The Cat Who Came for Christmas

Mowgli

I was loading my car to head to my parents’ house for Christmas. I opened my door, and in walked a black and white kitten. He looked at me, he looked around, he went to the bedroom and hopped onto my comforter to take a nap. He was dirty and severely malnourished, but he was home. I belonged to him from that point on.

He traveled with me that day. By evening we thought we’d lost him. We called and called, searched and searched, but could find him nowhere. We hadn’t seen him go outside. Still, it seemed likely he had. A large family at Christmas-time means doors constantly swinging open and shut. And even a malnourished kitten that had just come in from the outside would probably prefer to go back out, we thought.

The next morning, sitting in the living room, talking about what we would be cooking that day, my mother and I heard a noise. It was the sound of the kitten climbing out of the Christmas tree. He had to sleep somewhere safe, and that was the only tree he could find in the house.

That was in 1999. Thanks for 10 years of bossing me, Mowgli. You’re the best. I know this has been a hard year with many trips to the vet and many aggravating battles of will over medicines, fluids, bland foods. Bear with me on that. It’s just the way I’m coping with the idea that we don’t have much more time. You’re still the best lizard catcher in town.