Feline Utopia

The cat was nobody’s cat. A stray that wandered the streets, having escaped the clutches of a rather unpleasant human, it had the collar and registration information needed to roam free without being accosted by other people.

It had found an ideal home, as well. The dumpsters behind the fish and chips place were a constant trove of delicious, if somewhat unhealthy, food, and the cat lived like a King in its palace of trash cans. Granted, the winter was a bit cold, but the owner of the fish and chips place had spotted his new neighbour, and in deference to the cat’s services warding off rodents, built it a small home. Nothing much – a few pieces of plywood nailed together – but it was enough to keep the cat warm and sheltered.

Two years later, the own had to build the cat a new home, larger this time, as the cat was having trouble squeezing through the doors. Two years after that, another home, even larger.

The cat, meanwhile, was having difficulty breathing, and moving, as its girth expanded beyond a reasonable state. Its stomach brushed along the ground, in part due to its size and in part due to the inadequate strength of the cat’s legs.

Finally the cat stopped moving; the owner of the fish and chips place was kind enough to place the leftovers right outside the cat’s door anyway, so it could just loll in its cavern (which it was now to big to exit anyway) and lick at the fried chunks to its heart’s content, at least until the mice got to it.

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Responsibility

Mellisa always wanted a cat, but her mother was allergic.

Of course, there was no evidence of this allergy. Mellisa went to her friend’s house regularly, where not one but three cats resided, and when she came home, there was no reaction from her mother.

But still, every time she mentioned it, her mother would say, “You know I have an allergy, dear,” and her father was snicker.

Mellisa was not one to be deterred by details, though. So when they toured the back of the pet store – the aquaria, to be specific – and she saw the catfish, she knew what to do.

“See Mom? You won’t have an allergy to that, it’s a fish! I get my cat, you stay safe, win-win.”

“No,” her mother said. “How do we know I’m not allergic? It’s all cats that my allergy is bad about.”

“This isn’t a cat though.”

“Doesn’t matter, still allergic.”

So Mellisa stuck her hand in the water and splashed her mother’s face. Her mother shrieked, but didn’t break out into hives, or have her throat close off.

“See? You’re fine. Now let me get my catfish.”

Out of excuses, Mellisa mother relented. But she refused to buy the necessary aquarium, so after a few weeks in the plastic bag, the fish died.

“See? You can’t look after it,” her mother said.

Mellisa cried, but conceded that maybe her mother was right.

Cat Hugs

Damien grabbed the cat, lifted her, and brought her in for a hug.

The cat was having none of it.

After a quick warning meow, the cat’s claws extended. Damien didn’t notice, or didn’t care. He kept bringing the cat closer to his face. The cat wriggled, and still Damien pulled her in. The cat twisted radically, seeking some means of escape, but Damien’s grip wouldn’t allow it.

The cat sunk her claws into Damien’s clothes, scraping at his coverings, trying to get to the skin. Still, Damien brought the cat closer.

Finally, the cat did the only thing she could. She sunk her teeth into Damien’s ear, then his neck. The taste of blood filled her mouth, and she kept biting and chewing until Damien finally released her.

“What a good kitty you are!” Damien said, smiling at her. She looked back at him, coughed up a hairball, and left, disgusted.

Claw Clipping

Burl grabbed his cat around the body. It tried, briefly, to escape, but Burl was experienced, and had a good hold.

The cat was looking unhappy about this change to its plans, but it knew better than to argue much. Though it occasionally escaped from Burl’s clutches, usually it was content to sit for a few minutes and receive his warmth before standing, stretching, and sauntering away.

Now, though, the cat noticed Burl’s intentions. The claw clippers. Burl held them in his left hand while holding the cat in his right arm. He lifted one of the paws and squeezed, making the claws protract.

The cat squirmed, and tried to lift its other paw to take a swipe at him. When that didn’t work, the cat extended the claws on its back legs, digging them into Burl’s leg. He ignored this, and proceeded to trim the cat’s claws.

When finished with one paw, he took the other and did the same. He then expertly turned the cat around, and got the back legs.

With the claw-trimming complete, Burl released the cat to go about its day. The cat scurried off, stopping at the door to turn and glare at Burl for a moment. Burl smiled. The cat hissed, then disappeared around the corner.

Dress Your Pet

Warren picked up his cat, and began to dress her.

Little Annie didn’t like being dressed, but Warren was stronger and more patient. He held her under his armpit, and used one hand to hold a paw out while using the other to slide the shirt over it. He did the other paw next. Little Annie tried to fight, but her claws were recently cut back and filed, so she had little to fight with.

Once the shirt was on, Warren turned Little Annie around and started on the pants. They were more difficult, especially with the tail hole, but in a few minutes he had her dressed in a shirt and pants, with only one thing left.

Warren grabbed the cape, and as Little Annie mewled and tried to fight, he clipped it on to the edged of her shirt.

Finally, Warren released the cat, and she took off, away from her crazy person. Still, Little Annie had these clothes on, and she needed to get them off. But that would be for later, when she was safe. For now, she needed solace.

Warren smiled at how adorable Little Annie looked.

Traditional Work

Greg inherited his job from his father, who had inherited it from his father before him, and so on back for several hundred years.

Greg was, perhaps, the last in a long line. For few, these days, respected the noble post of cat herder.

