Welcome to My Scratch Pad! Instead of just books, let's talk about anything. Nature? Why not. Crafts? Painting, pottery, photography. Tried them all. Cats? Love them and am owned by 3. I also live with a C.O.F.
As Mr. Carroll and the Walrus said, "The time has come to speak of many things." Let's do it!
Hunter has finally found a family and a home. His faith will be tested again as he is taken to "The Terrible House of Doc."
Eight: Hearth and Home
When he awoke, he found
himself in a sort of cage, lying on something warm and soft, and
covered by a snuggly blanket. His head felt muzzy and slow and his
legs were very wobbly. When he tried to stand, he soon found himself
back on his side.
“Where am I? What is
wrong with my head and my legs? The last thing I remember was Doc
using the Bee Sting on me.”
Doc must have heard him
stirring, for he came in and opened Boots’ cage and began to
examine him very tenderly, paying special attention to his bottom.
“How odd. Doc seems to
have a very strange interest in my behind. Krr, krr, krr.”
Soon Doc closed up his
cage and left the room. Boots could hear him talking to someone in
his deep voice. Boots felt himself drifting off again and
surrendered willingly. “Krr, krrr. I really feel most peculiar.
A-napping I will go. A-napping I will go. Hi-ho the Derri-o,
a-napping I will go.” And he did.
The next thing he knew,
Mommy and Daddy were standing by his cage with his carry-box. It was
so wonderful to see them that he tried to walk to the edge of his
cage to get a closer look. Again, his legs wobbled out from under
him, but Mommy and Daddy only smiled and didn’t seem worried. He
was gently transferred from his cage to the carry-box and soon they
were back in the Rumbler. When they reached home, Boots found he
was not left to stay in the Rumbler house, but to his delight, was
carried in to the “real” house. They placed his carry-box in a
small warm room and opened the wire door.
Boots poked his head out
the door and saw Sophie seated on the floor next to a soft pile of
bedding. His bowls were nearby and his litter box was in the corner.
On unsteady legs he walked shakily to his water bowl. How sweet the
water tasted to his parched throat.
“Here, Boots,” said
Sophie in a soft voice.
Boots wobbled over to the
soft bedding, giving Sophie a grateful rub with his head as he
passed. He turned around and plopped himself down in the bed.
Sophie began to caress him in his very favorite spots and hum a
gentle tune of concern. After a short while, he began nodding off,
but kept himself awake just long enough to mew a happy greeting to
Mommy and Daddy.
He felt much better when
he awoke and decided to clean himself of the stink of Doc’s house.
He began his grooming and found that his little bottom was quite
tender and something seemed to be missing.
“Well, I guess that
whatever is missing wasn’t of much use. Mommy and Daddy must know
what’s best for Cats. They wouldn’t do anything to harm me. I’m
sure of that. I guess I’ll just give this spot some special
attention until it’s all healed.”
“And just who do you
think you are?”
Boots stopped in
mid-lick, to see who had spoken, one back leg stretched
embarrassingly high in the air. Standing in the doorway was the
exotic Cat he had seen through the window.
“I asked you a
question, Toad! Or are you too stunned by my magnificence to
sputtered Boots, quickly returning to a more dignified position.
“Who do you think you are? Except someone mightily impressed with
her own importance?”
“I asked you first,”
said the stranger petulantly. “You tell me who you are, and I just
might enlighten you as to my name and your good fortune to be in the
company of one as exalted as I.”
“Exalted? Really, this
is getting us nowhere. Never have I heard one of the People speak so
arrogantly to another. Didn't anyone teach you how to behave? I
certainly want to be your friend, if you’ll let me, so I will be
the GentlePerson and start first. My given name is Hunter, but the
Humans now call me Boots.”
“How mundane. Well, if
I must call you Boots, I shall. You may call me Ting-Ting.”
