Christmas P.S. – and a Spooky Mystery

By Max

I’m embarrassed to report that, in spite of my big talk, I chickened out and mostly missed my first Christmas. It all started Christmas Eve…

Adele had just settled into the litterbox when she heard a commotion in the driveway. She raced into the bedroom, which caused me and Cole to dive under the bed because Adele’s a homicidal maniac.

For the next 3 hours, the house was full of strange people. OK, 5 more people, but it’s just a little house.

None of us recognized 2 of the voices. Turns out they belonged to Karen’s uncle Richard and his wife, who had driven down from Mass. And Richard kept a big dog in his truck, right in front of our house. No way were we getting anywhere near him.

I almost felt sorry for Adele because when she couldn’t hold it any longer she had to get to the boxes. She bragged later that her “Merry Christmas” to the intruders was to leave her biz uncovered. She’s so spiteful.

Finally, everybody left and Karen came to bed. When all was quiet, I crept up onto the bed, but I couldn’t sleep. I swear I heard the “scritch, scritch, scritch” of Santa Kitty’s claws on the skylights. I would have gone to investigate, but Adele’s eyes were glowing malevolently at me from her bed on the dresser, so I stayed put.

Christmas morning, we chowed down on Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys, then I followed Cole back under the bed to sleep it off. Adele was the only one with any Christmas spirit.

Here’s what was in those big boxes wrapped in brown paper.

What are we supposed to do with this pile of junk?

Adele actually preferred the paper.

If I had some tape (and thumbs), I’d wrap her up and send her back.

Karen’s job was to put it all together.

Adele supervised from a safe distance in case Karen started throwing stuff.

Finally, it was done.

But what is it?

Adele was the first to show a slight interest. After all, besides a tub of ‘nip, a lousy blue jingle ball, and new food bowls (which are like giving a cat underwear), it was the only present we’d gotten.

Ball. Tunnel. Lame.

But then Adele figured out that the tower thing had TREATS inside!

Hmmm... there must be an easier way than pushing them through all these holes…

It didn’t take her long to figure something out.

The classic claw snag. Works every time!

Then Adele was diverted by Video Catnip, a Cats Working Christmas tradition. Adele’s seen it a dozen times, but she says she always finds something new in it.

If only Karen had put a couple of THESE guys under our tree!

Later, when Cole and I decided to check out the tunnel thing, Cole found the treats, too.

Why do they taste better when they seem stolen?

Even though Adele wasn’t crazy about our new toy, she got possessive and wouldn’t let me play with it.

Her eyes are saying, “This tunnel ain’t long enough for both of us, kiddo.”

Since the original configuration didn’t seem to be grabbing us, Karen tried making the tunnel even longer.

This thing could stretch into the kitchen and I STILL wouldn’t get any closer to Adele.

Since it was now taking up too much space, Karen tried one more time. When Adele wasn’t looking, I checked out the new, more compact arrangement.

OK, what happens when the ball hits the end of the tunnel?

We still have presents to open because we haven’t touched what Santa Kitty left in our stockings yet. Karen says we can have them this weekend when things are back to normal.

And now for the mystery…

When Cole came to live here in 2009, after the passing of Fred, Karen took some pictures of Cole on Christmas Eve. She snapped 2 in quick succession that were identical, except the second one had this…

Could it be the spirit of Fred checking out his replacement?

None of the other pictures that night, nor any she has taken in the 2 years since, have had what ghost hunters call “an orb” in them.

Fast-forward to Christmas morning 2011. My first Christmas here, after the passing of Yul. Karen took this picture of me (with a different camera than in 2009) watching Adele play with the new tunnel.

The spirit of Yul sneaking up behind me?

We didn’t see my orb until just now when Karen was helping me put this post together. It really freaked us out.

Other things have happened here since Fred and Yul died. Nothing bad, but we’re pretty sure they’re letting us know they’re still nearby. But that’s another story.

In 24 years in this house, the ONLY time Karen has EVER gotten orbs in photos have been these 2 shots, both of the newest cat on his first Christmas here.

It’s something to think about.

Happy New Year!


