The Day Our Cat Ate Christmas

I have a lot of holiday memories...some sweet and sentimental...some silly...and some just so outrageous, they almost seem too strange to be true, even though they totally did happen. Like, for real. What I'm about to share with you is just such a memory...of  the year our cat ate Christmas. OK, well, she didn't exactly eat Christmas, per se.  But she did eat a bunch of Christmas tinsel off the tree. That counts, right?

Siamese Cat Christmas Tree

So anyhoots, this is the amazing true story of our cat's penchant for  eating the silver sparkling spaghetti-like strands we call tinsel off the tree. Patra had eaten tinsel before, as I recall, and without incident. In one hole and out the other, more or less. But 20 years ago on Christmas day, I think she must have eaten way too much. And it didn't take my parents' long to realize that something was terribly wrong with her. So naturally, they had to call a Vet. On Christmas Day. And you know, that's a lot like the feeling you get if you have to call a plumber on Christmas Day. [Lucky me though, I married a plumber!]

They finally got a hold of one and he confirmed that Patra had an intestinal blockage. She had eaten so much tinsel and her body just couldn't digest it. So the only option presented by the Vet was surgery. To the less-than-cheery-holiday-tune of $450. Even today that's a LOT of Scrooge McBucks, but we're talking 20 years ago. And my folks just didn't have that kind of money, which they told the Vet.

His reply was so completely devoid of the true spirit of Christmas and good will toward men, that in true, Scrooge-like fashion he just said, matter-of-factly, "No money, no cat."

And to understand my mom's reply to the Vet, you must also understand that she, uh, didn't exactly love Patra. You can read all about their semi-peaceful co-existence in my Time To Get a Cat post. My dad fawned all over that cat like he'd given birth to it himself or something. But Mom? Yeah, not so much. So her reply to the Vet came as no surprise. "So keep the cat" was all she could say.

I guess at that point the Vet realized Mom was dead serious. So in the tiny ounce of Christmas Spirit he could muster, he agreed to let them make payments. But when the payments didn't come fast enough for them (naturally), they turned my folks over to a collection agency.  So then of course my mom called the Vet's office and told them she'd been making regular payments, and would continue to do so until her account was paid in full, but ONLY if they called off the collection agency. Which, they promptly did. And mom continued to make her payments until they were paid off, and they never returned to that Vet again.

Patra survived the intestinally-tangled-tinsel ordeal, which thrilled my dad to no end. But considering that Patra had just cost them $450--which, I'm sure, was more than Mom had even spent on Christmas presents for the entire family, she wasn't exactly throwing a New Year's party in Patra's honor.

We never saw tinsel on the tree again after that year either. Yeah, mom just said it was too expensive.