Dr. Fred Eichelman: How a Basement Born Kitty Became Santa Claws

Inspired and dedicated to Lou Ellen Brown, former PolitiChick and mother of Ann-Marie Murrell

Dr. Fred Eichelman’s cat, Gracie (Photo property of Gracie and Dr. Fred)

Her name was Gracie, born due to two stray cats in a basement of a home whose owners had accidentally left a door open. Gracie was one of four kitties and did not resemble at all her mommy or daddy cat. She was pure grey, what some would call a Maltese or Russian Blue.

Except for her parentage, Gracie would have been considered pure bred. Pure or not, the owners of the house, where the basement was located, rescued the kitties and took care of them.

Gracie, if you measure cat intelligence, was the brightest of her litter and seemed to know it. So bright in fact that the Browns (that was the name attached to her home’s humans) gave away the others, but kept her. She grew to love them as they seemed to love her, even in spite of a bad experience They called it a medical procedure they had done on her and she sensed she could now never have kittens. What else was a female cat designed to do? But she learned to accept it.

Gracie also learned something else about these humans. They loved to decorate their house when the occasion called for it and one day Gracie found them doing all sorts of things they called “Christmas”. Especially strange was they did not seem to know outside from inside, and they set up a tree with all sorts of things dandling from it but she was forbidden to touch them.

Then one day she learned as a cat the meaning of Christmas. She was let outside for a little bit as they often did and a strange sound attracted her. It was from two doors down and it was the crying of what she knew was a little female human. So an investigation was needed.

The house was like her home, but the humans there were named Abbott. She found a window she could peer into and saw two adult humans trying to soothe a young child. Gracie had very sharp ears and the intelligence to know a few human words. “There there dear,” the male was saying. “Mitzie was very old and her time was near. She is at the vet’s now and they are arranging for her to leave this life.” The female voice added, “Dear, we know you two were very closer and those memories will always stay with you. Mitzie won’t really be gone.” However the child was inconsolable.

Then something clicked with Gracie. Despite that so-called “procedure” she did have a mother cat instinct. Something told her what she must do and she ran now with a destination in mind. She knew a place where the humans had several cats and just recently some were added by a mother cat who had had many litters. Gracie arrived at the house in minutes and in the garage saw the one she sought: a large long-haired mother cat, and on her body were several kittens nursing, really too large to be doing that.

The mother cat was glad to see Gracie who licked her face as an introduction to a request. The old mother cat purred, “That is an excellent idea. I have too many to care for.” Gracie knew then what she must do. She grabbed a kitten by the scuff of the neck as mother cats often do when needing to carry their young.

A few minutes later she was back at the Abbott home where they heard a scratching and yowling at their front door. “What in the world is that?” the female human asked. The human male opened the door and Gracie walked right in carrying a very compliant kitty in her mouth. The little human squealed in delight despite her tears and scooped up the kitten in her arms. Gracie knew she had succeeded in her mission. Before anything more could be said Gracie scurried away, as she had been away from her home too long.

Once Gracie got to her home the Browns had the door already open for her and both the male and female were smiling and laughing. As Mrs. Brown scooped up Gracie to smooth her hair, Mr. Brown commented, “Just had a call from the Abbotts. Seems like you have become a regular Santa Claws. You made one little girl very very happy.”

Later that night on what the Browns called “Christmas Eve”, Mrs. Brown held Gracie and felt she needed to explain something.

“You are not just a cat,” she said. “You seem to know the meaning of this special time of year, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who believed in giving. This day you have given a great gift. God will surely reward you for that.” Gracie felt well rewarded enough as she was let down to enjoy some fresh treats and looked at the scattering of cat toys that awaited her.

So to all animal lovers out there, this writer says for Gracie, Merry Christmas.

Dr. Fred Eichelman

Dr. Fred Eichelman is a retired teacher and a director for Point North Outreach, a Christian media organization. He recently had a book published, Faith, Family, Film-A Teacher's Trek. Fred is a former local Republican Committee chairman and has attended hundreds of conventions from political to science fiction. He sees the two as compatible. Fred also tells us he values very much a title we gave him since he could not be a PolitiChick. PolitiDude.

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