Common to human belief, us of the feline breed can understand every word they say, we have the most acute hearing, eyesight and smell. If human beings were as perfect as we are, they would be intolerable to live with, so, with tongue in cheek read on, should you believe in the power of black cats, so much the better, let your imagination run wild and enjoy.
This story is dedicated to our Lucky, the nearest a cat could ever be to a human being, the story is based on real events within our family, with Lucky involved of course, the animal side of the story is what, in my imagination, Lucky got up to in his world and may be not far from the truth.
Author Paul Staples, 2015
Chapter 1 - The Awakening
My first recollections of my kitten-hood were the upside down view of two large taps, one of which dripped incessantly onto my front left paw, on moving around I discovered I was in a large white bath along with my two brothers and a small weedy multi-coloured sister. My mother was lovely and very large with a huge long and fluffy tail, we would play with this tail and bite it quite unmercifully, quite expecting it to fall out, strangely, it never did. My natural desire was to escape the confines of that dreadful bath, mother could leap in and out in one massive bound; often, such a noise came from the other side as to put terrible fear into the strongest kitten heart.
As there is little to tell about baths and the view obtained from the bottom it was my natural desire to escape, my strong desire soon came to fruition.
The next morning arrived and a rather long-faced woman appeared, her purpose was to lift us out of the dreadful bath and into the much larger confines of the house. This proved to be very nice with many lovely hiding places and places to play. I gathered at this time the long-faced woman wished to immerse herself in water, in the bath, I recall how crude it all was, using one’s tongue was far much better and less trouble, this was just one human habit I found was just not logical.
While this lengthy bathing business went on, we left to explore the rest of the house, Mother very proudly led us around, after the ground floor we took to the stairs to investigate further, mother carried my sister rather ignominiously up the stairs as she was so delicate and rather sickly, reaching the landing we all proceeded through an open door whereupon the first real shock of my young kitten life took place.
Beside a long bed lay what looked like a huge rug, this rug rose and fell accompanied by great snorting; moving cautiously around, I found myself looking into the largest eyes I had ever seen, these were accompanied by short black whiskers and an even blacker nose, but, worst of all were the teeth, they were monstrous, it lay quite still and then horror of horrors it stood up, I thought I would surely pass away, as it was however I put on my most ferocious face, hissed and stood my ground, this seemed to have a good effect as this thing gently lowered its head and sniffed me all over, I tried my hardest not to tremble, feeling somewhat bolder I decided to speak to it.
‘Who are you and what are you?’ ‘I am Rosco the dog and my mistress’s pet and guardian of the house, if my mistress is allowing you to stay I will personally introduce you to my friends outside.’
I made a mental note never to call that woman my mistress, she did not seem my type at all, my brothers were impressed at my daring and my weedy-coloured sister had fainted with mother doing her best to revive her, telling us all that Rosco was really a big softy at heart and seldom raised his voice to her; with humans, however, it was different; Rosco, she said, was always confined to the house until all the tradesmen had called before dinner time; I deduced from this statement that nobody called at this house until after dinner. Our tour continued until all the upstairs had been examined and then suddenly the long-faced woman appeared, she scooped us up and placed us back into the bath, only this time it was wet; this made me all the more determined never to call her my mistress, not ever.
Mother announced after dinner that she was going to tell us all of things in the big world outside, she felt this was very essential as she had heard the long-faced woman talking to a man, who I had not seen, something about being able to explore the garden, this was all very exciting and mother was soon relating to all the different types of flowers and plants, that, and all the other animals we could meet, she also told us of things we must never eat and places we must not go; of course, I made my mind up to do just the opposite as I thought personal experience was the best.
Armed with this information and a new day ahead, I fell into the deepest of sleeps with mother’s tail as my pillow in that dreadful bath.
Chapter 2 - The Fight
The next morning the long-faced woman appeared, only this time there was a man human with her, he was very long but had a much kinder face and seemed to have a lot of time for us, I still could not see why I had not seen him before but with all this exciting business of going outside into the garden, I gave it no further thought.
We were put down in an open space and mother, who had followed the humans, strutted around obviously wishing them to go and leave us to explore, which after a short time they did, loudly announcing that cats never did what you wanted. All I can say, and I have always found it so, some humans are very short on patience.
When at last we were totally alone and we felt free to wander, mother announced that us three boys could explore alone, keeping the house in sight at all times, she would accompany my sister as she was not very strong. We started off down a long narrow path along which were many pretty flowers, mostly highly scented; as we walked past a particularly large clump of yellow flowers, I noticed two black objects sitting on the uppermost blooms; they appeared to be sucking something.
Not being shy and thinking there may be something to eat, I sniffed the objects, with a great buzzing they launched themselves at my face and with great alarm I fled; these objects, I later found, were bees, something mother had not told us about; I secretly began to doubt mother’s wisdom and wondered if there was anything else she had omitted to tell us.
