Max sunk low to the ground once he spotted his prey, a red mouse with plastic round belly with rattles inside. It was unlike any mouse he’d ever seen before and he loved attacking it. With a silent leap, he pounced on that silly red mouse and meowed in satisfaction. He waited for Mama to praise him, but he heard only the clickety clack of her typing on her laptop.
Annoyed that she missed his spectacular leap, Max jumped onto the kitchen table and began poking into bags filled with apples and oranges. Mama must be on a health kick again, Max mused. He hoped that didn’t mean he would no longer get treats.
“MaxE! What are you doing? Are you being naughty?”
Of course I am, Max thought. But he smiled at Mama and gave her his best “who me” face. She narrowed her eyes and mumbled under her breath. But after a moment, she sighed and went back to typing on her laptop.
Max was bored. Mama needed to stop playing with her computer and play with him. He was loads more fun. The first step was to get Mama away from her desk. He carefully coaxed an apple out of the bag and after a few firm nudges, it fell with a satisfying plop.
“MaxE!” Mama shouted. “That is behavior unbecoming of a feline! Do you want a time out?”
“MEOW!” MaxE howled as he leapt into his cat tower, then jumped onto the couch and scampered into the bedroom. “Meow! Meow! Pay attention to me! I wanna play!”
Mama came stomping into the bedroom and Max pounced on her from underneath the bench. He ran into the living room with Mama right on his tail. She picked him up and held him close.
Nuzzling him, she asked over his loud purrs, “MaxE, why do you have to be so naughty? Mama is trying to work.” She placed MaxE is his big red bed. “Take a nap now. Mama will play with you when she’s done working. I promise!”
Max sighed as he circled his bed twice before laying down. Mama always promised to play with him, but sometimes she got distracted and needed him to remind her. That’s all he was doing. He wasn’t trying … well, wasn’t trying hard to be naughty. He closed his eyes and starting dreaming about the pet birdie he wanted Santa Kitty Klaus to bring him when two strange cats entered his dream and chased his pet birdie away.
“Stop it! Stop it!” Max meowed. “That’s my pet birdie. You get your own.”
The two cats turned to looked at him and Max immediately sat up. He recognized those two cats. The orange tabby was Mo and the brown tabby was none other than the dreaded prima donna cat, Emeril.
“What are you doing here? In my dreams?” Max asked. “Are you haunting me? Like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future? If you are, then you’re missing a cat!”
“No, silly. That’s Charles Dickens story. This is our story.” Emeril said, looking off into the distance. “Is that your pet birdie over there?”
Max got out of his bed to look and quick as a birdie flies, Emeril had comandeered his bed. “This is much comfier than I remember my beds to be.”
“Mama likes me more.” Max said. “Now get out of my bed.”
“Please. Have you not read her blog? Mommy likes me best of all.”
Mo who sat watching with a smirk finally decided he ought to step in and stop the silly argument. Otherwise those two would likely argue for the rest of the story. Besides, he knew Mommy liked him best of all.
“Excuse me.” Mo said. “We’re running out of time, Emeril. So stop arguing and get to the point.”
With a sigh, Emeril climbed out the super soft bed and went to stand next to Mo. Max immediately climbed back into bed. He wasn’t going to let Emeril claim his bed again.
“Why are you here” Max asked. “And when are you leaving?”
Mo and Emeril answered in unison. “We are the angels of Christmas presents.”
“Not this again. I don’t understand.” Max laid back down and tried to go back to sleep, hoping this was a dream within a dream … sort of like Inception.
Mo felt a little sympathetic towards Max. He was just a young cat who knew he’d hit the jackpot when Mommy took him home. But if he and Emeril couldn’t straighten Max out in time, it might not be a very Meowie Christmas. “Of course you don’t, kid. So listen up. We’re not ghosts who are going to show Christmases from your past, present and future. We’re angels. And Santa Kitty Klaus sent us because you’ve been naughty. And if you don’t shape-up, there will be no toys in your stocking. Hence— angels of Christmas presents.”
Emeril piped in, “I quote: ‘I have been SO good. Not just a little bit good. But SO good. Clearly, Santa Kitty Klaus will reward me for my exemplary behavior.’ Sound familiar, Max? Well, from what we’ve seen: you’re pretty naughty and always getting into mischief.”
“You take that back!” Max meowed. “You constipated cat.”
Mo calmly stepped in-between the two cats. “Emeril, you were the most constipated cat in Los Angeles. Stop pretending you weren’t. Max, you got a good heart, but you’re also naughty.”
“When have I been naughty?” Max plaintively meowed.
“You shredded the legs on Mommy’s bench and you also sharpen your claws on her desk chair. She can’t take you home because she’s afraid you’ll destroy her parents home. Do you want me to go on?”
Max argued, “Mama doesn’t seem that upset over those very, very minor infractions. She seems to think Santa Kitty Klaus will visit.”
“Mommy is soft-hearted.” Mo explained. “Santa Kitty Klaus is a feline, so he is far more foxy about what constitutes good behavior.”
“What can I do?” Max asked. He had his heart set on Santa Kitty Klaus bringing him a mega-sized bag of treats and a bunch of new toys.
“For some reason, probably because Santa Kitty Klaus likes Mommy, he wants you on the nice list.” Emeril explained. “I told him to put you on the naughty list, but instead he sent Mo and me to talk to you.”
Max narrowed his eyes and growled. He thought about pouncing on Emeril, but Max was pretty sure fighting with Santa Kitty Klaus’ emissary would put him on the naughty list, maybe even permanently. Since it was the prima donna cat, Emeril, it might be worth it, but Mama would be so upset if Santa Kitty Klaus didn’t visit.
“I’ll be good, I promise. No more scratching where I’m not allowed. No more banging cabinet doors. Or nudging things off the dining room table or desk. I’ll be the best behaved kitty Mama has ever seen.” Max promised. “She’ll even take me home with her next year.”
Mo beamed while Emeril gave a small shrug. Max added with a sly smile, “It will just make Mama love me even more. And soon I’ll be her best boy and the most handsome cat ever.”
Emeril began to growl but Mo cut him off. “Sounds great, Max. Good luck. Try to be a good kitty and make us proud.”
Emeril and Mo began to fade from sight but before they disappeared, Mo told Emeril, “You do know that we are all her best boys and the most handsome cats ever, right? It wasn’t just you.”
Ha! Max always know Mo was a pretty cool cat. But Emeril was probably right. With Christmas just a few days away, he needed to be on his best behavior because he didn’t want a lump of coal in his stocking. Or worse—clothes.
“MaxE, MaxE. Wake-up. I’m done working. We can play now.” Mama gently petted Max awake. He gave her a great big grin and jumped out of bed. He leapt into the cat tower and Mama attacked him with his favorite feather brush.
They played for hours and Max was careful to only sharpen his claws on his scratching posts and didn’t jump onto the kitchen table or desk. Exhausted, they snuggled together on the sofa while watching A Christmas Carol. Mama wrapped her arm around Max and rubbed his belly. “You’re such a good boy, MaxE! I bet Santa Kitty Klaus is going to fill your stocking full of toys and treats.”
Max purred in agreement. Thanks to two angel cats, he was pretty sure he was in for the best Christmas ever.