Saturday, December 20, 2008

Best Christmas Present EVER! ~ Post 3

Maybe you've heard this legend before. If so, bear with me, I'm the product of superstitious Catholics (ask me someday about my Ukrainian great grandmother who REALLY believed in fairies and pixies). Anyway, legend has it that if someone shows up on your doorstep on Christmas Eve, you shouldn't turn them away because they could be Mary and Joseph/Angels/Baby Jesus/Shepards/Wisemen (pick a holy traveler) in disguise.

Christmas Eve 1991, we came home from Mass and hear meowing at our back door and our cat, Socrates, is going crazy. Perplexed, we open the door and sitting there on the sidewalk is an adorable gray, black and white tabby cat. He gives us an impertinent "Meow" (translated from the original dialect, I think it was "Where the hell have you been, I'm freezing!") and just walks right in the door like he's always lived at our house.

He proceeds straight to Socrates' food and water and starts chowing down. Surprisingly, Socrates seems ok with this and licks his ears. Being superstitious, suckers, and animal freaks, my family quickly adopts our little stray Christmas Eve Kitten and name him Plato.

To add to the whole "Christmas Eve Visitor" bit, another legend. Check out a tabby cat's face. On every tabby cat I've ever known, you will see a distinctive letter "M." According to cat lore (and my mother) the reason for the "M" is because a tabby cat hopped in the manger to keep Baby Jesus warm. Mary, wishing to thank the kitty, kissed his forehead and blessed all tabbies forevermore.

As an historian, I'm not really sure this is true, if you know what I mean.

But, then again I haven't researched cat migration patterns around first century Bethlehem, either. All I do know is that he's turned out to be the best damn cat I've ever known.

Plato was "my" cat. I was his goddess. I fed him, cared for him, he would sleep on my neck, go fishing with me, wait by the door for me to come home from school, the whole nine yards. He took it pretty hard when I left for college, but fickle feline that he is, he quickly adopted my youngest sister as his new idol/personal assistant.

It's hard to believe that he's about to celebrate his 17th Christmas Eve with our family (by far the longest time we've had a pet. Many have come and gone since then). My sister, who was 7 at the time, really believed that Santa left him outside and came back later with the rest of our presents. Seventeen years later, she's still sure of it. Maybe Santa's also a psychic, because Plato arrived 2 months before Socrates died. Maybe he knew how hard it would be losing our pet so he gave us Plato to help ease that pain.

I'm really dreading the day that Plato passes away. I saw him a few weeks ago and he's slowing up. The lithe, sassy little ball of energy who accidentally took a trip to Oklahoma in the back of a sailboat (that's another story) is looking more and more like Old Deuteronomy each time I see him…


Brigindo said...

What a cool story. I had a cat "adopt" another cat for me once. My cat was actually very aggressive with all other cats. He had to be an "only" cat in the house but we fed outdoor cats that would come up to our window. Our cat would chase them away if given half a chance. Then one cat had a litter and brought them to the window for food once they were large enough. Winter was coming and our cat went outside, greeted one of the kittens, and marched her into the house---where she stayed and doted on him until he passed.

Donna. W said...

A real Christmas story! I love it, and will be waiting for the story of his ride in a sailboat.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great just that you have cats named Socrates and Plato, but that's such a great story.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

What a great story!

kcmeesha said...

finally got to read this, very good story. about 40 more and you have a children's book ready.

Anonymous said...

Wow great story, a little furry Christmas miracle. I am not a cat person (allergies) but I have to say I am really surprised by the stories of personality I have been hearing bout them lately. Plato sounds like a fantastic example of catdom!