Twinkle (a small tabby and white girl, and the super intelligent member of the Fallon household) awoke with a start. Had she been dreaming or had she really heard sleigh bells?  She was already mega excited as Christmas was almost here and she had bored her brother Socks (also a tabby with white paws) to bits talking about what presents she might get.  Fully awake now, she stretched and yawned.   She jumped up onto the window sill to look out.

"Goodness," she exclaimed, "it's been snowing.”   She tried to wake Socks.

“Don’t be silly,” he grumbled, “it’s the middle of the night and you’re telling fibs about the snow. It’s far too early to get up.”  

Twinkle huffed at him and went out through the cat flap.

A magical world lay before her.  The snow was already quite thick and glistened in the moonlight.  Although Twinkle thought it was a bit chilly on her paws, she was too excited to care.  She raced around churning up the snow as she ran.  She stopped suddenly and listened, remembering that she had thought she had heard sleigh bells.  Was it possible?  She knew Santa didn't arrive until Christmas Eve, so she thought she must have been mistaken.  Snowflakes continued to fall and she turned to go back indoors, when all at once she spotted something strange. It looked like sleigh tracks in the snow. Twinkle was really excited.  She knew then she had not been dreaming and Santa must be somewhere close by.

Forgetting about the warmth indoors she set off to follow the prints in the snow.  She travelled on, until she came to the top of a hill and there, at the bottom of the hill below her was Santa, his sleigh and Rudolph.  Excitedly she raced down the hill and almost fell over Santa's boots.  As he had his back to her he did not see her coming and he let out a startled yell and turned round.  

"Twinkle, how glad I am to see you!  Rudolph and I are in a right old fix.”  Santa went on to explain that the rest of the reindeer had been stolen and that he and Rudolph had been searching the Kingdom trying to find them to no avail.  Santa was quite distraught as he sat with Twinkle in the sleigh.

"I don't know what I am going to do,” he said. “Rudolph is a fantastic reindeer, but he cannot pull a sleigh full of presents all on his own.  I cannot let the children down, but I have no idea how to save the day.”

Twinkle snuggled up to Santa, loving the feel of his nice warm red coat.  

“When will you need to know about delivering the presents?" She said, looking up at Santa. 

“I must have things organised in the next few days,” Santa replied.

“Don’t worry, Santa, I will think of something,” Twinkle said.  They parted company and arranged to meet the next day.  As Twinkle set off on her long journey back home she suddenly realised how cold and hungry she was.

Socks was up and racing merrily round the garden making lots of snow trails as Twinkle arrived.  She called to him and started to tell him all about her early morning adventure.  At first Socks said she was making it up, so Twinkle took him to see the prints and the sleigh tracks.  Socks was then really cross that he had missed seeing Santa.

“Why didn’t you make me get up?” he asked.

“It’s not my fault if you’re too lazy to get up,” Twinkle replied.  Socks pounced on his sister and her noisy protests brought out the rest of the gang.  Butty (gorgeous tortoiseshell) and her cousin Mischief (jet black) were first, followed shortly by Tilly (black and white), Pusskat Willem (also jet black) and Otto (grey and white tabby).  Twinkle and Socks stopped scrapping.

“Listen to this!” Socks nearly exploded with excitement. As Twinkle relayed her adventure to the others, their eyes grew wide with awe and wonder.  

“Fancy Twinkle getting to talk to Santa,” Butty said, enviously.  As everyone was now cold they all went inside to the warmth of the kitchen where breakfast was waiting.

When they were all warm and had full tummies Twinkle began to sketch out her plan to help Santa.  

“We can all pull the sleigh along with Rudolph and save the day for the children at Christmas.”

“But we don’t have any harnesses,” Tilly (the sensible one) said. “How can we help Santa?”

“Santa has Elves who help him make the toys at Christmas,” Twinkle replied.  “I’m sure they could easily make harnesses for us and have them ready for Christmas Eve.”

They all nodded.

“Tomorrow, I’m going to meet up with Santa again,” she said. “Do you want to come with me?”

There was a loud chorus of “yes, please!” so the next evening the whole motley crew of seven cats set off to meet Santa.  He was indeed extremely surprised to see the little convoy coming to meet him.  Twinkle as spokescat went on to outline her very clever plan.

Santa tugged at his long white beard and then put his hands on his hips.

"Goodness me, Twinkle, I think you have come up with a fantastic solution.”  

He invited all the cats to jump up on the sleigh.  Santa climbed on board and flicked the reins at Rudolph.  Within a couple of bounds they were airborne and flying across the night sky.  Before they knew it they were in Lapland at Santa's house.  He took them to the bedrooms and told them to get some rest before they met the Elves.

A short time later feeling very much refreshed, and after a quick snack prepared by Mrs. Claus, Twinkle, Socks, Butty, Mischief, Tilly, Pusskat Willem and Otto went with Santa into his grotto where all the Elves were busy making toys. Other Elves were busy parcelling up presents galore.  

Santa told Twinkle to explain to the Elves exactly what she required.  The Elves said they would be happy to help and instantly set about making seven special cat harnesses each with its own set of small musical bells.  The Elves worked so fast it seemed to only take minutes before the first harness was ready.  Once they were all completed the cats happily tried them on.  They all thought they looked really special as the harnesses winked and glittered in the light.  Twinkle asked if she could have a pair of antlers, but the Elves thought that was going too far!

At last it was Christmas Eve and the hours seemed to go by very slowly for the very excited cats as they waited for Santa and Rudolph to arrive.   The cats were harnessed into position with Rudolph in the lead.  "I do hope it is foggy so we can see Rudolph's nose light up," said Twinkle.  Soon they were airborne and travelling round the world delivering presents to every girl and boy.

It was seven very tired cats that Santa and Rudolph delivered home early Christmas morning.

"Thank you my dear friends, I could not have done this without you.”  Santa said. He gave each of the cats a large sack of their own filled with catnip toys to keep them entertained for hours.

When Sue, the cats’ human mummy, got up on Christmas morning she was very surprised to find them all sleeping still.  She was even more surprised to see seven sacks of presents lined up waiting to be opened.  As no one was awake yet, she turned on the T.V. to watch the news.  What a shock she got as a report came in that a very vigilant person had been out and about on Christmas Eve and had managed to take a video of Santa and his sleigh being pulled by Rudolph and seven cats who all looked very familiar to her.  

Sue looked round the room at her sleeping brood and saw the happy contented smiles on their faces.  “Did this really happen?” Sue asked herself, “or have I had too much cooking sherry?”  Then she noticed seven sets of cat harnesses with bells and she knew it was true.  

She was so proud of her cats as they really had saved Christmas for Santa and all the girls and boys.   

*Sue's story was a competition entry in the recent Christmas short story/poem competition.


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