Copyright 2009 by Judith Nakken
Jill stretched and yawned, awakened by the click-clack of the door latch. A crumb from her afternoon snack hung on a golden whisker and she unfurled her long, pink tongue. “Didn’t wash my face very well,” she berated herself. “Can’t stop taking care of myself because I’m getting old, or because some of these younger ones can’t be bothered.”
She set about the business of washing her face again; she was not interested in the two big humans who had entered the big room with its perches and cubicles. They headed right for the kitten cage, anyway. Almost every cycle some human, often a big and several little ones, took a small one away. Almost never did one of the older cats leave.
Jill was certain the kittens went Home. Home, she remembered, had a soft brush and a warm human to cuddle against and allow to stroke you if they were good and didn’t startle you. Home had Outside and birds to chase; squirrels chattered at you in the Outside at Home. She bathed the side of her tiger-striped neck furiously for, try as she would, she could not remember what had happened to Home.
Yes, the humans were stroking the noisy little ones. She settled back into the interrupted nap, pretending not to notice. She was dozing when a soft hand touched her neck.
“And what’s your name, Dear Girl?” The smaller of the two visitors was standing beside the perch, fingering the collar all the room cats wore.
“Have you made up your mind, Beatrice?” The big human called from the kitten corner.
“Yes, I have, Fred. Let’s go tell them.”
Jill was dozing again when the latch clicked. The Human Who is Always Here entered with Beatrice and Fred, surely to take one of the little black kittens away. Fred questioned his wife again. “Are you sure, Beatrice?”
“Really sure, Fred. We’re getting on in years, too.”
The big human nodded and stretched his mouth to
show his teeth, as the one who had stroked her came to her side.
“Jill,” she said. “Let’s go Home.”
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