There was a time when Tabby’s Place had a full-size Christmas tree in our lobby, all aglitter with sparkly bits and bobs and luminous light.
There was also a time when pterodactyls soared above the earth.
And then came the Community Cats.
In fairness to Community Cats past and auld lang syne, many felines were able to coexist with the tree. (Exhibit A: Tony, in the thumbnail above.)
But sometime c. 2009, there was an insurrection.
We should have seen the early signs. Sometime around Thanksgiving of that year, I came upon Jonathan deep in conversation with the late Lily. Perched atop a lobby table, Lily was chewing the hat of some sort of straw pilgrim. “Lily,” Jonathan explained soberly, “this is why we can’t have nice things anymore.” Lily stared into Jonathan’s eyes with deep understanding, then relieved the pilgrim of the burden of his head.
The pilgrim, alas, was only the first victim. Many nutcrackers would fall in days to come. Many pine needles would be stripped. And many, many, many non-food items would be eaten.
Wise humans know when they’re beat. The tree came down, never to return.*
Nowadays, all sparkly bits and bobs are at least 10′ off the floor now, such that any cat who reaches them has fully earned his right to eat non-food items. Despite these limitations, our Duchess of Holiday Delight, Sharon, has managed to make the lobby a festive and fabulous place replete with Yuletime joy. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.
And even with the decorations out of their reach, the cats are clearly amped-up with holiday cheer derangement. Boots, the greatest of all tree-eaters, is salivating at that vaulted garland. Oksana is hurdling back and forth over the baby gate into Jonathan’s office like ten thousand lords a-leaping.** And now that Mario‘s moved into the lobby, every day is going to be the Feast of the Seven Fishes, with struffoli everywhere and Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey booming overhead.
It’s a free-for-all.
Fortunately, though we may no longer have a full-size Christmas tree, we do have a free supply of something greater, dare I say something Yulier: grace.
In the holiday season as in every season, the cats are as wild as they wanna be. And we, with eyes asplendor, are their happy, grateful servants.
*Breaking news: Some brave or feckless human whose name rhymes with Flangela has placed a small Christmas tree in the Community Room. It has fiberoptic lights that cause it to look both festive and radioactive. Other humans may or may not have attempted to throw this tree away for the crime of being “ugly.” Stay tuned for if when the cats decide to annihilate it.
**Yes, there is a baby gate on the door to Jonathan’s office. This is ostensibly for the purpose of containing Colleen, who eats a prescription diet, overnight. However, it is actually for the purposes of giving Oksana a hobby.