Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
There was a grey cat who lay on the hearth,
Her large heaving belly blocking the path.
The cat was named Alice, a silver-grey tabby,
She had not eaten turkey and so was unhappy.
Her paws twitched in a dream of endless food,
Of cheese and of cream and of mice that were stewed.
In a dream, she jumped onto the table,
Although in reality, her joints weren’t so able.
And there she found the largest roast turkey,
Her eyes lit up, her ears became perky.
She munched and chewed and chomped her way through it,
Till her stomach bulged and she could not move it.
She rolled onto her back and let out a sigh,
At last, she thought, the food is all mine.
There was a bump in the hall, a crash in the night,
Alice jumped up, tail stiff with fright.
From the black shadows emerged a figure,
By biscuits, it’s Saint Nick – not Tigger!
Saint Nicolas had come, his garb red and white,
His reindeer outside, braving the night.
He opened his mouth, and spoke to the cat,
‘My dear miss, you can’t eat that!’
‘Why ever not?’ She staked her claim.
‘This food here is mine, and here I’ll remain!
'Why can’t I eat it? Twas left here for me!
'Else they will eat it – a child or three!’
Saint Nicolas listened, patient as a saint,
‘Listen, dear Alice, you’ll make yourself faint;’
‘That food is not good enough for a cat like you,’
‘Come with me; you’ll see what French cooks can do.’
The cat leapt up with lithe agility,
Her tail waving with great flexibility.
She ran to the sleigh, and settled herself down,
For a night of flying to Saint Nicolas’ town.
The reindeer flew fast, the reindeer flew straight,
Yet all the while, Alice could barely wait.
She’d been promised such wonderful food,
She couldn’t be patient, would not be subdued.
When at last they reached the palace of Saint Nick,
She stepped onto the snow, gave her paw a lick.
Nick guided her like royalty, elves bowing down low,
She jumped into his cabin, shook her fur of snow.
Her jaw dropped, her eyes opened wide,
She sniffed at the air, her head turned to the side.
She could not believe it – it smelled so good!
Saint Nicolas smiled and took off his hood.
Before them stood four trestle benches,
Laden with food to tempt all the senses.
There were chickens and steaks and even roast trout,
Cheeses and pigs with gravy on their snouts.
She let out a yowl and rushed to the meat,
She was ecstatic; her heart missed a beat.
She tore into the food like a beast possessed,
She did not stop nor pause for rest.
All through the night, and all the next day,
She attacked the food, come what may.
When she could not eat a morsel more,
She lay on a throne and started to snore.
The elves around her thought she was a queen,
They obeyed her and attended her every need,
She ate all she liked of the best gourmet,
She then burped and slept all through the day.
But now she felt a hand stroking her coat,
A small child’s hand tickling her throat.
She opened her eye by only a crack,
And saw, to her dismay, that she was back.
No more queenship, no more trout,
No more steak, only nagging doubts,
That she truly was here, not with Saint Nick,
‘Oh no!’ she cried, ‘I think I’ll be sick!’
She heaved with her body but nothing came up,
A voice nagged at her, whining like a pup.
‘Alice, are you ok?’ the child cried,
Yes, I’m fine – if only you tried.
If only you tried to feed me some more,
A morsel here, a crumb there, I’m sure,
That your budget would stretch to that,
To feed a poor, malnourished cat.
She sighed and tucked her nose beneath her paw,
Heard squeals as the father unwrapped a new saw.
She curled up in the blanket, cosy and warm,
And thought again; maybe, this isn’t so bad –
Today is Christmas, they’ll cook up a storm.