After the incident with the bees, we continued on our way, my heart was still beating very fast when we came across a very large bush-type plant that presented somewhat of a detour, whilst doing this we heard the most alarming sort of huffing and puffing accompanied by very heavy footfalls, obviously someone in a great hurry, I glanced at my brothers, who, by this time had wriggled into the bush, I rapidly followed.
From our vantage point we could see down the path and into our view came this huge cat, not fat but sheer muscle, very ugly and not even a sight for human eyes to set upon, my brothers were very shaken and none of us dared to move a muscle, he was most clearly in a hurry and we most fervently hoped never to set eyes on him again, perhaps he had been visiting friends and was on his way home.
In my mind I began to respect mother’s words of caution as our trip into the garden was proving to be a bit scary; however, with added care we carried on up the path and on rounding a corner we came across a small clearing where there was a small enclosed area covered with a sort of netting, in the corner were five large birds scratching and eating all the time, by mother’s description these were hens, taking no notice of us we ventured closer, I opened the conversation.
‘Hello birds, and what would be your names?’ There was a brief silence and then they all tried to talk at once, so much so I never did discover their names until much later, we all looked at each other and decided they were far too hysterical to bother with, so we left.
I checked to see if the house was still in view and it was so we carried on and had just made off when the most dreadful sound filled the air and split the peace of the garden; on reaching a small clearing and by a small pool was mother, we had never seen her like this before, her tail was twice its normal size, this being difficult to imagine as I have already told you how large it was, on glancing to the left we saw the monstrous ginger beast, equally ferocious, on the ground lay my sister, apparently in a faint again, at the edge of the pool sat two large toads taking in the scene with a certain air of indifference as if they had seen it all before.
Mother sprang first, her long fang teeth sinking into the ginger beast’s neck, Ginger fought like a demon but mother was protecting her only daughter and that was quite another thing, her total desperate efforts overcame the ginger beast and with fur flying he ran off at high speed. Mother gently picked up my little sister and started slowly back to the house, we all followed in silence with all thoughts of further exploring now gone for the day. As we left, the two toads slipped silently back into the pool.
We reached the large area outside the back door and mother cried to be let in with her poor injured daughter, but nobody came; suddenly, footsteps, someone coming, the door opened and mother rushed in with my sister; it was the man human who greeted us and when he saw my little sister, he gently picked her up and said he would have to take her to our doctor, this was completely beyond me, I had no idea what he was talking about, mother explained that as human doctors go he was a most intelligent man and usually very helpful.
Mother was very restless as the man human had not come back; none of us knew what had become of my sister. At last he arrived and sadly told mother that her little girl had died of her terrible neck bites. That night nobody slept at all well, our night was made a little better by being allowed to sleep in the big lounge with a large dirt tray left for our toilet requirements.
I heard mother sobbing quietly in the darkness and so were we all, although our little sister had been very frail she was a nice little girl who harmed nobody, it was all very sad. The next week passed slowly with mother very quiet and sad faced.
Chapter 3 - Appearances
Some time had now passed since the dreadful fight and the sad loss of my little sister and things were getting back to normal; we were allowed back out into the garden again but never without mother, we all kept together, we never saw the ginger beast again.
This particular morning we were all laying basking in the sun when mother suddenly got up and told us we were all dreadfully scruffy, being little boys made no odds, all cats must be smart at all times.
‘Come along with me,’ she declared, walking off quickly down the path. By the edge of the path was a small clearing that led to an old tumble down shed, against its side was propped an old cracked mirror. I had never seen a mirror before, but mother explained, ‘Look into it and you will see what I mean about your appearances.’ We gathered in front of it and it was true, our coats were dirty and full of knots.
‘Now, spruce yourselves up, how on earth do you expect some nice family to adopt you looking like you do,’ Adopt? What did she mean, I tried to question her further but she would not elaborate, my brothers were equally puzzled, as she was so final in her statement we left the subject and set about the very important task of our appearances.
After much washing and biting out the most stubborn of knots, we presented ourselves back in front of the mirror, the change was quite startling, I sat back to observe myself and that of my brothers.
Both my brothers were black and white, one had more white than black and the other had more black than white, I was quite black save that of seven white hairs on my chest, I was quite slim with long legs, my tail, however, was a touch straggly and a bit like a piece of string, wet string, all in all though I was very pleased with how I looked and thought myself to be a bit aristocratic.
Digesting all this, we presented ourselves to the hens to get their approval, which we knew they would give anyway. We had got to know them much better now, they really were quite stupid and always on about how many today? These turned out to be eggs, for the life of me I could not see any purpose whatsoever for these things, however, a fair conversation could be had with these birds and they were never violent, so we all got on quite well.
From the path where mother had been watching our chat with the hens came footsteps approaching, the long-faced woman approached and told us it was dinnertime and to come indoors.
As we walked along the path it suddenly got very dark and heavy spots of rain fell onto my back, by the time we reached the house I was quite wet; following dinner it took a big washing session to get dry and restore our coats to their full glory. The long-faced woman suddenly announced that she was going out and we were to be on our best behaviour, had she had not said this we probably would not have done otherwise; as it was, we decided we would give her some extra housework on her return.