I have two spoiled cats who live in the house. And several wild ones I feed outside in the shed. Although, I’m aware I’m feeding other furry mammals, too. Can’t be helped. Just yesterday, we caught an embarrassed raccoon in our live-trap. It was fat. And its fur looked so soft and fluffy. My husband said it’s from the vitamins and minerals in all the cat food it had been guzzling.
Since I have no children, my cats are my kids. Always have been. I’ve loved cats since I was in the womb. No, really! Every picture of me of a little kid has me holding at least one cat. When I look at those old photos, I feel sorry for them, though. As a toddler, I carried them around with both hands. Around their necks. Eyes bulging. Bodies squirming. Those cats must have been made of tough stuff. None of them died from asphyxiation.
Lucky for me, Garry has morphed into a cat person, too. It was bound to happen. I had cats long before I had him.
I ambled downstairs yesterday morning, looking for a Diet Mountain Dew. My caffeine drink of choice. I wandered into our living room where my husband sat reading the paper. Nothing new there.
Before I could mumble “Mornin’” he was pointing.
Why was he pointing? I knew I didn’t look my best, obviously just having gotten out of bed, but come on. My hair wasn’t sticking up anymore than usual that time of the day.
And his wasn’t any better. He had no right to ridicule me. We both looked like frightened peacocks.
He kept pointing.
More pointing. I finally looked down. Well that’s just great. A pile of kitty upchuck congealed on the floor. Who knows what time it got there. My bare feet had narrowly missed being slimed. Having that stuff ooze between your toes is disgusting. And yes, I know that from experience. Chunks of
My husband, a wonderful man who I adore, will not clean up a discretion of that kind. Ever. I sighed. Just what I wanted to do before I had breakfast, took a shower, and got ready to drive 30 minutes to my dental hygiene job in another county. Where I got to scrape goo off of people’s teeth.
Of course, the cats were fascinated, watching me wipe up the goo. They both stared at me, swishing their tales. Neither one would admit, though, who’d done the deed. I knew whoever it was would still be hungry, obviously, since his or her tummy was once again empty. But they were both now whining, asking to be fed. Again. I gave in, just like I always do, and fed them. One would once again be satisfied. The other would now be pushed further toward his or her coveted goal of fat cat.
What’s equally disconcerting, though, is getting out of the shower to an audience. The male, Maxwell, stares at my drippy nakedness. He doesn’t even blink. The female, Roxy, simply yawns and turns away. Not sure which is worse. I’m either a naked freak or I’m boring. Hmmm. I’ve always wondered if the cats whisper about me later on. Comparing notes about my ghastly appearance. And I know I’ve heard them giggling before. Don’t they realize that hurts my feelings? I mean, I try not to laugh at them if they’re having a bad hair day, o
But, they are my muses. They’re always around when I write. Giving me ideas. Purring encouragement. Looking for a lap, or just wanting to sit and unnerve me by staring at me. Right now, Maxwell is sitting on one of our closed laptops. Roxy is lounging in my inbox. Purring. Ready to be processed.
Where would I be without them? Unpublished? Childless? Let’s not find out. Okay?
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Kitty Carter is used to getting into strange situations when she chases her cat, Arthur. But this latest escapade is just too much! When Arthur chases a mouse at the marina while she's doing researc
h for her book, she follows him down the dock and onto a yacht. Not entirely her plan, since she falls down some stairs and hits her head, and wakes to find herself out to sea. And she and Arthur aren’t the only ones on board!
Oh no. Not again. “Come back here you little rascal!”
Kitty Carter trotted down the warped wooden dock of the marina chasing Arthur. She was always chasing Arthur. And Arthur was always running.
Away. From her.
“Slow down, will ya? I’ve only got two legs.”
Why does he always do this to me?
Arthur, her black cat, scurried on, stalking a minuscule brown mouse.
Her cat’s claws dug into the pine boards of the dock, leaving gouges the size of three-penny nails. As Kitty looked up in time to see the tip of Arthur’s tail disappear over the shiny metal railing of the small yacht, her foot slipped in a spare tire-sized puddle.
While her feet flew over her head, her left shoe flew off her foot and splashed into the water. Perfect. The back of her head smacked the dock. Hard. After a moment of staring into the blue Alaska sky, she smiled as hippos in yellow mini-skirts pranced among the clouds.
Wait, that couldn’t be right, could it?
