. I also used to use a rolled up newspaper now and then (with earlier cats… I never had to use it with Nechama. It is an expression of power (like the slap they sometimes get from their mother) but it doesn’t hurt them. Nechama adopted me after I had promised myself that I would never have another cat. And fortunately, we understood one another quickly. She was sort of like a parrot at first, always sitting on my shoulder. But with the years we learned to harmonize. You should see her come running when I turn on some music. And thanks for your hanukah wishes.

        1. You’ve reminded me of an old man I knew years ago, who lived life with his cat wrapped around his neck. He’d walk the docks, or work on his boat while wearing that cat — whose name, of course, was Sailor. One day, he and Sailor sailed off, and I’ve not seen them since, but the memory is sweet.

  10. I no longer celebrate Christmas, but not celebrating doesn’t mean I don’t make a conscious effort to keep the spirit and essence in my heart all the days. I’d rather Christmas was celebrated as a Winter Festival with all its excess and gift gluttony and then after that everyone should go back to being mindful and generous of spirit.

    At any rate, it’s nice to make a cat the center of attention at Christmas and Dixie is doing her part to ensure that. I now live in a land that exports Christmas trees via helicopter…and all the agrarian, pastoral efforts that support the holiday charm me no end. I have a locally made evergreen swag on my balcony railing and that’s my nod to the season.

    Merry Winter Season to you and DIxie!

    1. I’m not certain I’d favor excess and gift gluttony even for a Winter Festival, but that’s just me. I do love the church calendar — Advent first, and then the twelve days of Christmas — but I understand that’s an idiosyncratic view. By the end of Boxing Day, the Valentine’s Day items will be in the stores, and away we’ll go.

      That’s interesting about your helicoptered trees. A syndicated radio program I listen to regularly is broadcast over a Portland station, and a fellow who owns a tree farm in the area called in last week. It was fascinating to listen to him talk about their trees — so different from ours! — and the complexities of running that kind of business. It’s called Sunset View Firs, , and it’s one of those nice, family-run businesses. (Check out their “About” page.) If I were in the area, I’d buy a swag from them. Fresh greens are a perfect decoration; I’m glad you have some.

      Dixie Rose sends her greetings and admiration to Jasper. After her experiences on the road, she’s pretty impressed that he did so well.

      1. Thanks for the link on the tree farm! I looked it up. They are closed for the season and in Washington state. Not that that’s very far from me, but I’ve got plenty to choose from here. I got my handmade local swag just down the road.

        I ain’t advocating gluttony! But it’s going to be. Humans glut out in celebration, relaxation, exuberation. It’s gone way out of the control of mere mortals now…

    1. There’s a tendency toward over-production everywhere these days. The hand-cut snowflakes, paper chains, and spontaneous caroling of past years seem to be long gone. Whether they’re truly gone, or just overshadowed, is hard to say, but out here in the hinterland, we’re still baking grandma’s cookies and hiding presents in the closet. We know how to wait.

      Happy Advent!

    1. They say it’s not appropriate to laugh at your own jokes, but I was mightily amused while writing this, and it pleases me that you laughed, too. I hope your friend enjoys it. Do you know Simon’s Cat? If not, this ought to give you and your friend a chuckle, too. There are several great Christmas videos in the series.

  11. What an elixir of Christmas cheer, and so timely.

    We have mostly had both cats and dogs. The last cat, ‘Misha,’ lived on our farm and before that in Sydney where Misha was adopted as a kitten.

    The new owners on the farm wanted to adopt her, so hopefully she ended her happy life roaming the paddocks. Cats often bond more with the house and property than with owners. She got on very well with our Jack Russell, ‘Milo.’ Milo is now thirteen years but as young as ever.