And with that, Ting-Ting
gave him a blink with her amazing blue eyes, a twitch of her long,
long tail, and left Boots to gape in wonder as she strutted from the
“Well, I don’t know
quite what to make of that stimulating encounter,” thought Boots.
“I have a feeling that Ting-Ting could definitely be a problem, but
then again, maybe I can win her over. I’ll really have to watch my
step with her, the pampered, precious, little Princess.”
(As you can see, at this
point, things have a definite possibility of going wrong with Boots
and Ting-Ting. It will certainly mean a lot of give and take on
their parts. Don’t you agree? But enough opinionating… let’s
get back to our Feline Friends.)
As Boots was pondering
this very problem, Daddy came into the room and lay down on the floor
next to the amazed little Cat. Daddy began to talk to him and
scratch him behind the ears. Boots immediately started to purr and
felt a growing connection to this marvelous Human who had taken him
in and was caring for and about him.
“I do believe that
Daddy and I are going to be the best of friends,” hummed Boots. “I
can tell that he certainly would appreciate another ‘Male’ in the
house to bond with. Just think… all these Females here: Sophie,
Mommy and little Miss Ting-Ting. He must be very lonesome. Well, I
can fix that!”
So Daddy and Boots
remained in the little room until they both drifted off to sleep.
They came abruptly awake
with the entrance of Sophie and Mommy. Mommy was carrying another
bowl, redolent with a succulent swimmery odor. She set the bowl down
next to Boots, who hopped out of his bed with surprising agility and
went to inspect this new delicacy.
“Astounding! This is
the best Cat food I’ve ever eaten. These Humans must be
exceptional hunters to have this amazing abundance.” After licking
the bowl clean, he mewed his thanks to Mommy and began his
after-dinner bath. Sophie sat next to him and when he was finished,
she gave him a warm hug and a strange smack with her mouth, right on
the top of his head! It was strange but somehow familiar, reminding
him of his Mother and the affectionate way she would clean and caress
the top of his head when he was a small Kitten. He decided it was a
very wonderful kind of smack and hoped it wouldn’t be the last.
“Good night, Boots.
I’ll see you in the morning. Love you,” said Sophie as she stood
and prepared to leave. (Of course, all Boots really heard was his
name and a calm comforting babble.)
The door to the little
room closed as his Family said goodnight and gradually the house
became silent and dark.
Boots was weary after his
long and eventful day, but lay awake, thinking of his good fortune
and how his dearest wish had come true.
As these pleasant
thoughts were trying to become pleasant dreams, a small dark paw
appeared under the door and a familiar arrogant voice called out
Boy…how does it feel to be on the wrong side of the door again?
Out here are many lovely playthings and food things and soft things
to chase and eat and climb. Too bad you can’t come out and
explore. That privilege is given only to the best-loved Cats, the
Pureblooded People like myself. Not to lowly commoners like you.
Well, what’s the matter? Squeaker got your tongue?”
Boots could hear her
teasing laughter as she raced away from the door and up the stairs.
“Enough is enough,”
thought Boots as he rushed over to the door. “Where are you,
Ting-Ting?” he growled. “Come back here and let me teach you a
few lessons in manners.”
Boots could hear her
padding back, and with his nose to the bottom of the door, could see
her dainty feet, parked just outside.
“Well, here I am. Just
what do you think you can teach me, peasant?”
“For Bast's Sake,
Ting-Ting. This annoying behavior of yours has got to stop. I
really think you’re being unfair. You don’t know the first thing
about me, or where I come from. Don’t you think we should get
better acquainted before we form hasty and maybe unjust opinions
about each other? Perhaps, once you hear my story, you just might
change your mind about me.”
“All right, I’ll
listen to your so-called story, but it will have to be an honorable
one if you want me to think well of you. Go ahead. But hear me. I
have little patience for embellishment of the facts and I will know;
oh yes, I will know if you’re telling the truth or just trying to
impress me with empty lies .”
“I always tell the
truth, Ting-Ting. My Mother taught me never to lie and to always
treat others with respect, something you seem to know little about.
