Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Twas the day after...

Sandra Parshall

Who reads blogs the day after Christmas? No one, I suspect. Even people who have the time probably feel like barfing at the thought of yet another blogger’s sentimental (or shrill, as the case may be) entry about the holidays. So, while nobody’s looking, I can get silly and sneak in pictures of my cats -- and write about their attitude toward holidays.

Emma and Gabriel are indifferent to all holidays except two: the Fourth of July and Christmas. They hate the Fourth. It’s entirely too noisy, starting with the firecrackers that neighborhood teenagers pop off in the streets. (Aren’t those things illegal? The firecrackers, not the teenagers, although a solid case could be made for outlawing the latter.) As darkness falls, the real racket begins. We live just outside DC, on the Virginia side of the Potomac, and we’re far enough away from the Washington Monument that we can’t hear the big fireworks, but we can hear the show on the Langley High School grounds loud and clear. At the first boom, our tabby Emma dives for cover, and there she remains for the rest of the evening.

Gabriel, our Abyssinian, tries to be macho and tough it out, but his poor super-sensitive
ears take a beating and by the time it’s over he has a headache and he’s a nervous wreck.

Patriotism aside, the Fourth is not a welcome time at the Parshall Manse.

Christmas, though – now that’s a holiday made for cats. Prezzies! Boxes! Wrapping paper! Boxes and big shiny sheets of crinkly wrapping paper are what Christmas is all about, from the feline perspective.
Our cats have so many toys already – Emma, for example, has one of the world’s largest privately-owned collections of catnip mice, every single one of which is off-limits to Gabriel – that adding more at Christmas seems pointless. So for Emma and Gabriel, the boxes and wrapping paper are the presents.

Around here, the paper stays on the floor for days. Sometimes for weeks. Or, if they’re especially fond of it, for months. Anyone who has cats (if they were reading this) would smile knowingly at that admission. People who don’t have cats would have no hope of ever understanding, and besides, even if non-cat people started reading this blog, they will have stopped long before now.

Some cat owners persist in decorating Christmas trees, and they have to get used to setting the trees upright each time the pets pull them over, not to mention gathering the scattered ornaments every morning and hanging them back on the branches. We gave up on the tree thing long ago. Boxes and paper are enough -- Emma and Gabriel are so hard to please in other ways, yet so easily rendered ecstatic by these simple gifts. Maybe there’s a lesson for humans in the joy of a couple of cats playing with wrapping paper, but I won’t pursue the thought, for that way lies the sentimental holiday blog all my non-readers are trying to avoid.

I will conclude by promising that next week, in my first blog of the new year, I will scrupulously avoid sharing my resolutions.


Anonymous said...

I feel lucky. I have four cats and none of them ever touch our Christmas tree. They're not interested in wrapping paper or ribbons, either. But toss out a buzy ball or bring out "the red bug" and they go nuts.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I read it all the way through, Sandy--and I loved the pic of the cat hiding from the Fourth of July. Now if I were a cat person--and a few brain cells younger--I'd remember if that was Emma or Gabriel. Another thing I can't remember: whether it's tomorrow or next Thursday that I'll post "Why I Don't Make New Year's Resolutions."

Marlyn said...

I read it all the way through, too, Sandy. There's a dearth of things to read online with DL being on hiatus. I so understand about the cats...we leave paper shopping bags lying around for days.

BTW, how do you tell when your cat has a headache?

Sandra Parshall said...

Yes, Lorraine, you're lucky your feline crew stays away from the tree -- working together, they could reduce it to splinters in minutes. I'm always afraid of our cats chewing on something that might be toxic, and I think pine or spruce needles probably are.

Liz, Miss Emma is the one under the rug. She is such a wuss.

Marlyn, doesn't Gabriel look like he has a headache in that picture?

Carol said...

Naturally, I read it to the end. So did the cats. Spenser, always mindful of dowries, would like to hear more about Emma's catnip mouse collection. Taco, who rarely plays with store-bought toys, wonders what kind of bottle cap collection she may be hoarding. Each is drafting a marriage proposal, with the question of final draft status based on forthcoming details.

Karen said...

Well, the day after, day after Christmas...and I'm glad you allowed for "silly" and shared photos and feelings of your feline family.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Eeek, I just realized, NONE of our neighbors set off fireworks for Christmas? What happened? WHAT is this neighborhood coming to?

Lonnie/without a cat but four deer ate their way through the front yard this morning. Does that count?