    1. That’s quite interesting, Gerard — about cats bonding more with the property than with the owners. I’d never heard that, but it does suggest my decision always to have a kitty sitter when I’m gone rather than boarding Dixie in a “pet hotel” or veterinarian’s office is a good one. I’ve always thought it would be more traumatic for her to be carried off and plunked down in the midst of so much barking and meowing while being caged up. Better she stay in her own place, even if she spends most of the time under the bed.

      From what I’ve read of Milo, it makes perfect sense to me that he and Misha would have done well together. If I were to get a dog, you and Kayti have convinced me that a Jack Russell would be a good choice. But for now, I have my hands full enough with one cat.

        1. I’ve got something of an allergy to telephones, but I think I discovered something that might help you. If you use the shift button (press it first, it usually sticks) before pressing the return, it won’t send the message before you’re done. Merry Christmas to you too,

      1. I quiver a little when I think of Dixie Rose coming to the end of her life. Still, as you suggest, the memories will be sweet. Besides, the misbehavior often makes for the best stories — that’s true for any creature, including us humans.

        I have a hard enough time typing on my iPad. I can’t imagine trying it with a phone. On the other hand, the question mark is perfectly appropriate with a little adjustment. “Joy to everything — yes?” Yes!

        1. A favorite misbehavior, at leas tin retrospect (not at the time!) was caught on camera, and I have the photo in the kitchen. It shows Pablo sitting on the stove, helping himself to something in a pot that was obviously cool enough to eat. They are such wonderful companions, yes? Yes!

  12. We’ve gotten pretty Bah! Humbug! around these parts. Every year mom swears it’s the last year she’s going to bother with Christmas decorations. I haven’t bothered in years. The only thing even close to a Christmas carol that the fat(cat)boy ever sings is . . .

    Come, thou font of every kibble
    Put some kibbles in my dish,
    For I’m feeling kind of nibbly.
    Kibbles now is what I wish.
    Thou hast thumbs to open kibble sacks
    Scoop them up and pour them out.
    Nibbly kibbles! lovely kibbles!.
    Pour thou kibbles in my dish!

    (John Wyeth “Nettleton”)

    1. I’ve simplified over the years, but still put up my artificial, two-trunked hill country cedar, and the clutch of decorations that I’ve collected over the years. I love putting them on the tree, and remembering everything from the imaginary (?) bear who lives in the hill country to the Liberian friend who burned a design into a gourd I still hang. Several decorations go back to childhood, like the Swedish angel chimes that were my grandparents, and the little pair of ceramic angels my dad gave my mother on their first Christmas. Decluttering can be good, but I’ll probably never declutter Christmas.

      That’s a terrific version of the hymn you two have created. I knew the tune immediately, and remember at least some of the words. There are days when I suspect it’s only our thumbs that keep us a half-step up the ladder from our cats. Other days, I’m sure of it.

    1. I love that you reminded me of the Frasier episode with that title. I discovered that I can stream it on Amazon Prime, which I intend to do shortly. But there’s another “two Kings” that takes me straight back to childhood, and perhaps the first song parody I ever knew. Do you remember this?

      We three kings of Orient are,
      Puffing on a rubber cigar.
      It was loaded,
      it exploded.

      We two kings of Orient are,
      Puffing on a rubber cigar
      It was loaded,
      it exploded.

      I one king of Orient are,
      Puffing on a rubber cigar
      It was loaded,
      it exploded.

      …Silent Night, Holy Night

      It’s amazing what stays locked away in our memories. It’s been at least sixty years since I first heard that silliness. Thanks for turning the key in the lock.

        1. I learned that back in the days when we’d call up a neighbor and ask, “Is your refrigerator running?” or, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?” Goodness, we were young, and silly. But we had a lot of fun, and the adults were tolerant of that kind of foolishness.

          1. Sometimes I swear we grew up in the exact same place! We made the very same prank calls, down to the exact wording! Kind of off the cat subject, so I’ll go back to that below!

