First Day of Christmas: Cat Cat meets Santa

Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the place where I found Jack, a 17 and a half pound, irritable, orange domestic cat and, arguably, the love of my life. Jack is the feline version of Buster Bluth … after the grape juice. It might sound ridiculous, but I find myself wanting to celebrate the holidays with the people who matter most to me, and in some cases, the people who matter most aren’t actually people at all. Two of the most important personalities in my life happen to be cats. And while I can’t share gingerbread cookies and Christmas carols (Jack doesn’t like music) with them, Woods Humane Society does afford me an opportunity to share another integral aspect of the holidays: visits to Santa.

Last year, I brought Jack and Cat Cat to Woods Humane Society’s annual Holiday Open House, which is A3471_10101871425644826_1443549001_n an event that features a number of activities including microchipping, adoption, shelter tours, an opportunity to purchase paintings made my shelter cats to benefit Woods. But my favorite of the activities is the opportunity to have your pet’s picture taken with Santa. We arrived early–before the event had officially started, in fact–because I wanted to make sure we were first in line. I was wrangling two cats alone (Colin was in Japan at the time) and I was worried that they would attack Santa if they came into contact with a dog beforehand. Also, my friend Maeva Considine had made each of them a bowtie out of fabric I picked up at Beverly’s and I didn’t want any of the other parents to scoff when I A432196_10101871424756606_2146760343_n-1crammed a bowtie onto my already pissed-off feline. Luckily, my plan worked, and Jack was No. 1 in the line to see Santa while Cat Cat was No. 2. (Technically they were in the same carrier, so they occupied the same place in line, but that was the order in which they were placed on Santa’s lap.) There were no other animals in line, so I wasn’t too embarrassed to slip the bowtie over Jack’s girthy neck, though I still cringed at every annoyed look he directed at his scarlet-clad captor. I was expecting antics–the sort A526696_10101871426627856_211419525_nthat you read about in the paper: “Domestic cat mauls volunteer Santa.” That sort of thing. But he contented himself to glare and hunch sullenly so you couldn’t see his bow in most of the pictures.

Cat Cat was next. This was before I’d come to fully understand and appreciate just how crazy Cat Cat is–A65101_10101871425046026_1458928609_nbefore I understood that Jack might be grumpy or sullen or glare at me even while he’s sitting on my lap purring, but he, at least, is predictable. Cat Cat is not predictable, and her fluffy, prissy exterior masks the kind of insanity that makes clown killers in horror films appear downright reasonable. It’s impossible to predict what will set her off. I learned that day that being shoved in the car for half an hour and then bundled onto a large man with a fake beard’s lap will set her off. All appeared calm for the first 30 seconds or so. She was neither biting nor scratching, but she had wild eyes, and that usually bodes ill for the mirror on the wall or anything that happens to be resting on the dresser near the bed. At just under a minute on Santa’s lap she decided she’d had enough and attempted to escape up Santa’s arm. Santa caught her in the process of scaling his shoulder and held her still, both of them now wild-eyed, while I rushed over to retriever her, remove her bowtie, and return her to the carrier, assuring the volunteers that we had plenty of pictures. (Which was actually the truth.)

If you would like a similar story to add to your holiday arsenal–as well as something to trade with the relatives with young children (who will insist on giving you photos of them at the holidays even if you’ve only met them twice and really don’t want the photos): Woods Humane Society is hosting its 2013 Holiday Open House Dec. 7 from 12 to 5 p.m. They’re located at 875 Oklahoma Ave. in San Luis Obispo, and I highly recommend arriving a little early, especially if your pet gets a little nervous around other animals.

 

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