Montana Outdoors

November 21, 2006

The Christmas cat

Filed under: Animals, Inspiration, Montana, Writing — Tags: , — montucky @ 7:11 pm

Christmas day had been an especially enjoyable one that year. There was the usual exchange of presents the first thing in the morning near a warm fire and later an excellent turkey dinner with all the fixings. Inside our modest little house we were warm and well fed and our family was all together for the holiday. Peace and joy, security and well-being were the order of the day.

Outside the house in the bitter cold of late December in western Montana things were quite different, and especially so for one small animal.

Late in the afternoon I stepped out of our back door into a foot of new snow and the stark white sky was just starting to spit out the first flakes of yet another heavy snowfall. As I glanced toward the little canyon just west of our house I saw a long black tail waving above the snow as its owner headed in a direct line to me loudly proclaiming the misery of her present circumstances.

It was a lonesome, scared, very hungry and quite desperate little cat. Her long black hair was matted in places and she was very thin, but most of all, through whatever chain of events that had transpired to get her here, she was completely abandoned in the middle of winter, out in the country, far from the nearest town and shelter. For her, here on the outside, life was a completely different situation than the one from which I had just emerged and although my state of literacy at that time didn’t include anything at all in cat language her message was very plain: “please, please help me!”

At that time both my wife and myself had an intense dislike for cats in general. Hatred might be a more accurate description. We hated cats! But, after all, it was Christmas and a fellow creature was seriously in need of help. I brought her inside and we provided her some small pieces of turkey from our sumptuous dinner and a saucer of milk, then an old blanket in an out of the way corner of a room. We would help her out until we could find her a home. Later, before retiring for the night I took her outside for a few minutes to answer the call of nature and she did what she needed to do and immediately returned to my feet.

In the days that followed, I hung notices in the nearest town with a description of our house guest and our phone number, but we received no calls. None of our closest neighbors had misplaced a cat, but one family who lived a half mile from us said they would like to have her if she wasn’t claimed by anyone.

While we waited for some potential activity we found that although the little cat was aloof and somewhat distrustful of us, she did tolerate being groomed and let us cut out the mats in her long black hair and brush her. She was actually quite pretty, and very well behaved.

After about a week it became clear that no one would claim her and so we took her up to our neighbor. About four hours later she appeared back at our door. We repeated the process with the same results. Then my daughter said: “Dad, can’t we just keep her?”. She was then christened “Miss Kitty”, and with a lot of reluctance on the part of my wife and myself, became a part of our family. That was Christmas, 1996.

Over the years we have become quite fluent in cat language and Miss Kitty has become equally fluent in ours, and the words on a small rug given to us by some friends are probably true: “The Cat, and her housekeeping staff reside here”. We have grown to love her oh, so very much.

Now and for the past ten winters, every time I step out the back door into the snow, I glance toward the canyon and vividly recall that long black tail heading my way and the plaintive little calls for help. And I am also reminded of how one small creature by her attitude and persistence was able to reverse years of prejudice and turn feelings of hatred into feelings of love. Maybe there’s still hope after all!

Miss Kitty


  1. Loved this one…eally nice interesting writing…enjoyed my visit..


    Comment by connetta — February 16, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

  2. I glad you liked it, connetta! Thanks for visiting!


    Comment by montucky — February 16, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

  3. She is beautiful. About 24 years ago I had a long-haired black and white cat that looked very much like her. From across the divide “Fuzzy” sends greetings to Miss Kitty.


    Comment by Cedar — March 5, 2010 @ 8:00 am

    • We lost Miss Kitty two years ago just before Christmas and we miss her so. She had a good life with us for ten years and we benefitted just as much as she. Perhaps by now Fuzzy and Miss Kitty have met.


      Comment by montucky — March 5, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  4. What a sweet story. I wish another kitty would find you.


    Comment by Candace — November 15, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    • I guess if it is meant to be. There is always a place for one here.


      Comment by montucky — November 15, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

  5. Your blog is very good. I think that you will like my December posts, “Christms In The 50s;” “Christmas Of Simpler Times,:” and “Christmas Hallelujah.” Check them out and let me know what you think. Please have a blessed day.


    Comment by Equipping The Saints — January 23, 2015 @ 12:06 pm

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