14 Responses to Christmas P.S. – and a Spooky Mystery

  1. adele says:

    Max, I remember the 2009 orb, and now this one — wow. Yul loved Christmas so, if ever there would be a time that he’d make his presence known, it would be at Christmas, but it is kind of spooky.

    Sorry you were freaked out by all the Christmas Eve company; I’m sure your grandparents and Aunt Keri would have loved to see you. You cats are certainly lucky to have gotten that tunnel. Alice isn’t in to treats, but Dorothy, who’s into treats and everything else is pea green with envy.

  2. jimmie chew says:

    OMG that is so a ghost!!!!
    Looks like “everybody” had fun with the toys.
    so cool!

  3. catsworking says:

    Adele (the cat) swears she can still smell dog from Uncle Richard every time she sits on the couch, even though there are now a couple of layers of clean blankies and afghans over the spot.

    It wasn’t just the people that freaked us out, but all the upheaval. Karen made the kitchen table bigger and put it in the middle of the room with dishes all over it so we couldn’t sit there and look out the picture window. She moved all the chairs around because the house isn’t set up to seat 6. She was stashing junk everywhere to make it look neater for company.

    Cole was the most upset because he really hates change, and I kept him company in hiding because the alternative was having Christmas with Adele.

    Glad you guys agree with us that we probably have cat ghosts in the house. Maybe some day soon Karen will let me tell you about the other stuff that’s happened around here.

  4. Mauigirl says:

    Cool toy! Maybe Baxter would like one! I wouldn’t be surprised if those orbs were the spirits of Cats Past. We swear we catch a glimpse of our old cat Mathilda out of the corner of our eye from time to time. She lived to be 20 and died in 1995…

  5. Britta says:

    Great Christmas tales…and, the orbs are really amazing. However, we learned several years ago of a kitty spirit world we had no notion existed. Too many stories to tell here but in short, involving a human medium, we learned of stuff we never would have otherwise known (nor would she) about incidents concerning our kitties and experiences we’ve had with other cats who have crossed our paths. Hard to believe to be true but with tangible evidence supporting the observations, impossible to deny. It’s real!

  6. adele says:

    My first cat died in 1986, and to this day, once or twice a year, I think I hear his very distinctive meow. I always think I’m dreaming because it happens either late at night or early in the morning, but I’m very aware when it happens. Four other cats have passed on since Wart’s (named after the young King Arthur, not a skin eruption) passing, but I don’t feel their presence. Who can say.

  7. catsworking says:

    Britta, please tell us just a little about what you found out. This stuff is really fascinating.

    Cole and I are now wondering if Adele hates us because she knows Fred and Yul are still here and she can’t understand why Karen supposedly “brought us in as replacements.” Fred and Yul were her best buddies and mentors since she was a kitten, and now she’s surrounded by rookies.

  8. Britta says:

    Hopefully, I can edit and capture the essence. Have to caution, hard to abbreviate these experiences. About than a decade ago, we were new-to-Florida beachside renters and sympathetic feeders who came to know the value of TNR. At one time, our numbers were in the teens but as we learned more and trapped more, and through attrition, we rounded down to a nice group of 6 (not including our three indoor girls.) LSS, in early 2009, the market was well tanked and for lots of reasons the timing was right for us to start looking to buy a home. Problem was, whatever we bought had to be renovated to include a sanctuary for the outdoor kitties we planned to trap and move with us. It had to be off the beaten path and in an area that where property crime (intrusion) was low.

    We found a home, built a secure, outdoor sanctuary attached to people points in the home. We built an old fashioned porch, an attached 1000sf cat run connected to a very secured, locked down garage. Now that we were ready, the task was trapping and relocating to a confined space…however large, none were accustomed to being “enclosed.”

    Just before our move from the rental, the house across the street was being demolished and rebuilt. A construction guy from the west coast had somehow found work on the project and was commuting every day. I came home from work one day to find Rocky and his son handing out flyers. Apparently, Rocky had a female of his little non-feral but outdoor kitty brood on the west coast, liking to camp out in the engine compartment of his pickup every night, hitch a ride. He came to work that morning not knowing she was under the hood, traveling with him for two+ hours, hanging on for dear life. When he finally parked, she flew out from the truck and seemingly took up residence somewhere in the overbrush of our yard or that of our neighbor’s.
    We contacted our TNR folks via email for advice.