            1. Honestly? There are times when I think “generation” trumps “geography.” Sometimes, even people in such far-flung places as Australia and Germany have childhood memories that are remarkably similar, even if details differ slightly. I grew up knowing the little ditty that Andy mentions down at the bottom of this thread — the one about what happened “while shepherds washed their socks at night.” We could use more of that good-natured humor these days, that’s for sure!

            2. I can’t explain it! I never heard yours and Andy’s song, but perhaps you’re right about time vs place on other weird memories. I was making silly calls in Pennsylvania in the 70s, and I think your roots are more midwestern, but every once in a while, you’ll use a phrase or expression that takes me right back to my youth!

  13. Dixie is still a beauty and I love the poems except jingle bells is a no- no for me. Reminds me of the nutty female veterinarian here in Texas that killed a domestic orange cat with a bow and arrow and then posted her “accomplishment on Face Book. She had her license revoked for one year. Cat and animal lovers alike were not happy with the verdict. Her license should have been revoked for life.

    1. Shoot, Yvonne — I’d never shoot a cat, and neither would anyone else I know. The song’s just a good-humored reflection on the feelings we all have when we see the hordes of feral cats running the neighborhoods and killing the songbirds.

      I do worry about the true animal abusers among us — like that vet –and wish more attention was paid to them, since the link between animal abuse and a willingness to harm to people is pretty clear. Beyond that, no animal should be treated in such a way. But we need to be equally attentive to the feral animals among us. Like the cats, hogs are causing enormous problems, and shooting them isn’t going to solve it. What will solve it, I haven’t a clue. The best minds at A&M have been working on it and still don’t have a solution, so we’ll just have to see how things develop in 2018.

      I’d not heard about that vet, and still can’t quite get over that. The things people do to gain a little notoriety on social media are just beyond me.

      1. There are groups of people that band together to trap, spay or neuter and vaccinate feral cats. .I have trapped in the past about 60 or so and used my own funds. I’m no longer involved in trapping except those that come to my house. We have a low cost spay and neuter clinic here my town. It is highly successful and many low income people use the clinic. Just use your water bill as proof that you live in the town., Even folks from out of town use the clinic. I think they get special consideration if the cat is feral. The population here has been greatly reduced but it is on-going project.

        Feral hogs are another matter and here in this area, hunters go out and shoot them, Might even have some bounty hunters- but I’m not sure about that.

        1. There have been several projects around here, too. The marinas and shipyards were having particular problems, and eventually began trapping. The spayed and neutered cats had their ears notched, and then they were let back out into their old neighborhoods, since a few cats were considered a nice control for the rat population.

    1. She is a beauty, and always has been. She loves to be brushed, and that’s helped keep her coat lovely. If she feels like she hasn’t had enough brushing on a given day, she’ll carry the brush over to me and put it at my feet. What’s not to love about that?

    1. They certainly were fun to write, and have been even more fun to enjoy every year. Dixie may be getting old, but she still enjoys the season, I think. I caught sitting in front of the tree last night, just staring at the lights. Maybe she’s waiting for me to get myself in gear and get those ornaments on it.

        1. Hey! I got the tree skirt on it today, and put out my angel chimes. Tomorrow, I’ll get my overseas stuff mailed, and cross my fingers. Two weeks is cutting it close, but at least we have the twelve days of Christmas to help us out.

  14. Nothing like a peacefully dozing pet to make you smile! Love Dixie Rose’s cat carols (and her beautiful eyes!) Her mischief? Not so much. Dallas, while not a paragon of virtue, has never bothered the Christmas decorations. Never tried to grab an ornament off the tree, never batted at the lights and dangling electrical cords, never torn into the presents. I realize I’m very blessed. Of course, he’s a herding dog so perhaps he doesn’t view those things as sheep needing a pen!!

    1. They are delightful when they’re asleep, aren’t they? Now that Dixie has her heating pad, I’ll probably never get another photo of her drowsing in the sunshine — but she’s certainly sleeping better at night. Consequently, so am I.

