Many years ago in a large village called Pittburg the Christmas season of 2012 was filled with danger for all kitty cats and human kind. For years and years Santa Claus had delivered toys and other gifts to all the good kitty cats just as he had for all good little girls and boys. Based on year-end emails from parents to Santa’s headquarters at the North Pole, naughty children would receive lumps of coal from Santa in their Christmas stockings.
Things worked a bit differently for kitty cats in those days. Kitty cats who had been naughty all year would find reindeer poop in their litter boxes on Christmas morning. However, particularly nasty cats, according to legend, would be snatched out of their beds on Christmas Eve by the dreaded monster, Jaggi Clawz. Spewing forth flaming, hairball vomit as he clutched them with his gnarly, foot-long talons, Jaggi Clawz flew those naughty cats to his lair in faraway Kittanook to gobble them up for holiday snacks.
One naughty black cat called Puss, a notch of her right ear missing from one too many cat fights when she lived in Forest Glen with Mamma Mary and Daddy Alan, was always on guard, especially at Christmas time. By that Christmas, 2012, Puss had been living for five years with Mamma Mary’s brother, Daddy Jay, in outer Forest Glen because Mamma Mary thought that Daddy Jay was lonesome after his little weeny dog, Belle, went to Heaven.
Daddy Jay was a no-nonsense Daddy; he demanded good behavior from Puss. Having drawn blood from three female guests at Daddy Jay’s Christmas party a year before, and refusing to meet with her cousins Patches and Cokie when they came for vacation in February, Puss was still far from purr-fect, but good enough that Jaggi Clawz may have let her slide that year. But old traditions were thrown asunder that Christmas; and Jaggi Clawz blamed it all on poor Santa.
As Santa Claus grew older he had become a bit of a cream puff – paying less and less attention to those end-of-year emails from parents and cat masters. Fewer and fewer children received coal lumps in their stockings, and fewer and fewer kitty cats found reindeer poop in their litter boxes. By Thanksgiving Jaggi Clawz had received not one referral from Santa Claus so that Jaggi Clawz was what they called “unemployed” in those days. Faced with the humiliation of signing up for checks at the unemployment office, Jaggi Clawz’ anger turned to rage that December. Creating a scene outside the Greenburg unemployment office one afternoon, Jaggi Clawz spewed flaming hairballs, screaming and spitting, “All right, Santa, you don’t mess with me anymore! And you cats out there; you think you’re safe, do you?! I’ll track down every one of you, naughty or nice, Hssssssssssssssssssssssss!!! I’ll find you, snatch you out of your comfy beds, vomit my spew over you, and fly you to my Christmas dinner table!!! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!
That evening when Puss heard the news broadcast on WHSS radio, she decided to claw-mail her cousin Cokie, who lived with Daddy Dave at Unity Square in Greenburg along with her brother Patches. Puss liked to claw-mail Cousin Cokie even though she did not like cousins to visit her house. Puss’ claw-mail went something like this:
Hsssss there, Cokie Cat,
Pu’t hear bad new’d on ‘quawk-bok’t today, ‘bout Jaggi Claw’d. Want warn Cokie and wimp bro’ Patcha. Jaggi Claw’d pee’d off this yeal. Hunt all cat’, even good one’ like you and Patcha wimp. Not good. What we do, you and me??? Send back soon.
