I remember being entertained (actually believing) that the animals would talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Maybe they still do, and those who believe can still actually hear them. In fact, someone said that to me not too long ago, and I think they meant it. I wanted to look into the lore of animals and Christmas Eve and found some interesting things I never knew. The story of the tabby cat and Virgin Mary was one bit of lore I had never heard.
As the story goes, when Mary was giving birth to the Baby Jesus, a tabby had also just given birth to a litter of kittens. The Baby was restless and couldn't sleep. Mary asked the animals in the stable to help soothe the Baby Jesus, but none of them were successful. Finally, one of the little tabby kittens crawled into the Baby's manger and cuddled next to him, and purred until the Baby fell asleep. Mary was grateful and blessed the little tabby saying all future born tabbies would bear the initial "M" on the top of their heads in remembrance of that little tabby's act of kindness.
There are many stories of animals and Christmas Eve. Even if it is just lore, these stories give us a momentary break from the sad ones we hear everyday about mankind and the animals that inhabit this world.
I see a lot of tabbys in my line of work, and each one is very unique. So now I have the added pleasure of knowing this story as I make new friends and visit the old ones!