      Dallas is just a good dog, period. But I suspect you’re right that the inanimate things that make up so much of Christmas decorating just wouldn’t appeal to him. Put a few wind-up toys under the tree and set them marching around and see what happens!

  15. There’s a BIG smile on my face! I love the Cat Carols and will be sharing this post with some of my new Crazy Cat Lady friends here at work.

    1. There’s nothing like a good Christmas tradition, eh? It’s great that you’ve got some new colleagues who share your enthusiasm for the furry ones. I’ve met some great dogs in my time, but still, it’s the cats who most appeal. If you can come to an understanding with one, there’s not a better pet in the world. It’s getting to that understanding that can take some time and effort.

      1. Some of us here at work are taking up donations of supplies for three smaller, local, under-served no kill shelters for Christmas. I think they’re going to be very happy.

        1. That’s really wonderful. We have a shelter here that gets great support from the city as well as private citizens. Every time Dixie Rose decides “Nope, not gonna eat that food,” I take the leftovers down to the shelter. Her pickiness is their good luck.

  16. As a life-long cat lover I love Dixie Rose’s carols! We are down to one cat (17 years old) who does not want to come into the house. When weather is bad we bring her into the garage. Otherwise she, Wiccan, is happy on the covered patio. When we had inside cats they could be dangerous at Christmas. One pulled the tree down twice and would snatch doll-like decorations for the packages. I miss them but not the chaos! This year we have only a poinsettia on the coffee table as we downsized Christmas decorations.

    Give my thanks to Dixie Rose for the smiles this holiday season! You two make a great team. May you enjoy the season with love, laughter and light as we are all citizens of this Earth.

    1. It’s interesting that your cat doesn’t want to come in. They’re such individuals, with such clear preferences. I always pay attention now when people mention their cats’ ages, too. I just pulled out Dixie’s records to double check, and sure enough — January 1, she’ll be seventeen years old, too.
      That’s a bit of an approximately, since the vet had to estimate her age when I first took her in, but he thought she was four months, and that’s close enough. I hardly can believe seventeen years have passed.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if she celebrates a few more Christmas feasts. At this point, all I want is to outlive her, since she’s such a one-person cat and wouldn’t adapt well to moving into another home — let along being caged in an animal shelter.

      A happy holiday season to you and yours, as well – both two-footed and four-footed!

  17. I have never had a cat, but I look at Dixie Rose’s photos, and I think Oh, how beautiful and sweet – maybe someday I will give up dogs and get a cat. And then I read the stories! I do find this one amusing and I LOVE the carols, but why are cats so darn difficult?

    1. We just think cats are difficult because they’re smart, independent, and determined to arrange life in a way that pleases them.

      When Dixie came into my life, I wanted her to be a lap cat: one who enjoyed people and wanted to be picked up and held. It took a while for me to figure out none of that was going to happen. But, once I accepted her for what she seemed to be — standoffish, unaffectionate, solitary — I discovered that she simply had different ways of expressing her affection. When I’m at the computer, she’s at my feet. When I go to bed, she always comes in for a pet before going back to her own bed. And almost every time I come home, she’s rolling over at my feet in greeting — provided she isn’t asleep, of course!

  18. My wife was wondering why there was such a broad smile across my face – then I showed her the lyrics and she smiled too. What fun and how human a cat can seem and what a joy an animal can bring to a home.
    I’m reminded of a Christmas hymn that school boys amended to start: ‘While shepherds washed their socks by night’, but sadly the second line and others are lost in the mists of time.

    1. Those lyrics aren’t that far lost, Andy. There were some American schoolgirls who knew them, too. Behold:

      While shepherds washed their socks by night,
      All seated round the tub,
      The angel of the the Lord came down
      And gave their socks a scrub.

      And when their socks were squeaky clean,
      All sparkling like a gem,
      The shepherds put them on again,
      And walked to Bethlehem.

      And when they got to Bethlehem,
      Those shepherds clean and neat,
      The Christ Child said, “you’ve got nice socks,
      But next time wash your feet.”

