L I F E W I T H C A T T I T U D E T he gift-giving season is upon us, and I just realized that I’ve never actually asked my cat what she’d like for Christmas. So I did that. I did not expect what she told me. I loved it, but I did not expect it.
Me: Hi, Stella. Are you awake? I was
just wondering if you’d like anything
special for Christmas.
Stella: You mean I won’t be getting six jingle balls and a catnip
banana from the dollar store again?
What a nice surprise.
This year you can have anything
Well, I’ve always been interested in birds, to be honest.
You’ve heard of French hens?
You want French hens for
Two of them.
Well, I’ll see what I can —
And maybe something
more old world and non-
migratory, like a partridge.
A partridge ... in a pear tree? Ha
What’s so funny?
A partridge in a pear tree? You
know, like the —
What, am I not good enough for
partridge? Am I not fancy enough?
No, I mean that there’s this song
Four calling birds. Add that to
Wait, you know about calling birds?
Yeah, they’re birds, with meat
on them. That’s all I need to know. I
saw ‘em in a book once.
OK, I’ve got two French hens, four
calling birds, and a partridge in a
pear tree. You know, this is really a
I’m glad you approve. Now:
Waterfowl. Swans. A lot of them.
Better build a pond out back so
they can swim for a while before I
“unwrap” them. How many should
Oh, seven for sure.
Put me down for seven.
OK, seven swans a-swimming.
Why are you talking like that?
OK, seven swans in a pond out
Good. Should we discus geese?
I would love to discuss geese! I’m
thinking you should ask for six —
and get this, the geese could be
You want me to get six pregnant
geese for Christmas?
I love this list.
You certainly seem to. Now, I’m
thinking I need something right
before bedtime to make this a
Christmas to remember. Something
delicate to take me into nighty-night.
Something for the pillow, you follow?
I know! How about two turtle
Nah, I hate turtle doves.
But you have to get turtle doves!
But I don’t like turtle doves.
But they’re delicate and fluffy
and they fit right into the —
I WON’T DO IT!
YOU SAID I COULD GET
But there’s this song and —
Ha! I’m just messing with you. I
would love two turtle doves.
Whew. Thank you. Anything else?
Maybe some lords a-leaping?
I’m just out of birds.
What? But we haven’t even
talked about chickens. I want 35.
Sorry. I already mailed the list
editor Michael Leaverton
has written a wide variety of
articles in the last 10 years,
very few of which after
consulting with his cat. That
ends here. Stella is a 10-year-old Bengal
with a firm editorial grip on her handler,
whom she rescued from an alt weekly in
San Francisco many meals ago. She likes
it when he writes about chicken. They cur-
rently live in San Diego.
IT’S ME, THE CAT BY MICHAEL LEAVERTON
What a Cat