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Only In America: A Cat Short Story

IN THE September 7 ISSUE

FROM THE 2013 Articles,
andPets,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Elaine Faber

Not long ago, while cleaning out a closet in preparation for the new occupants of the residence, a dusty manuscript was found in the basement dated, October, 1992, ghost-written by a well-known reporter. The facts were verified through research. The article read as follows:

I was born on a cool spring morning under a woodpile, a fair distance from the big city. It was rumored that my mother was a tramp, but I loved her. She taught me all she knew and I often fell asleep listening to her purr and the thrum of her heartbeat. She shared with me the secrets of the universe, which are known to all cats.

She taught me patience through the art of stalking field mice. She taught me the importance of washing behind one’s ears. She taught me to listen, and boxed my ears when my attention strayed. I shall never forget those carefree kitten days filled with peace and love.

One day while resting in the meadow grass, I spied a winged Intruder. He sat on a rock, hiding in his camouflage gray and green covering, but I, the Mighty Hunter, spotted the villain with my keen eye. With whiskers aquiver, I oozed closer. He could not see me, though he had 1000 eyes. My mouth quivered. Eh! Eh! Eh! He rubbed his back feet together, mocking me. I was unafraid. I slithered nearer, my body tense. I calculated wind velocity, versus distance, versus thrust, to bring him crashing to his six knees. I leaped, paws a-flash. A quick jab to the left. He parried. The thing was Satan incarnate! The intruder flew and landed an inch from Mother’s nose. She opened her eyes and sized up the situation. Swap! Down came her paw. The Intruder was history.

Mother and I spent many happy days, basking in the sunshine. One dreadful day, the dogcatcher caught sight of us sleeping on the woodpile. Mother escaped, but he cornered me and tossed me into a truck. I heard Mother shriek as the truck drove away. I have come to believe it was destiny.

We arrived at the city pound, reeking with the odor of animals. They put me into a cage surrounded by the pitiful cries of cats and kittens. In the next room, the horrendous din of dog sounds! People carried cats in and out and sometimes they never came back.

At night, the older cats whispered, saying that cats were put to sleep, which didn’t sound so bad, but the way they said it made me think there must be more to it than I imagined. They also mentioned adoption and though that sounded worse than put to sleep, they spoke more favorably of that possibility. I opted for adoption, if it entailed getting out of kitty prison.

On the sixth day of captivity, a man and a lady and a little girl came into my jail cell and removed me from the cage. Though I had never experienced caresses, I rather liked kisses and pets. I was carried from the room, stuck with a needle and put into a small box. My box jiggled and jounced and vehicle noises roared in my ears. I felt it a very real possibility that adoption meant the end of life was near.

Imagine my surprise when they released me into a lovely house with people running hither and yon. Once I became accustomed to the goings-on and learned not to get underfoot, I realized the house belonged to me and the people were at my beck and call. Now that I slept on a soft bed, I thought I must have misunderstood the meaning of being put to sleep and adoption. Thank God I didn’t get adoption, since they were so wrong about put to sleep. Who knows what would have happened if I had adoption?

As time went on, the man and I became great friends. Often, he would lift me into his lap in his rocking chair. As we rocked, he would talk and stroke my head. I couldn’t understand his words, but sensed distress in his voice. I purred and gazed into his eyes, conveying my utmost concern for his problems. Mother had taught me to be a good listener. He seemed to take great comfort from this and shortly, would leave me in the chair, smiling and nodding as though we had solved his problem. Thus, I knew my counsel was sound.

The months passed and I began to think about lady cats and possibly having a family of my own. I pondered the thought late at night as I lay in my warm and cozy bed.

Not long afterward, my man put me back in the traveling box. I supposed they had ceased to love me and were taking me back to the pound. After a night in the cage, a man took me to a small white room gleaming with chrome. It looked like I was going to get adoption, after all. He stuck a needle in my leg and the room went black.

I felt pretty bad for a couple of days, but improved by the time the child returned from camp. Perhaps it was the flu. Perhaps it was my illness that had something to do with my declining interest in the opposite sex.

As time passed, it became apparent that my man was very important. They called him something like Governor. As busy as our house had been, it became even busier. There was talk of moving to a house with an oval office and a red phone. Our house had square rooms and black phones. It appeared that humans were impressed by the shape and color of things. But I digress.

We moved to Washington into a big white house and my man’s rocking chair was put into an oval room with a red phone. Go figure.

Now, as I understand it, my man has become the most important man in the country and my lady is called the first lady. I suppose the child will be called first child. I wonder what they will call me. Now, people get excited when I walk into the room. “Here comes Sox!” They make a big fuss and take my picture, so I guess I must be pretty special too.

As I look back over my life, I get goose bumps thinking about the great country we live in. Only in America, could a fellow be snatched from obscurity and have the opportunity to become the most important man in the country. And only in America, could a black and white cat born in a woodpile find himself in the most important seat in the nation, literally in a rocking chair, in the Oval Office, in the White House, counselor to the President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

I think from now on, I’ll be known as the First Cat!

Check out more pet related short stories and articles in our pets section.

Elaine Faber lives in Elk Grove with her husband and at least four cats. She writes short stories and a cozy mystery series, The Black Cat Mystery Series. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Inspire Christian Writers. Learn more on her website.

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