      No wonder I can’t find my car keys. My mind’s stuffed full with things like this. But that’s part of the fun of the holidays. Unexpectedly, memories both great and small show up for a visit, and it’s often quite fun when they do!

      1. Fabulous. Thanks so much for that – that’s different I am sure from the English version which I think never got past Verse 1. I’m off to print that out, but dare I sing it in church? Probably not!

  19. Dixie Rose has beautiful colors and the images are very nice with great light. The third image is lovely. I had a cat for more than 20 years and he was poised and elegant until the day he died.

    1. She is beautiful. I didn’t know the difference between a calico and a tortoise-shell when I got her, but now I know that she’s more calico than anything, even though she has a few patches of mixed color. I hope she can live happily for a few more years. She’s seventeen now, but healthy, apart from some arthritis. She still can jump up to her chair and sofa-spot, and occasionally likes to play, so I count both of us lucky.

  20. Love your message, Linda. Peace on earth, good will to men and women, and all of earth’s creatures is the true meaning of Christmas, at least for me.
    Our cat, FE, before she trotted off to cat heaven, loved Christmas as well. I even dressed her up in reindeer horns like Dixie Rose. FE seemed equally disgusted, or maybe resigned. She wasn’t quite as destructive as Dixie, however, even though we had to hang ornaments out of reach. Her true joy of Christmas, her catnip supreme, came after the event with wadded up christmas paper, boxes and bags, which she was allowed to attack to her hearts content. –Curt

    1. HI there Curt. I would like to hope that cats have at least limited access to human heaven, so that we’ll feel comfortable up there… wishing you a very beautiful holiday.

      1. Isaiah’s lovely vision that “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, And the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together,” suggests there surely could be room for a few cats!

    2. Oh, goodness. Dixie Rose didn’t get dressed in reindeer antlers in real life. Even the thought of trying to do that strikes terror into my heart! No, those are photoshopped. It’s rather a poor job, but it did the trick for the blog entry.

      I assume FE was a nickname, Curt — unless she was as strong as iron. What did it stand for? The only thing I could come up with was Feline Extraordinaire — which I’m sure she was.

      Of course she loved the paper, boxes, and bags. So does Dixie Rose — and a good number of today’s kids. I’d forgotten until just now that we never got to play with the paper. It was still too near the war and the Depression. Every package was carefully opened, and then the paper was smoothed, folded, and saved for use in the next year. I still have some package decorations from the early 1950s: plastic poinsettias, acorns, and sparkly artificial pine. They made the rounds over the years from one family member to another — but none ever was thrown out.

      1. FE was a very tolerant cat, in many ways. I’ll have to post the picture of her with here antlers one of these days. FE did indeed reflect her iron grey color. She also like to play fetch, which many cats would disdain, I’m sure. When I needed a break from work, I would wad up a little piece of paper, which she would dutifully run after and return to me, dropping at my feet.
        Somewhere in my history, I remember carefully taking off papers and wrapping it up. No more. Gift bags are carefully saved and reused, however! –Curt

        1. I believe you about playing fetch. Dixie has been known to bring me her brush if I haven’t been attentive enough in that regard. There’s something about having a cat drop its brush at your feet that focuses the attention. But what would we do without them?

  21. What a hilarious take on your beloved Dixie and Christmas songs! She is a beautiful calico. I too had a special calico, Cally❤ What is the difference between a calico and tortoise shell? Are all calico girls?
    I also loved your take on Joy To The World!!

    1. The majority (99.99%) of calicos are female. It has to do with genetics — a male calico has to have an extra chromosome, which almost never happens. And that’s about all I know about that! The difference between calicos and tortoise shell has to do with the color arrangement. A calico has white fur with patches of black and orange. A tortoiseshell has little or no white fur, and the colors are intermixed, rather than being discrete patches. Some cats, of course, will lie somewhere in between. Dixie has a good bit of white fur with orange and black patches, but she has some mixed orange and black striping here and there, too.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the fun little songs, and my riff on “Joy To The World.” Now, we need to come up with a song for Wylie.

