The prettiest cat I’d seen
was rather plump and in serious
need of a good nail clipping.
I remember that first time I
met him. He was rolling around
by the mulberry bushes, the tulips and
the willow trees.
This feline had the silkiest onyx coat, panther-like,
with the deepest jade stones for eyes.
He could care less about who was watching him. He
meowed a few times, just to let you know, he knew
that you were there.
This all took place when I was much younger. It was
the summer between my junior and senior years at school. And I
remembered thinking how all my friends were enjoying their
summer, playing football in the park, chasing down girls at the
mall, or all the many other things we did back then and I was stuck
out in the middle of nowhere, without a friend.
But this cat, although I was merely a voyeur in his game of life, I felt
as if he was there for a reason, and that reason was to keep me company.
Every morning he’d be hanging out, just enjoying cat-things. I asked around town
if anyone was missing him, but nobody claimed him as their own. After about a month or
so I thought I’d see if I could try and pet him. I brought down a bowl of milk for him
to sup upon, which he did, but only when I was a safe distance away. I threw him cat treats,
which he’d pick up and take to a safer spot.
After a few days of this, I just assumed this cat was not prepared to make a commitment of
friendship yet. So I grabbed a lounge chair and small wicker table and brought it down from
the house. I’d sit there watching him play, reading book upon book, applying sun-tan lotion and
enjoying the fruit plates I’d prepare the nights before. Somedays I’d bring a sandwich, but most days
the fruit was enough.
I’d wash everything down with an alternating supply of beverages, water on wednesdays, Coconut water on tuesdays
and thursdays, some lemonade mix I found in the house for fridays and then I’d grab a V8 for the other days.
Then there was this one day…
I just finished a ham and cheese on rye and was sitting there, eating a juicy, juicy peach.
I stopped reading because my left elbow
had gone sore from holding the book in one
position for far too long.
I heard a little yelp, and quickly looked in
the direction it had come from. I knew it had
to be that cat, that his play must have pushed
his limitations and now he needed my help.
I tried to get up, which I did, but my legs were
a bit numb and had that tingling sensation all throughout
them, starting at my thighs and spanning to my toes.
When I found him, I saw he had a thistle stuck into his paw.
As I approached him, I could only think of that tale of the lion
who had something in his paw, a piece of lore that had apparently
stayed with me, as at that time, I hadn’t heard it in quite a many years.
He, for the first time, let me get in close enough to touch him. I examined his paw, pulled
out the thistle and picked him up.
I brought him back to the house, which wasn’t very far at all, just across a road and down
an alley. As I was carrying him I could see his head turning in every which direction, and his
claws were sunk into my arm enough to cause a little uncomfortableness.
At the end of the alley, facing our ivy-crawling house, the cat got all scared as a tumbleweed blew
by us. He clutched in tight, like a scared child would his mommy. It was painful but quite
In the house we went, where my grandmother was cooking up some of her crazy soup concoctions, this
one looked as red, and as hot, as lava, but also carried a fresh minty, almost eucalyptus scent to
it as well. She was a bit shocked to see me carrying in this cat, but she must have noticed it was
injured and quickly grabbed some bandages and helped me clean out his wound.
We put the cat down on the linoleum and gave him some turkey and milk. He was hobbling about a little bit,
but seemed more than happy to have a family to take care of him.
The next morning Bear, as I called him, hoping that with having a name, grandma, and then mom and dad, would
allow me to keep him, cuddled up to me, purring something fierce. It was quite a nice feeling.
Later that afternoon grandma grabbed the keys and said we’d be visiting Dr. Sinew, the local vet. When I heard his name
I paused for a second, thinking what a strong last name to have.
And we left the house, hopped into grandma’s sienna and went to the vet, where Bear got a clean bill of health.
In the end, all was fine, as he was fine and mom and dad wound up allowing me to keep him.
I did find it funny though, how a thistle was the linchpin to our relationship.
This short story was created using the word prompts Shawna provided in her Midweek Melting feature.