Your coud’n friend,
Meanwhile word spread to another cat house in Forest Glen where three adorable kitties lived with Mamma Kathie. There lived Gramma Cali Cat and her two grand kitties, big poofy Henry Cat and his sister Josey Ann Cat. Mamma Kathie was greatly upset to hear of the danger from the enraged Jaggi Clawz. She tried to reassure house kitties that they would be safe, but Josey Ann remained hidden under the living room sofa for days. Henry Cat hardly ate his kibble or his wet tuna treat. Mamma Kathie texted Daddy Dave and Daddy Jay for advice, but they were clueless. When Gramma Cali Cat had seen and heard enough, she labored up the steep flight of hardwood steps to the computer room and claw-mailed a message to both Cousins Puss and Cokie:
Hsssss, there, Pu’t and Cokie Cat,
Never meet you two, but hear much ‘bout you bo’t. Right to be scare’. Thing’d way diff’rent this yeal. No rulz for Jaggi Claw’d – out of control. Hunt all cat’ now. Puss and Cokie young cat’ – me old, but wize cat, called Gramma, you know. Pu’t and Cokie mu’t take charge – know what to do. Mu’t set trap for Jaggi Claw’d mon’ter. Make plan, carry out. Get wimp boy catz to help if can. Mu’t luck to you bot’.
Gramma Cali Cat
Meanwhile, Jaggi Clawz’ reign of terror continued to escalate over that Christmas season. Even humans were not spared from the wrath of the fiery hairball spewing fiend. Daddy Jay’s other sister, Ms. Stephanie, known as Sister Steffie, was preparing to host a wonderful Christmas dinner party for a dozen eager guests. With succulent prime rib in the refrigerator and all the trimmings, she awakened on Christmas morning to find that the ceiling in her dining room above the heirloom hutch had caved in with water dripping everywhere. Water had soaked half of her Persian rug under the dining table with chunks of soggy drywall strewn all over the hutch and hardwood floor.
Sometime around 4 a.m. on Christmas morning, right after Santa had flown away with his reindeer from Sister Steffie’s house, Jaggi Clawz broke into the furnace room from the patio of Sister Steffie’s condo and proceeded to chew through a joint on the main water pipe running through the interior of the house. Jaggi Clawz knew just where to rupture the water pipe to ruin Sister Steffie’s plans for a festive Christmas dinner. Brother-in-law, Daddy Alan, who was quite a handyman, came over Christmas morning to assess the situation and proceeded to turn off the main water valve to prevent any further damage. With no running water, there could be no prime rib Christmas dinner at Sister Steffie’s.
By 10 a.m. Daddy Jay’s cell phone rang with the horrifying news from Sister Steffie that Christmas dinner would have to be moved to his house. Just when he thought he was off the hook after hosting five consecutive Christmas dinners, he would have to be the welcoming host once again so as not to disappoint the eager Christmas guests. Daddy Jay’s house was nowhere near ready to receive human company. Seven months of black cat hair from Puss Cat covered all the living room furniture and niece Laura suffered from severe cat allergies. Then, too, he would have to unpack the Christmas tree and “deck the halls” in short order.
As a small business manager, Daddy Jay was skillful at making quick decisions. He told Sister Steffie to forget the prime rib. Guests who were bringing side dishes and desserts could bring those to his house and he would supplement those offerings with Chinese takeout, harkening back to Ralphie’s family in a beloved movie of those times called A Christmas Story. Soon after the call from Sister Steffie, Daddy Dave was notified by Daddy Jay and proceeded to do his best Mr. Clean impersonation with a vacuum cleaner. Meanwhile Daddy Jay unpacked and organized decorations and other essentials for the big dinner table.
Bad as all this sounds, Daddy Jay, Sister Steffie, and all the guests managed a wonderful Christmas dinner party and gift exchange – and relatively hair free. Other residents of the village called Pittburg did not fare as well, due to the rampage of Jaggi Clawz. More traffic accidents, shootings, and houses consumed by flames were recorded that Christmas than any other on record. As promised, Jaggi Clawz extended his reign of terror on all kitty cats, even the sweetest among them. Grandma Cali, Josey Ann, and Henry Cat in Forest Glen, along with poor Patches and Cokie in Greenburg, all awoke on Christmas morning to find their litter boxes overflowing with reindeer poop. To make matters worse, Jaggi Clawz had carted away all the presents that Santa had delivered to those sweet kitty cats.
