Today’s writing prompt over at MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie is pet.
I was a homeless, pregnant calico cat living in an upscale residential neighborhood in Mobile, Alabama. I’d had humans at one time, but they moved away and left me behind. After new people moved into our house, I realized my people weren’t coming back. I wondered for a long time what I’d done to make them not like me anymore. But, life goes on, as they say.
Most of the time, living outdoors was manageable. Not pleasant, but manageable. There were woods nearby which were perfect for hunting and hiding too, when necessary. Mobile in the summertime is hot, humid, and sticky. Even the thick woods weren’t cool enough. However, I found a storm drain that worked pretty well. At the time there was a lot of construction going on and the half-built houses were a huge plus for nighttime.
My biggest problem was food. Usually, I was a pretty good hunter, but being pregnant and weak is not conducive to successfully stalking prey. I was beyond weak when I gave birth. Only one kitten survived.
And then I ran out of milk for her due to lack of food.
I made the rounds one more time, hoping someone could spare some food. One more time was all I had the energy for.
And then it happened: a kind human heard my cries for help and rushed out with a plate of food. It wasn’t that cheap stuff either. This was primo cat fare that came straight from a can. She continued to feed me every day, which made it possible for me to feed my remaining kitten.
The human even gave me a name. She called me Io, which is a moon of Jupiter. Why she picked that name I haven’t a clue. It grew on me though.
After I was 100% sure this human could be trusted, and when my kitten was old enough I brought her with me. The human was thrilled to see her and gave her a name too: Zelda. She began feeding both of us. This went on for a couple of months. Every day I could count on her for a fresh bowl of water and two meals a day for my kitten and me.
One day after the kind human fed us breakfast, she brought out two cages and put catnip in one and a couple of toys in the other. My baby was too young to be interested in catnip, so I partook. It had been such a long time! I swear I only took my eyes off her for a moment, but that was all it took. Zelda wandered into the cage to look at the toys, and the human closed the door. There was nothing I could do but cry as the human put my baby in her big, loud machine and took her away.
I trusted her. I trusted her with my baby and she stole her! How could she?
Luckily, I could track a scent for miles. They were way ahead of me in the machine, but I still had the scent.
Then they drove down a busy street. It was so loud! Big, noisy machines whizzed past me right and left. There were two lines of them on each side, going opposite ways. It was hard for me to tell when it was safe to run across. I’d never crossed a street like that before, but I had to. The human made a left-hand turn and I was on the right side of the big street.
I was scared. I was so, so scared but couldn’t risk losing my baby. She was all I had in the whole world. I panicked and made a run for it and hoped for the best. I was halfway across when one of the machines ran in to me and knocked me to the side of the road.
That was the last of my nine lives.
Life, such as it is, on the Other Side is different. I can’t even explain it. You’ll see what I mean one day.
The best part about it is that everything becomes clear. No more mysteries; it all makes sense.
For instance, the reason the human ‘stole’ my baby was to help her. She took her to the vet to get her shots and spayed. If I’d gotten in the other cage, she’d have done the same for me.
Also, remember the humans who moved away and left me? Well, it turns out that they were involved a bad car accident and never made it to their new home. Had I been with them, well, who knows what would’ve happened?
I know the kind human still blames herself for what happened to me. On her way back home, she saw me on the side of the road, but there was nothing she could do. I was already gone. I wish I could tell her that it’s okay.
It all worked out for the best, especially for Zelda.
This happened in 2002. My Zelda is 17-years-old now, and still living with that same kind human. There is no way she would’ve lived nearly that long had she stayed in the woods with me. Her life wouldn’t have been as happy, either.
Isn’t it funny how it looks like a person is doing one thing, then you find out later they were doing something totally different?
I think that happens a lot of times in life.
Things are rarely what they seem.