Now, for a time-honored annual tradition of cats in nativity scenes. It could be a new holiday tradition along with the annual Australian Firefighter/ cat calendar.
Online, people delight in the funny scenes, seeing cats making themselves right at home in the manger.
To a cat, anyplace has the potential for a nap and could make a fun toy. Nativity scenes are no different. And, maybe there really was a cat there so long ago after all? Well, there wasn’t a barn-sized cat there. But, aside from the absurd scale, a cat fits right in. When it comes to barns, cats are always a welcome sight.
Notably, there is a legend about a cat in the manger curled up to the baby Jesus. According to the story, Mary traced an “M” on the cat’s forehead, which is why all tabby cats have the marking on them today. Furthermore, cats have an unofficial Patron Saint, St. Gertrude and have been the subject of worship themselves. Certainly, they are always ready to remind their humans of their divine nature. Perhaps, they enjoy the sense of reverence they find in the nativity?
There are even all cat nativity figurines. However, seeing these real-life cats purring among the figures is better for us. While cats tend to destroy a Christmas tree utterly, they generally seem more inclined to nap in the nativity. Still, we wouldn’t recommend leaving out any fragile porcelain figurines where a cat can take a swipe.
Here are some hilarious cats in nativity scenes to enjoy this holiday season or anytime without further ado.
Red Hook Cativity Scene
For years, a feral cat colony in Red Hook, Brooklyn, has enjoyed sharing a nativity scene, now dubbed the “cativity.” All year long, the cats live in the shelter at the home of Annette Amendola.
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) December 10, 2013
According to Treehugger, Bandit the tabby likes to nap where the infant savior lays. Then, “Bandit’s Sister,” “Blue Eyes,” and a group of other feral cats join him.
“Red Hook residents say the cats keep rats away, and the feral felines have grown fat over the years from their frequent feedings. Amendola and her neighbors feed them five times a day,” writes Laura Moss.
— WhatIsNewYork (@whatisny) December 17, 2021
However, the plastic baby Jesus often finds himself pushed off the hay bale.
Grumpy Cat in a Manger
When photographer Brook Goldman was walking back from the train station in New York, she spotted a strange sight. Someone had placed a Nativity scene in front of a building. There, where Jesus should have been, was a grumpy-looking cat. For the sleepy Goldman, it was a “mood-lifting” sight.
“I was laughing my ass off,” Goldman told The Dodo.“I guess you can definitely say he brought me joy while I was walking home. It was mood-lifting, most definitely.”
“A good animal pic can cure anything,” Goldman said.
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) December 8, 2017
Cat Evicts Baby Jesus
In 2016, Pips the cat decided to take a nap in the nativity scene in All Saints Church in the UK.
“There’s a new ‘Messiah’ in Ilkeston, England, and she’s been known to jump on top of coffins, bravely tiptoe across church organ pipes and occasionally yowl during weddings and baptisms,” wrote PEOPLE.
When kids arrived to practice rehearsing the nativity play, Pips was sleeping in the hay, displacing the baby Jesus onto the floor.
“Our baby Jesus is currently in the fruit bowl … waiting,’ said Rev. Kaste Bottley.
“At my friend’s church, the church cat has evicted the baby Jesus from the manger #JoyToTheWorld,” she tweeted.
— Kate Bottley (@revkatebottley) December 14, 2016
After the tweet went viral, Rev. Christine French told PEOPLE, “Pips has become notorious. She loves coming to church and is a regular in the pulpit. Since a reformation painting above our pulpit says, ‘Preach the Gospel to Every Creature,’ no one can object to a cat in church.”
However, after Pips jumped on a coffin one day, she was no longer welcome to attend funerals.
At the time, the Rev. French said Pips was sending a good message about adopting little angels.
“If Pips were to have a Christmas message,” she says, “I believe it would be along the lines of, ‘As there was no room in the inn for baby Jesus, then sadly at the moment, there is no room in the vast majority of cat and dog rescue homes either,” she says.
“Lots of cats and dogs will be homeless this Christmas, so please give them a home. You just might be looking after another little angel.”
Budge the Cat Takes Over Manger
Meanwhile, at Norwich Cathedral, Budge the church cat decided to take over the nativity. Although the cat has a home, he made the cathedral his second home three years ago.
“Once we found him asleep in the crib in our Nativity scene, which was meant for the baby Jesus – but there was straw in there, and it was warm,” said Rev. Jane Hedges.
Now, she says, “we expect he’ll do that again.” However, she says Budge has been “very therapeutic” for the congregation.
“Budge seems to bring people a lot of pleasure, and he is a very positive presence,” she added.
— BudgeofNorwich (@BudgeofNorwich) December 22, 2020
A Live Nativity with a Cat
In Torrington, WY, the South Goshen Community Church in Yoder recently held a live nativity scene. This time, a tabby cat was included on purpose, sitting inside a crate, “in accordance with the legend of a tabby cat who was in the manger,” reported the Torrington Telegram.
By keeping the cat inside the crate, the live actors could be assured the tabby would be safe and wouldn’t run away.
Cats in Nativity Scenes
Below are some of the cats spotted in nativity scenes on Twitter. These are just a few of so many! If you have pictures of your cat in a nativity scene, share them in the comments!
“Nothing says Christmas is here, like a cat taking over a nativity scene,” wrote C. MacRae.
Nothing says Christmas is here, like a cat taking over a nativity scene. pic.twitter.com/TNFCw8Hgw6
— Colin MacRae (@colinmac7) December 19, 2021
Comedian Janey Godley shared these hilarious cats in nativity scenes.
“Cats in a nativity scene is my favourite thing”
Cats in a nativity scene is my favourite thing pic.twitter.com/e7uyYKEnmc
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) December 15, 2019
In response, Laura Swenzinski wrote:
“My cat Domino loves to hang out in the nativity scene. He never broke anything or even knocked over anything!”
— Laura Swenzinski (@LMBS25) December 24, 2021
“Nativity Cat – ‘A cat sits in the nativity scene outside a church in Warsaw. Poland.”
— The Atlantic Photo (@TheAtlPhoto) December 24, 2015