All through the winter and spring of 2013 Jaggi Clawz continued to make mischief unchecked. That summer Mama Kathie spent thousands of dollars making over the exterior of her house in Forest Glen – new siding, soffit and fascia, front door, and roof. Then while Mama Kathie was out of town on a short trip, Jaggi Clawz showed up to chew a small hole through a water pipe in the upstairs bathroom so that dripping water built up and caused plaster to bubble on the ceiling above the refrigerator. When Mama Kathie returned home and saw the pimpled plaster in the kitchen, she felt like leaving town all over again.
Besides property damage, Jaggi Clawz also caused Bob, the photo man, to trip on a buckled sidewalk and fall down on his face, breaking every bone in his left wrist and damaging the lens on his expensive Canon camera. These incidents are just a few of the evil deeds that were perpetrated by Jaggi Clawz through 2013.
One late July morning at Unity Square, Daisy Pit Bull sauntered across the driveway on her long leash and barked for Cokie to come to the family room window in the back of Daddy Dave’s townhouse. Hearing the familiar “woof” of her canine friend, Cokie hopped up on the window sill and meowed through the screen to Daisy. Cokie explained the whole story of Jaggi Clawz and how she and Cousin Puss and Gramma Cali Cat had been plotting to rid the villages of Jaggi Clawz. The plan was clever and Daisy agreed that it just might work . . .
The plot engineered by the three feline queens required collaboration between animals and humans. It was all dependent on the only known weakness of Jaggi Clawz – his complete aversion to cat litter. Cat litter to Jaggi Clawz was akin to kryptonite for Superman. The queens saw an opportunity to take advantage of this weakness.
First, Gramma Cali Cat purr-suaded Mama Kathie, who was very community-minded, to organize a massive cat litter recycling campaign. A dump site was secured at Twin Lakes Park with the cooperation of the Wetmoreland County Department of Parks. From March through July residents all over Southwestern Pennsylvania were encouraged to transport their dirty cat litter to the huge pit that had been excavated in a clearing adjacent to the lower lake. The cooperation of the public was phenomenal, so desperate everyone was to do anything possible to bring Jaggi Clawz reign of terror to an end. By mid-July an estimated 15 tons of “todies” and pee balls filled the huge pit.
The plan could only work, however, if Jaggi Clawz could be lured to the dump site, which by the end of August had been camouflaged with a covering of fresh sod donated by area nurseries. What better decoys to lure Jaggi Clawz to Twin Lakes Park than the sight of Patcha Cat and Henry Cat, with their meaty drum sticks that would be so tantalizing to Jaggi Clawz’ insatiable appetite. All Cokie Cat had to do was to purr-suade Daddy Dave to host a Labor Day deck party and the queens would orchestrate a scenario to entice Jaggi Clawz out of hiding to chase the patsy boy cats – hopefully, in the direction of Twin Lakes Park.
The stage was set on September 2, 2013. All the human and animal guests began to arrive at the Unity Square deck party by 2 p.m. Mama Kathie brought Henry Cat, his sister and Gramma Cali Cat; Daddy Jay managed to drag Puss Cat out of the house for a rare public appearance. The queens had planned for the arrival of Patcha Cat’s girlfriend, Bailey Cocker Spaniel, at about 3 p.m. While interspecies dating has become commonplace today, it was almost unheard of in the early 21st century. But Bailey’s strawberry blonde curls were alluring to Patches and her sweet demeanor was irresistible to the Patch Cat and humans alike. Bailey always tried her best to teach Patches to dance, but for a cat, Patches was awkward on his feet when it came to dancing.
The guests hooped and hollered as Bailey and Patches waged a slip-sliding dance on the slippery deck. When Bailey stepped closer and attempted a sloppy kiss, the Patch Cat and his bud Henry Cat bounded down the deck steps and into the side yard. This was Daisy Pit Bull’s cue to break her chain and give chase to the wimp boy cats with the meanest sounding whoops she could muster. The two boy cats ran for their lives across the yard past the blue spruce, crossing Unity Square Drive out to Lewis Road with Daisy close behind, nipping at their “hinies.” Daisy knew to chase them so that the two cats would turn left and head full steam along the winding road all the way to Twin Lakes. As predicted by the queens, Jaggi Clawz was aroused from his encampment in the woods across Lewis Road and gave chase, lumbering along about 1500 feet behind Daisy and the boy cats, but slowly closing the gap.
