I’m an animal lover, that goes without saying, right? I was walking down the canal with my mum and dad and we were reminiscing about all the animals we shared our home with when I was growing up. My mum lost track of the names halfway through the conversation and started simply referring to them as ‘the grey rabbit’ or ‘the one that bit me so hard I had to have stitches’. I knew all of the names, of course, partly because I was always an animal lover but mostly because I had to detail their names and physical characteristics so many times in French class that the details are permanently tattooed in my memory.
We had a cat called Tiddles when I was growing up. My mum and sister took him in after the vet told them he’d been found on a back street in the rain. My mum is a sucker for a sob story. You can take any animal to her with a sob story and she will take it in. Maybe not anymore, but certainly in the 90s. Tiddles was still a kitten during his first Christmas with my family. When it came time to decorate the tree, my sister and I went to fetch some tinsel from the tinsel box (1990s Christmas must-have) and found Tiddles lying in it having the time of his life with all the tinsel. Please see the photo evidence at the bottom of this post.
Tiddles is long gone, but now we have a cat called Bear. We got Bear just a couple of weeks after we moved into this house. As the classic saying goes ‘new house, new cat’. She was one of a litter of kittens born to a rescued cat taken in my one of Laurie’s friends. She was the most adorable scrawny black kitten and she used to run manically around the house attacking everything in sight. Ebony adores her, sometimes too much. Ember is yet to notice that she exists. I have actually watched Bear go right up and sniff Ember’s face and still Ember blank stares at nothing. She may be cat-blind.
Anyway, Bear ruins my life. I jest, of course, for she is an animal and I am an animal lover. But sometimes I do worry if she was sent here to break my animal loving spirit. She loves to do all of the things I hate her to do. She has a meow that would make Tabby McTat turn green with envy. And she loves to sit with her anus directly in my face when I am trying to read. Why, Bear, why?
It goes without saying that she will stop at nothing to ruin Christmas for me this year, and here are five ways will go about it:
1. She will eat something she shouldn’t
Bear will eat anything. Anything. Sometimes cat food, but mostly things she finds lying around the house. I once dropped a piece of courgette from a vegetable kebab and she polished it off within minutes. I have caught her eating avocado, lasagna and porridge. I don’t even know how she digests half of the food she steals. And she is never sick. It makes no sense to me. The only thing she won’t eat are Alpro yoghurts, she turns her nose up at those. So, I’m pretty certain she will ruin Christmas by stealing food. She will run into the dining room when I’m not looking and steal a sprout or she’ll finish off the dips when I’m not looking. I don’t yet know what she’s going to eat but I know damn well she’s going to eat something she shouldn’t.
2. She will ignore her Christmas present
The cat has a stocking. This was not my doing, but my mum got it her and it’s currently hanging from the fireplace in the living room. Last year, Ebony was so excited about Bear’s stocking that she neglected her own. The very first presents she opened when we got downstairs on Christmas morning were for the cat. Ebony was so excited that Santa had included Bear but Bear couldn’t give a crap. The Christmas Tree toy, the tinsel balls, she ignored them all. Ebony ran around excitedly trying to get her interested but it didn’t work. And yet, Santa has to keep buying those crappy cat presents because otherwise, people might think he isn’t real.
3. She will break baubles
We have one Christmas decoration for the cat. A single bell hung on a low branch. She can play with this all day every day and nobody will bat an eyelid. Of course, she doesn’t. She totally ignores it. Instead, she attacks all the other baubles. Especially the breakable ones, they’re her favourite. As I type this, I can see five Christmas tree decorations on the floor.
4. She Will Wake Us Up
I cannot explain how loudly Bear meows, but it’s definitely louder than a pneumatic drill. Way louder, in fact. She definitely wakes the neighbours on the rare occasions that Ebony hasn’t gotten in their first. She meows deafeningly loud to come in. Unless she’s in, then she meows deafeningly loud to go out. Or for food. Or because somebody (her) pooped in her litter tray. Or just because she likes to play torturous mind games to drive me insane. She will wake Ebony up on Christmas day long before the excitement has a chance to.
5. She will sleep on the stocking
Bear loves to sleep in places I don’t want her to sleep. This week, she is sleeping on the changing table. Admittedly, I find this hilarious. But it is not so funny when I am one-handedly trying to deal with a poop explosion whilst trying to shoo the cat down from the changing mat. She likes to sleep on my coat when I am running late to leave the house. She likes to sleep on a pile of Ebony’s clean but unironed uniform on Monday mornings when I am mid-breakdown about being late. You need it, she’ll sleep on it. So it goes without saying that on Christmas Eve when I drunkenly sneak into Ebony’s bedroom to be Father Christmas, she will be sprawled out fast asleep on the stocking at the end of Ebony’s bed and that if I disturb her she will meow so loudly she wakes Ebony up.
Will your cat be ruining Christmas for you this year?