Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 9, 2023 by Crystal Uys
By Harry Shubin
T’was the night after the adoption event,
And all through the store,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a stray cricket on the floor
The Center Coordinators were all snug in their beds
Thinking of ways to move adoptions ahead.
The cage cards were hung on the enclosures with care,
Each telling the story of the cats who were there.
Poor Fluffy, poor Mittens, Whiskers and Sprite
Abandoned and alone on this cold Post-Adoption night.
Each cat was nestled in a Maddie’s Blanket, and thought twice,
I wasn’t naughty, I really was nice.
Why was I left in a shelter,
Almost about to pay the price.
When out in the store, there arose such a clatter,
All the kitties stood, stretched, took a lap of water, nibbled some food, groomed themselves for a moment,
And looked to see what was the matter.
When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But an old, tired-looking volunteer.
She was clothed in Lost Dog blue, from her head to her toe,
Her T-shirt full of claw holes, her hair the color of snow.
There was fur on her clothing,
A cat toy behind her ear,
She had catnip in her pockets,
On her sleeve, an unidentified smear.
“Look at you kitties, stuck here for the night!
This will not do, this is not right!
Come Scruffy, Come Midnight, come with me all,
I’m taking you home, we’ll have a ball!”
“We’ll play with felt mousies,
We’ll eat lots of treats,
I’ll brush you and comb you,
And nibble on your cute little feets!”
She gathered some carriers, and began to pack them all,
When a little grey kitten, who was rounder than tall,
Asked her a question, with a mew quite small:
“Are you our adopter, are you taking us home?
Will you love us forever, and ever, when we’re combed?”
The volunteer sat down, in her eyes there was sadness,
But then, in a twinkle, the kittens saw gladness!
“No! I’m just your foster, though I’m taking you home,
It’s only for the holidays, where you will roam,
Free of these cages, it will be fun.
And after the weekend, when we’re all done,
Back to the store, we will be on our way,
But this time, with you I will stay.
I’ll tell the adopters that once in their home,
You’ll be fabulous cats, when you’re all grown,
For you’re with Lost Dog now, you’ll always be safe
You’ll find love, You’ll have a great place,
You’ll always be cared for, even if things go wrong,
But they won’t, because our counselors are strong.
They’ve been well trained in interviewing,
They know what to do,
To find perfect forever homes,
For each one of you.”
So with her they went,
Out to her car,
Though it was cold,
It didn’t seem far.
And then each one found a home
That was good and was right,
And as they left the store, one and all.
They thought they heard the volunteer call
“Merry Catmas to all, and to all a good life!”
© Harry Shubin, All Rights Reserved. Republished with permission.
This adaptation of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem was dictated to Harry Shubin by the Ghost of Catmas Future on a dark winter night.
Harry Shubin is a patent attorney in Northern Virginia who has been active in cat rescue for most of his life. He shares his home with seven cats. His entire family, including his wife Julie, daughter Rachel, who is the publisher of the Sandpiper Cat Blog, and son Michael, are also involved in cat rescue.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.
I loved this beautiful version of “The Night Before Christmas” How we all want to make it come true for all the sweet purr babies of the world!
Awww… my human is all leaky eyes…
Thanks for posting this Ingrid. it brought tears to my eyes. God bless all those who help shelter animals and make sure they get forever homes.
Beautiful! Thanks for posting Harry’s poem. Wishing you and your a very Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to you and yours, too, Prudence and Theresa!
Such a moving and inspiring poem, Harry! Thanks for posting this, Ingrid…and happy holidays to you and the kitties.
Happy Holidays to you and your kitties, Chris!
Such a moving and inspiring poem, Harry! Thanks for posting this, Ingrid…and happy holidays to you and the kitties!
So lovely, Ingrid, and touching because it’s my day to care for the kitties at our Cat Adoption Team PetSmart location. A few days ago there were seven in the adoption center, today there is just one – and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she will find a home today, too. But if not, she will have all the loving and play she can handle, plus some extra treats.
Oh, I hope that kitty will find a home today, Peg! I know you’ll make her Christmas Eve day special.
Very touching. Meowy Christmas. Purrs.
that was just WONDERFUL!!!!!! Soooo beautiful! We love it!!! Wishing you, Allegra and ruby the most wonderful Christmas!
Thank you, Caren! Merry Christmas to you and Cody, too!
So, Harry, how many did you take home? Wonderful story, you’re quite the modern poet!
Thank you, Bernadette, but I think I’ll keep my day job. We did not harbor any additional cats this week, as our 6 have clearly expressed their position on fostering. And they don’t speak in verse.
Such a touching story.
Merry Christmas to all those volunteers.
I hope all those kitties find a forever home.
I feel so lucky to call Harry my friend.
Me, too, Jay!
Thanks for publishing, Ingrid! Even though I wrote this weeks ago, it turned out to be true – at the 11th hour last night, volunteers stepped up and took all of the cats in the adoption center home for the holiday, so no one will be alone when Petsmart is closed.
I’m so happy to hear that they all got to go home for Christmas, Harry!
That is such a lovely story. I would love to foster some kitties for Christmas, but I know what would happen. They wouldn’t go back but I sure hope some of the shelter kitties get to go home with someone. Merry Christmas to all of you.
Merry Christmas to all of you, Marg!