  22. Wondermous carols!!

    With a house of 7 cats and 2 dogs, I’ve long retired Christmas decorating of any type except a wreath on the outside door, and Christmas flag on the pole! I used to put up 3 trees. After the 1st year with only 2 cats, I gave up on the beloved tradition. It’s been 12 years since my decorations have seen the light of day/night. I treasure the homes in which kitties ignore the tree, and merely sleep under it!! Enjoy yours!!!

    1. I’m glad that Dixie Rose and I came to an understanding about how the holidays should be celebrated, but I’m pretty sure if I had your household, we’d be in exactly the same position. One cat can be disciplined. Seven cats can conspire their way around even the most dedicated human. There’s no question that they egg each other on.

      No matter. You have a wreath and a flag, and the critters. I suspect Christmas comes, anyway.

  23. You know it’s always my VERY favorite post of the year! (Lizzie and I have started doing our carols, too — you’ve started a trend.) The photos are fabulous! I need to see how these might transfer to paint! Incidentally, Ms. Liz is totally ignoring the tree. It’s like it isn’t there. Not one batting, not one stink eye to it. Go figure!

    1. I think your Lizzie is growing up, that’s what I think. It does happen, after all. On the other hand, in your house, she may just be suffering from sensory overload. Unable to decide which of the decorations to go after, she just gives up and lays around in the middle of them, paralyzed by the sight of all that glitter!

      At least she’s there to celebrate with you — and don’t you have reason to celebrate, this year!

    1. No, I hadn’t read that. What a wonderful cover illustration. And didn’t I laugh at these lines, tucked well into the middle of the text:

      For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.
      For the former is afraid of detection.
      For the latter refuses the charge.

      There are such delightful bits of wisdom about humans scattered about through the poem, which adds to the effect. Thanks for the introduction.

  24. Gus was watching the twinkle lights in the window of the front door last night from the comfort of his ottoman. “What has that human of mine done now?” Yawn, stretch…. “Time for a nap.”

    1. We do amuse them, don’t we? Even the world-weary ones, like Gus and Dixie, can rouse themselves for a bit of a look at what we’re up to, but they have their priorities more firmly settled: food, nap, nap, observe, nap, food, nap. Well, and for Dixie Rose, youhave to insert the odd brushing, just to keep life on track.

  25. Never laugh at a cat, I have learned that long time ago, at least not if don’t want to have a lifelong problematic relationship. I am still amazed that Dixie Rose willingly let you put antlers on her. Even more amazingly are the Cat Carols. I very much enjoyed them. :-)

    1. Ha! I fooled you, Otto. There’s not a chance in the world I could put antlers on Dixie Rose. What you’re seeing is my very first photoshop project. She reacts strongly even to being picked up: so much so that even getting her flea medication on her is a project. Otherwise, she’s a sweetheart, and I’m glad her carols amused you. There’s nothing like a little fun now and then, especially at Christmas time.

      1. I too was wondering about those antlers,since I never had a cat that would put up with such a thing…. but I thought, probably in America, everything is possible.

        1. Even if she would tolerate being costumed, I’d never do it. A dog sweater in a very cold climate is one thing, but a Christmas costume on a pet? That’s something else. I’m a little odd in some of my views, but it seems an affront to their dignity.

          I love your understated, tongue-in-cheek humor. There’s a little too much that seems possible in America today. As a society, we might do well to relearn the wisdom of the old adage: “Just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean you should do something.”

  26. Such fun! Thanks. Our middle daughter is coming home for her first Christmas with a dog and cat she just got this year as a puppy and kitty, so it should be interesting. We have had a cat before, who passed on about four years ago, and we are looking quite forward to a pet-filled Christmas. Miraculously, the two get along famously, I think in part because they met as little ones.

