It was the evening of Christmas Eve, and through the house rang sounds of joy and cheer. Rocky The Fluffy Fighter and Luigi The Lion Cat sat together in their outdoor enclosure, the “catio”.

Luigi was curled up on a high shelf in the shape of a bread loaf, his orange fur in the dark was indistinguishable from the crust of delicious freshly baked bread.

“Meow, they’re so loud. The noises they make are so odd are they not?” said Luigi

Rocky The Fluffy Fighter laid on his back at the bottom of the enclosure, looking up.

“Noises are great brother! All kinds of noises! And noses! What’s the problem with these noses?” answered Rocky

“Noises you silly cat, noises!” Luigi replied. “They sound like wild animals!”

“But they do that when they’re happy right? Then it’s a good sound!” replied Rocky

“Oh yes yes, we all have our happy sounds, but who said you had to be so obnoxious?” Luigi said as he turned his little cat nose up.

“So why are they making all those noises anyway?” Rocky asked.

“Well it’s Christmas Eve and tomorrow’s Christmas, so they’re celebrating and exchanging gifts. We’ll get ours tomorrow I suppose.” answered Luigi.

“Oooh gifts? Like toys and treats?! That’s awesome awesome awesome!” meowed Rocky with excitement. “If it’s Christmas Eve then tonight Santa Paws will be visiting!”

Luigi was confused. “What are you talking about?”

“I read that Santa Paws comes on Christmas and brings all the gifts to all the good cats in the world!” Rocky explained.

“Where did you read such nonsense?” inquired the loaf of bread.

“ On the internet!” the fluffy fighter answered.

Luigi was surprised. “The internet? How did a wild silly cat like you learn to use the internet?”

“I learned it from watching you big brother!”

Luigi paused and considered this information. The catloaf became uneasy.

“Okay, first of all you should never watch what another cat is doing online, that’s just rude. Secondly, Santa Paws isn’t real, you’ve been tricked. It’s Santa Claus, a human that comes to give the humans gifts. Our parents are the ones who get us OUR gifts.”

Rocky The Fluffy Fighter wasn’t convinced. “I don’t know Luigi, it sounded pretty true to me. I’m gonna stay up and wait for Santa Paws! I know the best hiding spot to watch from, you wanna stay up and catch Santa Paws with me?”

“No, no no no, definitely not. Been there, done that, not interested.” replied Luigi with some anxiety as he remembered a past Christmas Eve experience of his own.

“Awww, well fine, I’ll tell you all about Santa Paws tomorrow and you’ll wish you’d said yes!” responded Rocky, and the two furry purry persians relaxed in silence.

In time, the commotion indoors died down. The night deepened and the other humans left to their own homes. With no more guests in the house, Luigi and Rocky were led back inside, and their cat mom and cat dad crawled into their beds to sleep.

“Goodnight Rocky, make sure if anyone comes by that they leave gifts and don’t take any.” Luigi said to Rocky and left to his favorite bed, the bathroom sink.

Rocky was all alone in the living room, lit up only by small lights around the Christmas tree.

He looked around, weighing his options, deciding on which hiding spot would be best to catch Santa Paws in the act. He settled on the couch, crawling inside through the pop up leg-rest.

“It’s not too comfy but Santa Paws has no chance of spotting me here!” thought Rocky to himself with glee.

And so began the wait. Rocky sat in place and listened to the sounds of the house, the sounds of the world around him. At first his focus was razor sharp, tracking every little chirp or creak or woosh. But as minutes passed and nothing changed, Rocky began to slip. The sounds began to blend together, his body once tense in anticipation was softening into relaxation. Rocky was not used to sitting so still for so long without sleeping, and his body began to betray him.

“Oh no, I’m soooo sleeeeeepy” Rocky meowed to himself before yawning. “buuuut I can’t give uuuup.” The fluffy fighter pulled together what energy he had and opened his eyes, fidgeting back and forth as much as he could in his tight hiding spot to awaken himself. For a moment he was full of passion and alertness, but his second wind died down as the night continued in silence.

“Oh if only I had that thing Luigi talked about, the bean he said, the bean, the coffee bean that keeps you keen. I wish I had one of those right now,” thought Rocky. With no coffee bean, he knew he had to keep himself stimulated with his thoughts alone.

“I know, I’ll think of birds and how much I want to catch ‘em!” Rocky decided, convinced he had finally found an answer to his problem. His mind filled with birds, and he imagined himself chasing after them and catching them, his heart beating harder from his excitement. But then he began to count them.

“One bird, two birds, three birds, I’ll catch you all! Four birds, five, six and seven and eeeiiiiigh-“

Rocky drifted off, counting birds in his head had turned on him putting him into a deep sleep. The little gray fluff slumbered with calm breaths, stuck in his couch hideout.

A moment passed, and then another. A small scratching was heard, the opening of a window, and then it closing.

A large shape moved from the window to the floor. It was a large round cat, it’s fur a mix of grays but mostly covered by a large red coat. Upon the cat’s head was a red hat, and on it’s back was a sack full of small boxes. It was Santa Paws! He looked around for a bit and then his eyes landed on the couch, the pop-up leg rest to be exact.

“Nice try kid,” Santa Paws meowed out quietly. Then he scurried over to the tree and took out a few boxes from his sack and left them nearby. Done with his duty, Santa Paws made his way out of the house while all slept on.

Later, as the sun rose so too did Rocky.

“Oooooooooh noooooo, I fell asleep and missed Santa Paws!” he thought, the disappointment bringing him alert instantly. He crawled out of his spot and began to investigate. Spotting the new boxes, he had mixed feelings. Disappointed by his failure but excited by new gifts, Rocky decided that everything was okay and that he’d just have to try harder next year. Luigi had awoken as well and made his way into the living room.

“How’d it go Rock, did you catch the elusive Santa Paws?” the lion cat asked sarcastically.

“No, but he left me a bunch of gifts. I think you got one too though!” the fluffy fighter replied.

Luigi was offended. “Well in that case maybe I WILL join you next year, I’ve got a few words for this Santa Paws, no one sneaks into my house, judges me, and then sneaks back out unscathed!”

And the two cats went about their day, enjoying their new presents and their comfortable happy furry life.