So…I will do as I was taught and let you tell your story first. I
must admit that I have never seen one of the People with eyes and fur
the color of yours. Your name also intrigues me. What does it
“You have shamed me,
Boots. What a snob I have been...one of my few faults, I fear. I
apologize for my behavior toward you. My Mother also taught me to be
courteous, but it seems I have forgotten. Perhaps it is because I
have been part of this Family since I was a very young Kitten. I
have twice seen the Twelve Moons go by while living here, and I
confess that I have become possessive and selfish. Although we
Siamese are known to be rather haughty, that is no excuse for my
rudeness to one of the People. My Mother would surely scold me
harshly for my conduct.”
“Siamese? What does
that mean? Is that why you look the way you do?”
“Yes, Boots, the
Siamese are an ancient breed of the People and that accounts for my
blue eyes and the markings of my fur. We originally came from the
other side of this World, from a country called Siam. At least that
is what I have been told by my Elders. My name, ‘Ting-Ting,’
means ‘Slim and Graceful’ and I have most certainly grown up to
fit my name. Tell me. Why were you given the name Hunter? Did you
actually have to hunt to find your food? I just can't imagine having
to chase and kill something. It absolutely gives me the
shudders. Please, Boots, I would be honored to hear your story. I
will try my best to be more humble and I do hope that we can begin to
accept each other for who we are. It would be wonderful to have a
companion of my own kind.”
“O.K., Ting-Ting, make
yourself comfortable, for my story will be long in the telling and I
must warn you, some of what you hear will be disturbing and possibly
even shocking to one as sheltered as yourself.”
So Boots began his Story,
starting with his abandonment by Hey You and Old Lady. He told
Ting-Ting of the kindness of Sharpclaw and the sweetness of Snow. He
told her of the cold lonely nights and of the long hungry days. He
told her of his frightening experiences with the heartless Humans.
She gasped and began to tremble as he told her of the fearsome
Howlers and his narrow escape. She sighed with relief and even began
to giggle as he told of his encounters with DigsGrubs and Spike. He
told her of the grace and poignant beauty of the Dancers. She mewed
with delight as he told her of Beechnut and Bob and his ridiculous
trip through the forest. She squeaked with excitement as he told her
of Sir Midnight and Lady Lenore. As he came to the end of the Story,
and what it meant to have searched so long to find love and
acceptance, he could hear her whimpering and then finally there was
silence. At last, she cleared her throat and spoke.
“Boots, you are the
bravest and most clever Cat I have ever known. Your story fills me
with awe and also with gratitude for the comfortable life that I have
known. You have been places and seen and done things that I can only
imagine. But I must tell you… I have actually seen Beechnut and
Bob. They come here often to feed, as do Sir Midnight and Lady
Lenore. Even the Dancers can be seen in the meadow near our house.
Just think of it…you
have befriended your natural prey and even your enemies. This tells
me that you are not only brave, but that your heart is kind and
compassionate. I would be honored if you would accept my offer of
friendship and I am truly sorry for my disgraceful conduct. I think
with just a little time, you and I will become splendid comrades.
Just imagine... I will have an actual Hero for a friend!”
you’re embarrassing me. I am not a Hero, only a small, black and
white Cat who tried the best he knew to survive and find a home.”
“No, Boots, you are a
Hero. Your actions prove it. But your modesty does become you, as
it does any Hero. I can hardly wait till we get to meet face to
face. I can tell you have been to the House of Doc. Some of the
odor still lingers. Tomorrow, Mommy and Daddy will let you see the
rest of the house and make us have a proper introduction. Oh, I can
hardly wait to explore all the delightful places in the house with
you. We have a very busy day ahead of us, so I will bid you good
rest. Till tomorrow, my friend.”
“Good night, Ting-Ting.
And so both of our clever
Cats went to their beds, pleasantly tired, but anxious for the new
day to begin.