She sat up and shook her head. The dancing hippos vanished. Kitty sighed. It wasn’t the first time she’d witnessed cavorting animals in the sky after hitting her head.
Graceful, she was not. At the rate she was going, next time she’d see an entire kick-line of bowtie-wearing giraffes.
Taking inventory of her person, she surmised most everything was still intact. Still had feeling in her arms and legs? Check. Too much blood loss from the scrape on her forehead? She could probably live with what she had left. And drat! One of her shoes was missing. Now she had a naked foot to deal with. She’d loved those sandals, too.
Kitty let out a heavy sigh and pushed up to her feet. Wind-milling her arms while hopping on one foot wasn’t highly effective. Better to have one dingy, bare foot than to lose her balance off the dock and end up with a bath she hadn’t counted on. Especially since she couldn’t swim.
She ran the rest of the way toward the yacht where her wayward cat had last been spotted. Gripping the rail so she wouldn’t follow her left shoe into the water, she climbed over the rail onto the deck. The shiny white deck and teak wooden cabin sparkled in the mid-morning sunshine. The yacht’s name, “MT Pockets” was painted on the side.
“I’m just here to rescue my cat.”
“Or, I guess I should say, to rescue a mouse from my cat…my cat from a mouse?”
She shrugged and looked around the small, tidy deck. Not finding Arthur there, she headed for a set of stairs descending below deck. Kitty peered into the darkness.
“Arthur, are you down there?”
Her cat didn’t answer. Neither did the mouse. She wondered if that meant the mouse was already in Arthur’s tummy.
Okay, here goes. Taking it slow, Kitty inched her way down the stairs. She tried a switch, but nothing happened. Deciding the small lever must have been for a purpose other than turning on a light, she continued on in the semi-darkness. Third step from the bottom, her naked foot hit the edge of the slick metal step. Her feet flew up, her head swan-dived down. Pain lanced across the back of her head as she thwacked it on the last step. Kitty groaned and rolled into a cat-like ball. As her world faded to black, she whispered, “Arthur, are you even down here?”
Art Katz carried two large cardboard boxes and a red duffel bag slung over his shoulder on board the yacht. Two weeks sailing and fishing. Unbelievable. He’d waited all year. Hoped to have formed gills by the time he reached his destination. He chuckled, remembering his dream from the previous night. He, of course, had been a fish. Salmon or halibut? He couldn’t remember. Not that it mattered. But no doubt about it; he’d been a fish.
Deciding to unpack later, he set to prepare the yacht, checking gauges and levels. After a short time, he headed out to sea. He’d spent enough time on this particular yacht to know its quirks. No doubt he could make the journey safely. But not everything in his life was so predictable. Like his business. He worked like a dog. Every weekend. Most evenings. But he still wasn’t making the money he wanted. His employees often called him a slave driver. But hey, you didn’t make money just sitting around.
He flipped open his cell phone.
“Hey, it’s me.”
“Hi,” said his friend, John. “Thanks again for delivering my yacht. I still can’t believe your vacation coincided with my move. I owe ya, man.”
“You’d do the same for me. If I had a yacht. Or a place to put a yacht. Or money to buy a yacht.”
“Yeah, yeah. I hear ya.”
“I expect to be treated like a rock star when I get there.”
“You got it. See you when you get here, then.”
“Later.” Art closed his phone and put it in his jeans pocket.
John seemed to have it all. The lucrative medical practice. The beautiful wife and kids. Not that Art had time for the family part. He wasn’t like John. He didn’t have money stashed everywhere. He had to work. All the time. That’s why this trip was so special. He hardly ever left the office.
For the next several hours he sailed, admiring the whipping green waves and diving birds. Eagles and puffins splashed about, more often than not emerging with fishy treasures in their beaks. He envied them. He couldn’t wait to start fishing himself. Although, he’d be using a pole. He wasn’t crazy about biting into raw fish.
A soft sound floated up from below deck. He turned his head.
Perfect. All he needed was a stowaway cat for the next two weeks. He’d never been a fan of felines. Far from it. With their tiny, impaling claws and creepy purring sound, he’d been able to avoid most of them.
Ever since the incident. Putting the yacht on autopilot, he walked to the stairs. His hand reached to the light switch. Nothing. And of course, the light bulbs were in a cabinet downstairs. He sighed and made his way back to his duffel bag. Flashlight in hand, he cautiously made his way down the dimly lit stairway.