    1. I’m suddenly imagining the Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat, chasing one another around your tree. I suspect you’re right that being raised together has bonded your daughter’s pets and will prevent the end described in the poem, but there ought to be plenty of antics to enjoy. Children and pets always add to celebrations. I suspect it’s the purity of their joy that does the trick.

  27. Ahh… Dixie Rose and her holiday carols. Who doesn’t look forward to that? I’m happy for you that she curbed her destructive holiday tendencies. She’s probably maturing (yet remains ageless). I hope her holiday is splendid.

    1. Well, isn’t this one of the best Christmas gifts ever. It’s good to see you pop up. I’ve been thinking of you almost constantly, and didn’t realize that you were posting on your blog again. For some reason, your response to my comment didn’t show up in my notification tab. No matter — we’ll not worry about that. It’s just good to know you’re home, and that all is well.

      Every day is splendid for Dixie Rose, unless she has to go to the vet. Since that’s been pretty much a once-a-year thing, she essentially lives a charmed life. The best investment I’ve made in some time was a 40 watt heating pad that tucks under her favorite towel on the sofa. The first time she went there for a nap, it was hilarious to watch her try to figure out why that spot suddenly was so cozy. Now? The chair, the spot of sunshine on the floor, and the little tent clearly qualify as low-rent. She’s on the sofa, and a happy cat.

  28. I can imagine if I got a heating pad for Gus. He’d likely never move again, except for meals and trips to the litter box. He luxuriates in being in a forever home, after months on the street, and spoiled rotten.

    I still wonder how such a sweet (and neutered) cat found himself homeless.

    1. It does seems strange, but lucky for him — and you. Still, if he ever develops arthritis, it’s will be worth considering. Of course Dixie luxuriates in its warmth, but it also seems to have helped her joints.

  29. I love your Cat Carols! And Dixie looks like a darling (to be appreciated from a distance by strangers, though). Wonderful that she had mended her ways, let’s hope it’s not temporary…

    While I’m allergic to cats, I still adore them but I’ve learnt from long experience never to put my hands anywhere near a cat that doesn’t know me, however friendly it seems with its owners. And when it does recognise me a fellow being, I do the same that I do with dogs and move my hand within its sniffing distance, without touching. Then at least the animal can get an idea of what I am about…

    1. I had to laugh at your comment about allowing a friendly sniff before touching. Whenever I come back from an extended stay away from home (overnight counts as “extended” in Dixie’s world) I always say hello by extending only a finger or two under the bed for a little sniff. Any more than that, and there will be blood dripping. She does get perturbed. It can take her anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day to come out from under the bed. It really is amusing, even though she clearly isn’t amused.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the carols. Not every kitty gets to leave such a legacy to the world!

    1. Juliet, it never had occurred to me that we haven’t done a version of “Silent Night.” I think that has to be next on the list — particularly since my darling has taken up howling and yowling, and I find myself longing for a silent night every now and then. I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  30. Ah, Dixie Rose. You inspire your human in many, many ways. I doubt you appreciate all the accommodations she’s made for you and your quirky ways. How innocent that little pink nose looks in your kitten days.

    1. Dixie would respond to you directly, but she’s still busy with her post-dinner nap. She’s showing some signs of old age — no question about that. But we’re still getting on, and with any luck we’ll have at least a couple more good years. On the other hand, if she doesn’t stop yowling in my ear at 2, 3, and 4 in the morning, we may have to have a real discussion.

  31. Dixie is so beautiful, and as I can see from the pictures, so loved and spoiled. My Sokz was not even 6 weeks old when someone threw him away, right onto my porch. I let him in and never looked back. He is my love, my sidekick, he loves me unconditionally!! He is a cuddle bug and will let me know when he wants extra love by head butting me like a great white shark! HAHA

    Anyhow, I could look at your cat all day….I am so glad she is loved and in a good home! <3

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