Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Holiday 2015 issue of Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.
The Christmas gift-giving season is upon us, and I just realized that I’ve never 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 you want.
Well, I’ve always been interested in birds, to be honest. You’ve heard of French hens?
You want French hens for Christmas?
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 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 and —
Four calling birds. Add that to the list.
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.
Okay, I’ve got two French hens, four calling birds, and a partridge in a pear tree. You know, this is really a great list.
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 I get?
Oh, seven for sure.
Put me down for seven.
Okay, seven swans a-swimming.
Why are you talking like that?
Nevermind. Seven swans in a pond out back.
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 laying eggs.
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 doves?
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 ANYTHING!
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 to Santa.
Catster.com contributing 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 currently live in San Diego.