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Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Night Before Christmas

Who doesn’t like stories about Christmas, family traditions, cats, and kittens? What could possibly go wrong in a story told from the cat’s viewpoint? But surprisingly, there is a story behind the story. Like all my other books, which are based on true events, The City Kittens and the Old House Cat includes two events that happened years ago.

One hot summer day, swimming in the pool, my younger daughter spotted something in the bushes.

“Mom! Look! Look! There is an animal hiding in the bushes.” She screamed, surprised.

“Oh dear,” I replied. “I hope it’s not another skunk or raccoon.” I left the pool and went to check on what was hiding inside the bush. To my amusement, a tiny kitten crawled out of the bush and rested its cute face on top of its tiny dirty paws.

“Hello, kitty!” I smiled at the little stranger, which was looking straight into my eyes.

Mew, the cute intruder replied, moving closer to my feet. Covered in dry mud and hay, it looked more like a porcupine than a calico kitten. It was teeny and playful, not old enough to leave its mom and take a long trip to our garden. Its white head, too big for its skinny neck, was covered in twisted fur mixed with pine needles and yellow grass.

“Where is your home, cutie?” I lifted the purring little stranger closer to my face. Feeling the warmth of my hands, the lost kitten clung to my shirt, looking for a mommy’s nipple.

“Where is your home?” I tried to examine its filthy collar, loosely hanging on the skinny neck.

Mew, the hungry drifter protested in a soft voice, sucking hard on my shirt.

“You must belong to someone.” I settled the tired kitten on my knees and let it enjoy my flannel T-shirt.

Purr… The kitten rolled on its back, still gripping my shirt in its tiny mouth.

“I am not your mom.” I tried to detach its small paws, which were poking my skin through the thin fabric of the shirt.

“I guess you are now.” My husband smiled from the pool, watching me cradling a sleepy kitten.

“How will we name the kitten?” my daughter asked as she touched the sleeping kitten.

“Nyda. It means found in English,” I replied, recalling my grandpa’s old story about the baby that was dropped on his neighbor’s doorstep. In the old days in Ukraine they called a found baby “nyda.”

“Not what I had in mind,” my little daughter said, disappointed. “But I found her, so the name suits her well.”

“Nyda it is.” I hugged my daughter tightly with my other hand.

“Let’s be friends, Nyda.” She petted the kitten’s widespread paw, which was still poking my stomach.

Nyda and my daughter became good friends, and I became Nyda's surrogate mother. Time passed. Many bad and good events took place in the life of the little explorer. An adventurer at heart, Nyda used more than nine lives while exploring the nearest woods and neighboring towns. But this is another story.

 Now Nyda had grown old and my daughter had moved to the city. The City Kittens and the Old House Cat is not the story of how Nyda was found. It is the story of how Nyda the old cat opened her heart to two playful kittens, brought home by my older daughter to celebrate Christmas at home.

The day before Christmas, the kittens arrived at our house in a fancy bag. Their noisy Christmassy collars annoyed the old cat all day. Frustrated with their playfulness and nosiness, Nyda judged them by their looks and spoiled attitude. But the story that the old cat heard the night before Christmas made her change her mind and realize that the kittens were not spoiled little things from the city. They were found outside a store, freezing in the cold and starving. So that made Nyda warm up to the newcomers and think that before you judge someone, you should learn their story.

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat recently won a prestigious Mom’s Choice Award. The detailed artwork in this award-winning children’s book is family-friendly and will appeal to any age. It is a short, sweet read for beginning readers and good for anyone who loves Christmas and cats. So light your fireplace, take off your boots, and read this compassionate story while cuddling with your child. I hope that the warmth of the story and its beautiful artwork will plant good seeds in the hearts of your little ones.  

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat is available in print in soft- and hardcover versions, and as an e-book. To order this book, please visit Amazon, B&N, or Dog Ear Publishing. All links are provided below. 

The City Kittens and the Old House Cat

A great story with a positive message, a perfect addition to the holiday library, and holiday traditions.
ISBN 13 (SOFT): 978-1-4575-1619-1
ISBN 13 (HARD): 978-1-4575-1682-5

To get a better idea of this book, please check out this charming book trailer. It will lift your spirit and put you in the holiday mood, and maybe it will make you think about our little friends in a more compassionate way and do something for others. 

May you have a very Merry Christmas and happy and healthy holidays!


  1. Your books are so beautifully illustrated with captivating stories. It's easy to see why they are selected as award winners.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment Fay. I am so happy that you enjoyed my books. All the best!