This must have been quite a sight for the sparsely scattered residents along Lewis Road. Meanwhile, Daddy Dave and Mama Kathie feared for the safety of Patches and Henry. They knew full well that Jaggi Clawz must be filled with glee at the prospects of plump cat drum sticks and prime rib of pit bull at the end of this chase. Poor Patches and Henry had never run so far before, but their legs kept churning for a whole mile all the way to Twin Lakes.
The boy cats, almost breathless by now, raced around the upper lake all the way to the steep grassy bank that leads from the upper to the lower lake. About 20 feet down the bank Patches signaled Henry and the two boy cats clutched the grassy turf with their long front claws, instantly halting their momentum. However, two-ton Jaggi could not stop his momentum and flew 60 feet downward, plopping with the force of an 18-wheeler into the foul stewpot of pee balls and “todies.” The crash could be heard all the way from Pittburg in the West eastward over the Allegheny Mountain ridges to Al-tuna. A shower of litter dust rose like a geyser over Twin Lakes and could be seen from the county court house in Greenburg three miles away.
The shrieks of Jaggi Clawz, who was sinking deeper and deeper toward the bottom of the pit, terrified picnickers in the park, not to mention poor Patches and Henry, whose gold marbled eyes were bulging out of their heads. To make matters worse, the odor-controlling perfumes in more than 50 brands of dirty cat litter boiling over in this chemical stewpot triggered an acute allergic reaction in the monster. Jaggi Clawz’ horrible sneezing cracked tree limbs in a five-mile radius around Twin Lakes.
The boy cats had seen and heard enough. Patches gave Henry a few big-brother cat licks and the two hopped out to Lewis Road and wasted no time rambling back up the road to a safe haven at Daddy Dave’s. Meanwhile Daisy Pit Bull was exhausted from her one-mile chase to the park. She decided to take a dip in the upper lake, and then lay down at the top of the grassy bank, panting and smiling at the thrashings, sneezings, and pitiful wailings of the humiliated Jaggi Clawz.
Witnesses have reported that it took more than four hours for the befouled monster to climb his way out of the litter pit. He was last witnessed bounding, tail between his legs, eastward over the Chestnut Ridge to parts unknown. As far as we can determine, neither human nor animal was bothered by Jaggi Clawz for the remainder of that year, or has been in any year since. The clever queens, Gramma Cali, Puss, and Cokie, along with the courageous Bailey Cocker Spaniel and Daisy Pit Bull, even the wimp-boy cats, Patches and Henry, received commendations from the new mayor of Pittburg with the biggest parade ever assembled from Pittburg all the way to Greenburg.
One sunny afternoon in late September Cokie decided to send a claw mail to Gramma Cali and Cousin Puss. She clawed as follows:
Hsssss there, Gramma Cali Cat and Cou’dn Pu’t,
That wa’d good plan we make to deal with Jaggi Claw’d. Could not have work better. Even wimp boy cat’ do good; never see Patcha and Henry run so fa’t before. ‘To funny, Cokie almo’t pee her pant’! T’ank you bo’t for be su’k good partner’d wi’t Cokie. Plea’d claw back me. Let know how you do’d now.
Wuv and Hisses,
Although there have been no verified sightings of the terrible monster through the passing years, the legend of Jaggi Clawz remains. Wise, or maybe desperate, parents and grandparents have told their own versions of the story to keep their children, kitty cats, and doggies in line whenever they misbehave. For no child or furry creature wants to risk a visit on Christmas Eve, or any other day of the year, from Jaggi Clawz.