A Christmas for the Cats by Margaret Hart

For the first time in more than 10 years,  my husband, son and I — and our two rambunctious Ragdoll cats — were on our own for Christmas.  A terrible ice storm in Maine, causing widespread power outages, prevented my parents and sister from being able to drive down to Connecticut to celebrate the holiday with us. 

This Christmas was strangely quiet.   Our house felt eerily empty, despite being filled to the brim with extra food and treats, an abundance of holiday decorations and gifts, guest bedrooms readied with comfy new  linens and pillows, and cats running around the Christmas tree like mad tigers in a jungle filled with prey.

We kept hoping my family would be able to come down a day or two later, but Mother Nature kept lowering the temperatures, causing icy tree branches to break and fall on power lines and across their driveway, preventing my mother from being able to get her car out once the storm  had passed.  Thankfully, my parents have a portable generator, and had some gasoline on hand, so they were able to alternate between their own quiet house, to one with light and warmth.  For anyone in the Northeast who has been without power in the wintertime, you know how awful it is when you lose power for an hour, let alone for days.  And to have it happen at a holiday, is especially challenging.  

So, we all made the best of it.  On Christmas Eve, my parents were finally able to get to the grocery store and to the gas station to stock up on food and more gasoline for the  generator. And we hopped on a commuter train into New York City, and snagged a last-minute deal on tickets to the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. After the show, we walked over to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and took lots of pictures. We took pictures of groups of tourists, as well, excited families who asked us to snap their photos in front of the tree.  It felt good. Like we were with our family.

The next day, my son woke up at 6:00 am and headed downstairs to find presents from Santa Claus underneath the tree.  He was happy to have received toys and games that were on his wish list, and happily spent the morning building a Lego car.   In the afternoon, we were pleasantly surprised  to get a reservation for dinner at a favorite local restaurant serving a prixe fixe holiday menu; our food was delicious and we were seated a table in front of a roaring fire. We toasted to the holiday: my husband and I with a glass of wine, and my son with his Orange juice.

While we enjoyed our holiday, I think our cats had the most fun this Christmas. They are still kittens, being just two years old, and they loved playing with the ribbons and bows that had come off the packages opened Christmas morning,  sitting underneath the Christmas tree and watching all the lights.  Every chance they could get, they would race in and out of the living room, dashing under the tree,  drinking water out of the tree stand, biting off bits of branches and carrying them around in their mouths like dead mice,  and batting low-hanging ornaments with their paws. 

It was no use yelling at them, they were having too much fun.  So we all  had a good laugh when my husband described what the cats must be thinking:  “Wow, this is great.  A giant scratching post, filled with toys for us, and a large, cold, water bowl to drink out of.”   For a cat, it doesn’t get much better!

So here’s to the holidays!  Whatever way you celebrate, here’s hoping  yours is filled with comfort and joy!  Wishing everyone a  happy and healthy New Year!

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