The no-kill joint where I grew up always had so many animals, holidays were like any other day for us. This is my first Christmas in my own home, and nothing could have prepared me. Actually, nothing could ever prepare anybody for Christmas with Yul.
It’s tradition that Cats Working cats have their own Christmas stockings, and Karen makes them special. She embroidered this one for me herself:
Because Yul was adopted from the joint on December 21, 1996, his stocking got last-minute iron-on letters, but this year, Karen gave him an upgrade:
Now all our stockings are beautiful and Santa Kitty can’t miss them.
I thought getting my own stocking was great, but it was only the beginning. Karen decided to go all out and put up the big Christmas tree. She loads it with sturdy cat ornaments, which started when a previous cat named Rex playfully smashed nearly 2 dozen glass ornaments his first Christmas and pooped tinsel.
No more tinsel. Now we have garland.
At 13, Yul remembers lots of fun Christmases, so he couldn’t resist supervising assembly of what would become our shiny 7’ tree-shaped cat toy…
“The screws for the stand must be in here somewhere.”
After Yul showed Karen where to put every branch, he was proud of their accomplishment.
“See? It’s as easy as licking your whiskers!”
Next came the ornaments. We cats each get our own special ornament (me, too!), and Karen hung them all together, right in front…
Clockwise from top right: Rex, Fred 1993, Yul 1996, Cool Cat Adele, another Adele, and Yours Truly 2009 in the center.
Here’s the tree when Karen and Yul were finished decorating…
Yul got really excited when he found THIS ornament, a favorite of his…
Actually, there are 3 identical Fat Cats on the tree. Karen placed 2 near the bottom because Yul will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Adele tells me he has tipped the tree over in the past. It took Yul no time to claim the object of his desire…
And to decide that Fat Cat looked hungry after several years in storage and offer him a square meal…
Meanwhile, Karen was arranging silk poinsettias in a pewter pitcher on the kitchen table. Yul loves flower arranging, so that’s what he tackled next, giving the festive centerpiece his own personal touch — literally…
Yul says flowers are best admired up-close and sideways.
From one of my favorite observation posts — a beam across the living room — I politely admired the decorations on the balcony. Unlike Yul, I don’t have to get paws-on to appreciate things.
Once she had the house all decked out, Karen went shopping and brought home a whopping early Christmas surprise. Let me preface this by saying that our blue 4-tier kitty perch has been a fave of mine since I overcame the new-cat jitters and started hanging out downstairs with everybody. It’s about 5’ high, so no one can sneak-attack.
Unfortunately, sharing the perch became a turf issue with Adele. Things improved a little when Karen returned downstairs the kitty condo where I holed up for my first 3 months here. Adele was happy to get that back and has been gracious about sharing it with me…
But Karen thought everyone might be happier with another high perch. Naturally, Yul was on it before she could even remove the price tag…
Yul says, “First cat to shed on it owns it!”
From our old perch, I watched Yul demonstrate how to climb into the “crow’s nest” through a little hole in the bottom.
Yul says, “Nothing to it. Piece o’ tuna, Kid!”
Adele had to try it next. “Seniority,” she told me.
I’m chomping at the bit (uh, at the bottom) for my turn.
Finally, nobody was around and my big chance came to check out the crow’s nest for myself. I’m King of the New Kitty Perch!
Wow, this is a lot higher than it looks!
Karen moved the old perch to the other end of the room. Adele and Yul seem to prefer it there.
Sometimes they look like an old married couple, don’t they?
The new perch is now sitting next to my favorite chair, but I share it with everybody. It’s the only way to survive around here.
Yul says, “Kid, first kitty come, first kitty served.”
As we anticipate the arrival of Santa Kitty, Yul keeps fiddling with the tree, rearranging ornaments, garland, and lights…
“All the best decorators know that a few ornaments on the floor and droopy garland lend casual elegance.”
Sometimes, Adele doesn’t appreciate Yul’s efforts and lets him know in that no-nonsense, direct way I recognize all too well…
“Ow, Adele! Get a manicure! Your talons could use a trim!"
Now there are lots of presents under the tree, and Yul says some have my name on them. What could they possibly be?
Yul says, “I peeked, but it's fun to keep the kid guessing.”
Adele and Yul tell me the best is yet to come. On Christmas morning, we will open our presents, have a breakfast of Fancy Feast® Elegant Medleys, get stoned on ‘nip and nosh on Temptations® treats while we watch Video Catnip. It’s the feline version of It’s a Wonderful Life.
I feel blessed that Karen recognized my potential and selected ME — not a cute little kitten, but a grown-up cat with some emotional baggage — from my dozens of cellmates, and gave me this wonderful life. So I’m leaving all the mischief and destruction to Yul because he’s well-known for it and I don’t want to blow it.
The whole gang at Cats Working — Karen, Adele, Yul, and I — wish all our readers a Merry, Coley Christmas!
Yul needs to show me how to wear this thing with panache.