Tuesday, April 16, 2013

SCAT, CAT...chapter 8

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."


Chapter 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 answer?”
Magnificence?” 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 doorway.
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 softly.
Boo-oots…oh, Bootsy 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 mean?”
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!”
Please, Ting-Ting, 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. Sleep well.”
And so both of our clever Cats went to their beds, pleasantly tired, but anxious for the new day to begin.