Cats did not herd themselves. But with modern techniques in animal husbandry, and a recent trend towards purely domestic cats, Greg was at risk of losing his position.

Still, there were some cats in need of herding. The government helped protect the historic traditions, and Greg would have work until he died, unless some conservative schlepp gained power and decided to shut it all down. The National Cat Herding Society was small but mighty, though, and it would take a lot to get rid of them.

Some people still needed a well-herded cat. Some people just liked to see the herders out in their bright red head-stockings, their thick pants and plaid shirts, their long, hooked staffs.

Greg dressed the part, and made sure to do his bit for the society, attending town meetings and festivals, bringing a few of his prized herd wherever he went.

But his son wanted to move to the city, try something new. The day his boy mentioned dog breeding, Greg was devastated, knew his late wife would have wept and wept, but Greg held himself together and nodded. The boy left for urban climes, and Greg continued to herd.

And the day a young lad asked him how he did it, Greg knew he had found an heir.

Supreme Overlord Stephen

Supreme Overlord Stephen would not respond to any other name than that: Supreme Overlord Stephen, spoken aloud, in full.

He had sharp pointy ears, a squashed snout, and large blue eyes that, when he wasn’t sleeping, could pierce through your soul. He demanded high-quality food: no Whiskas for Supreme Overlord Stephen, only cans of the highest-quality tuna, topped with chilled Chablis.

The day the lumbering idiot – Jack, a brown-eyed, slack-jawed mutt – moved in was the beginning of the end of Supreme Overlord Stephen’s dominance.

Jack was larger, of course. If it ever came to a fight, Jack would win, but Supreme Overlord Stephen kept the mutt at bay thanks to Jack’s friendly, docile manner; a few swipes with the claws had put him in his place.

Still, the humans gave Jack all the attention, mainly because Jack gave them his. Whereas before, they had to work to get Supreme Overlord Stephen to come near them, let alone settle on them for a pat or two, Jack was constantly around, and they were constantly delighted by his presence. When they returned home, Jack stood by the door to greet them, while Supreme Overlord Stephen continued watching from the window upstairs. When they served dinner, Jack waited patiently, and dove in immediately, while Supreme Overlord Stephen sniffed, considered, refused for some time, and occasionally ate a little, providing the tuna was fresh, the dish was clean, and the Chablis was of a proper vintage and still chilled.

Jack’s sycophancy (and occasional meal thefts) first forced Supreme Overlord Stephen to eat more quickly, then to actively seek attention. Even then, Jack usually received more love.

The one thing he wouldn’t do, though, was respond to any name other than Supreme Overlord Stephen. Though it was called out less regularly these days, he still felt the proper superiority every time he heard their puny little human voices request his presence.

The Leap

Wilmer crouched on the bed, ready to leap. The distance from the bed to the dresser was a long one, and though he had been training for this moment, Wilmer doubted himself.

He wiggled his back legs, raised his tail. Taking another look down at the carpeted floor, he tilted the end of his tail by three degrees to give himself better balance and ensure a safe landing, whether it be on the dresser or the floor. Hopefully not both.

Wilmer tightened his muscles a little more and bounced his hind legs, testing his springs. He smelled the air, worried about a cross breeze from the open window, but the room was still. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath in, then let it out, not quite ready to jump. He stood to his full height again, did another wiggle, and crouched once more.

Taking another deep breath, Wilmer called up his weeks of training; jumping from the sofa to the chair, from the tower to the desk. These had all been successful. The leap from the door to the bookshelf had not been, but he had survived that fall. This was barely half that height, but a greater distance. Still, he believed.

Taking one more breath, Wilmer cleared his mind. His back legs pushed into the bed, propelling his body up and forward. His front legs pointed out, making his body aerodynamic and preparing for the landing. He opened his eyes and glanced down, the carpet below passing like the trees when he was in the car. He looked up again to the approaching dresser. I’m going to make it, he thought. I will. I will. I will. I am!

His front paws landed on the hard wood of the dresser. They started to slip, and he extended his claws, digging in to the dark surface and stopping himself as he bent his joints to absorb the energy of his movement. His back legs touched down a second later, and he stood to his full height. The gulf crossed was vast, but he had done it, a victor over gravity.

Turning, Wilmer prepared himself for the leap back.

Cat Food

“Where’s the bag?” Frederic asked.

“How should I know?” Kirk said.

“Because you bought it! You stored it somewhere, and we need to feed the cat.”

“Well, I put it in the usual spot, probably.”

“Probably? How is that a helpful answer? I checked the usual spot, and it’s not there. Can you at least help me look?”

“I’m busy, Freddy. I have other things to do than feed your cat.”

“Excuse me?” Frederic put a hand on his hip and pursed his lips. “My cat? You’re the one who said it would be cute. You’re the one who said you needed a companion. You’re the one who demanded we go to the shelter ‘right this instant’ and get a ‘fur-baby’. It’s your damn cat, I just do all the work of looking after it while you fiddle around on your computer!”

Kirk slammed shut it his laptop. “Well if you hate the damn cat so much, why don’t you toss it off the balcony!”

“Maybe I will!” Frederic shouted. He stormed off and slammed the bedroom door.

Standing in front of its bowl, the cat meowed. Kirk sighed, looking at it for a moment, then started hunting through the cupboards in search of its food.