    For the first time, we were connected with a cat psychic who, without much detail from us, provided that kitty was watching the man and woman feed other cats from their porch (us), described details about our feeding routine that the psychic would have no way of knowing, noted that the kitty complained of sore paws that were soothed by the cool ground and a desire to reunite with her owner. Two days later, a huge thunderstorm brought in a loud clap of thunder that sent her out from the brush. We had been holding a nightly porch vigil and my husband ran out, grabbed her and brought her into our home. She was not at all resistant. Her owner had been camping out after work in the area in hopes of finding her. We called him and watched a very happy ending.

    About a week later, we were due to trap and move. While pesky, we had minimal problems (well not any going willingly) caging all but two of the feral group. The last two hold outs were females who, while from different litters, and about a year apart in age, were unbelievably bonded to one another. Zap and Fuzz Butt never socialized with the others. They slept, ate and hunted together. They were never more than inches apart. They moved together in a most beautiful serpentine fashion, constantly rubbing against each other. It was amazing. Fuzz Butt was trapped a day after the others and moved to the new home. All were enduring severe adjustment issues. Most relaxed in a few days. Fuzz Butt found her way to the rafters of the new porch and for the most part, stayed there panting and waiting.

    We were lucky in that our former landlords allowed us access to the property to continue to try and capture Zap. Two weeks later, Zap was far too trap savvy and for us, getting up at 6am to try every day to catch her was proving futile. We contacted our cat psychic again to try and massage the issues. She claims to have spoken with both Zap and Fuzz Butt to tell them what we were doing and why and reported their understanding of our efforts. The next morning, my husband went out again to trap and Zap was ours. We transported her to the new property and released her into the cat enclosure. Unlike the others who were panicked and went through a phase of anxiety, she went right to Fuzz Butt and those two resumed their incredible bond. For the most part, they occupied the outdoor and garage enclosures, venturing into the porch only when humans were not around.

    We have more stories, but these are ones of recent significance that there really exists feline/cognition communication beyond our world. As I write, Zap succumbed to renal failure in November and Fuzz Butt is trying to make her way without her life partner.

  9. Zappa's mom says:

    What an awesome toy!! My Human never buys me anything cool like that?
    Speaking of Christmas,my administrative assistant has yet to get my gift in the mail to you guys.She always grumbles that Christmas just shouldn’t come in December…..


  10. catsworking says:

    Britta, Karen has been thinking that Adele needs to talk to a pet psychic so Karen can find out what her real issues are. She went from being the sweet princess of the house to a brutal despot virtually overnight. How did your psychic work? Was it done over the phone? Karen wants to find a competent one, and she thinks her vet probably would consider it all a bunch of hooey and wouldn’t have a referral.

    Zappa, that tunnel thing is growing on all of us. I have played with it myself and it’s pretty fun once you get the balls going. Adele has enjoyed the massager piece, and steals treats every day from the tower.

    Since the tree came down, Karen has put all 4 of Cole’s pink kitty cubes in place so the living room is looking like a big kitty playground. All we need is a swing!

  11. Britta says:


    Ours works via email. There is no distance in the spirit world. We’ve tested her with minimal info to see if we were being taken for a ride or if there was credible evidence of her abilities. Have to say, she’s made the mark. After I posted my thesis, I started thinking of more things she’s weighed in on and remembered what else she has done for us.

    And yes, for the most part, vets are too clinical to buy into this “stuff” (loosely termed). Do you have any connections with local rescue groups? That’s how we found ours. Sue claims she is not a professional and doesn’t solicit fees (we donate, of course) but our last reading was a suggested, at my insistence, $25 —and frankly, I still need to send her a check but the holidays have jammed us up a bit. If you run into a dead end with a psychic source, I could inquire about how she might be able to assist but I need to pay her first ;-). We had her read and communicate with Fuzz Butt when Zap was taken and never came back.

    You’ve recently brought Max into your home—could that be the issue? Adele has sort of been the queen of the roost, right? Max was introduced pretty quickly too?

    Let me know how else I may help. I am, as you may have surmised, pretty invested in “kitty issues.”


