Landing on all Four Paws by Ollie the Kitten

Monday 23rd December – late afternoon


 I blinked and looked into the kind face of a very big ginger cat. He told me his name was Garfield, but I couldn’t tell him what I am called because I didn’t know. I also couldn’t tell him because I was tongue-tied. He was so huge that he terrified me. He must have been a lion pretending to be a cat.

Where I’d been living before, I came here, the people just called me Cat. I don’t think I was wanted or appreciated because when I tried to get on their laps for cuddles and strokes, I was pushed back onto the floor and they always said things like: ‘That darned cat! What a nuisance that cat is.’ This puzzled and saddened me as kittens are supposed to be loved. We certainly give lots of love to those we share our lives with.

I noticed a whole line of huge cats sitting next to Garfield, all staring at me and I wondered if they were going to eat me.  They did look fierce.

Garfield, the cat with the kind face, smiled at me and pointed to a giant of a black cat. “This is Sam,” he said. Sam hissed at me and went out through a square hole in the door which was just his size. “Don’t worry about him,” Garfield said, “he’ll soon come round.”

Next, he pointed to two smaller, but still enormous, ginger cats and told me their names were Billy and Timmy. “Billy has the white face and paws,” he said helpfully, otherwise already I couldn’t tell them apart.  “Mum rescued them with their brother Joey and brought them here to live with Biggles, who was my brother, Charlie and me.”

Billy spat at me and followed Sam through the square hole, but Timmy sat down next to Garfield. I wanted to ask them where Joey was, but it seemed rude to ask questions. He was probably the other side of that square hole in the door and would come bounding in when it was time for dinner.

“This is Ricky,” said Garfield, pointing out another mountain of a ginger cat that had a big, round tummy and no teeth. “He’s had a very Traumatic Past.”

I was amazed how many cats there were at this house! Ricky didn’t say or do anything but just looked at me. Then he waddled off after Billy and Sam and somehow manoeuvred himself through the square hole in the door.

“Finally,” Garfield announced, “this is Charlie.”

Charlie was mainly white with big ginger splotches on his back. He slowly sauntered over to me, sniffed me, and then spat at me.

I started to meow because all the cats were heaps bigger than me and I felt tiny and more than a bit scared of them. I was sure they were going to eat me when I wasn’t looking.  Garfield came over to me and sniffed my bottom.

“What happened to you?” he asked, gently.

“I have no idea,” I told him. “Today, I was shoved into my carrying basket and taken to a pet shop and left there. I didn’t know my name and I meowed for ages because I didn’t know where I was or when my dinner was coming, or even if I was going to get any dinner. Even though where I used to live was a horrible place, and they were so mean to me, I just wanted to go back home.”

“Go on,” Garfield encouraged.

“The Pet Shop Man gave me some dinner, but I still kept crying because I was scared and didn’t know if I would be getting any supper.”

Garfield and Timmy remained quiet, listening intently.

“The Pet Shop Man had a big dog in the shop with him. He was asleep most of the time but when I was put down on the floor to have a run around, the dog woke up. He was huge, and he started to lick me with an enormous tongue. I was soaking wet within minutes. He was very licky. I thought he was going to scoop me up with his tongue and swallow me.”

Timmy smiled at me. “Gosh, that must have been very scary for you,” he said, Garfield nodded in agreement.

“The pet shop had a funny smell there which I wasn’t sure I liked to be honest.” I chose that moment to investigate my bottom and paid close attention to all the bits and pieces there.

“Late in the afternoon,” I continued, “a lady came - the one you call Mum - to look at me. I was still crying but she didn’t seem to mind. She picked me up and I nestled into her neck. She smelled sweet, kind of musky – nicer than the pet shop - and I thought I might like her.”

“Go on,” Timmy prompted.

“Well, we arrived here – where you all live – and she opened the carrying basket and gently lifted me out. That’s when I saw all of you. And you know the rest.” I added, worn out after so much talking. No one had ever shown me that much interest before.

Garfield told me that things could only get better now that I had come to live at Lazypaws Guest House for Discerning Felines.

The lady they called Mum gave me some dinner and showed me where the litter tray was under the dining room table. Then I was given a tour of the house. When the lady wanted to go to bed, I was taken into the bathroom. My bed, a few toys, some more dinner and water, and the litter tray, were already there waiting for me. The lady explained that I had to stay in the bathroom at night-time as I was still too young to go outside. All the other cats were allowed outside, and they went on something called ‘adventures’. I didn’t know what adventures were, so I made a note to see if Garfield and Timmy could explain the next time I saw them. 

Then it all went dark, and I started crying. I didn’t know how long I had to stay in the bathroom. I wondered if I was a prisoner, and this new lady didn’t like me. I called out to Timmy and suddenly he was there. “What’s the matter Ollie?” he asked.

I didn’t know who Ollie was, but Timmy sounded close by, so I asked him if he knew how long I was going to be in the bathroom.

“Only till morning, Ollie,” he replied. “Then we all have breakfast together. You’ll see us all and Mum in the morning. Now try and go to sleep and we’ll see you soon.”

Despite turning round three times in the soft new bed, I couldn’t relax enough to go to sleep.  I was wondering what was going to happen to me and whether I’d be taken back to the Pet Shop Man.  The new lady seemed all right.  I liked her sweet musky smell. She spoke in a soft, gentle, voice.  But she did have a lot of cats who were all huge and that scared me.

I could only hope that with the help of Garfield, and his friend, Timmy, I might eventually find peace of mind here, and perhaps a kitten like me could bring some bounce and energy to these ginormous cats. I wanted to be loved and Garfield and the others all seemed to be very much loved by the lady they called Mum.  

I’ll have to see what tomorrow might bring, I said to myself, before finally falling fast asleep.  It had been a very long and eventful day. Maybe this was a new beginning for me where I would be loved and wanted. And I’d have some new friends, although they were giants, they might come to like me too.  

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In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson

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