  12. catsworking says:

    Britta, I get all my cats from the Richmond Animal League, which is a no-kill shelter here. I could ask them if they know of anybody locally. If there’s no one, I would be interested in contacting Sue, since she’s gotten such a glowing reference. 🙂

    Brief bio on Adele: Adopted her at about 4 mo. in 2000 into my cat family of Rex, Fred, and Yul. She got along with everyone, although Rex was never chummy because he had kidney failure and died 18 months later. She was a miniature Fred (both all white) and he let her literally walk all over him. But Yul was her best buddy, and they spent the most time together. Fred died in 2009, and I brought in 3-year-old Cole, thinking an adult replacement would be good. Wrong. I don’t know if Adele objected to his age (3) or his color (black). Cole spent 3 months in my guest room, so it wasn’t a sudden introduction. Cole got along fine with Yul.

    Then Yul died this past summer. Also kidney failure. Adele was there through everything, watching Yul go steadily downhill. They remained friends to the end.

    Max’s appearance WAS sudden — the next day. But he was a 4-month-old kitten and I thought Adele would accept him more readily. Wrong.

    Now Adele doesn’t get along with anybody. After she initially terrorized Cole, he has become her bully. Actually, I think he’s trying to be friendly now, but she cowers and runs if he goes near her. (They had a few bad fights initially that landed Adele at the vet’s with abscesses.) And now Adele bullies Max. Max and Cole get along fine.

    (Whatever you do, don’t ever tell Sue about this blog or she’ll know everything!)

  13. Britta says:


    Mum on the blog, no worries. I am sending Sue her overdue compensation tomorrow and will email her with some of your intel as/when you direct. This inculcation stuff is so iffy. We brought in a Maine Coon to try and provide a friend for our other indoor one. My other old girl (20) could care less and we thought, “lets get a companion for Nola.” It took more than a year to get the Coon girls issues worked out. We didn’t ask for much help on this one although Sue did say that eventually, they would find their space, as they have. They will never be fast friends but there is now a definite respect for one another.

    When we adopt to keep our indoor numbers full at three, we do consider the age. Having focused on maintaining three seniors has generally worked out for us. I don’t know what would have happened moving a younger cat into the mix.

    There are so many variables, age, gender, experience, that it really is hard to begin to predict how things will turn out. Then as you probably well know, it’s just a personality crap shoot. Things surprise us in the most amazing ways…sometimes good, sometimes not.

    It seems based on what you have written that Adele has gone through a great deal of transition. She has had to undergo many life changes and you have to ask how you or I might react transitioning with consecutive changes in life circumstances. To everyone’s credit, It is remarkable that you are not having litter box issues too. Max is a “youngin” and an easy venting target. You seem to have great toys in your home and from what I have learned, providing positive reinforcement during enjoyable experiences goes a long way (my useless degree in Psych taught me that). Good food with fun toys in close proximity to one another is a start. If they start to exhibit aggression, time to end the “feel good” session.

    I so appreciate all that you and your brood have been through. My husband and I often lament that taking on this world means that we will have to deal with loss and trying to help our existing bunch deal with changes. No wonder we never take a human vacation.

    So, let me know what you want to do with the reading stuff. I can make an introduction early next week as you wish. I do really think though that you can, if you are able, provide some interventions that might facilitate a resolution.

    Happy to keep the dialogue going as needed,

  14. catsworking says:

    Britta, thanks for your offer to help. I have your email and will write to you there with other details.

    Yes, it’s true that Adele has had her world turned upside down in the past few years. She also has a longstanding allergy or something that I think keeps her itchy, which probably makes her irritable even on a good day. I’m hoping the psychic can glean some insight into that and what I might do about it. The vet just throws up his hands. (The more I say about that guy, the more I think I need to find a new vet.)

    Cole is the first adult cat I’ve ever brought into the mix, and it was really hard. He had 3 years of living in a shelter and the house totally overwhelmed him for many months. Now he’s fine with his surroundings. Adele seems to be his only sticking point. And he’s painfully shy, even running away from me.

    Max is our work in progress. I thought he’d fit right in because very other kitten I’ve brought in (including Adele) assimilated pretty quickly.

    Since they’re the only “family” I have every day, I try to give them everything they could possibly want, and more.

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