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Saturdays with Stella: Tales from the Tail

179:365 Buttercup

Gah! I was away in the woods with no cellphone access this weekend and this post was scheduled to publish on Saturday am. No idea what I did wrong but here it is now …

Stella and I have decided we should rename “Saturdays with Stella” to “Highly Sporadic Saturdays with Stella.”

It does not surprise or disappoint me that she no longer wants to write something each week. It had been her idea in the first place. But she’s busy. She’s got things to do: reading, writing, drawing, biking, and last but not least, climbing trees!

For this week, Stella said I could share a piece of her writing that is a bit more experimental. Check it out and see what you think … can you figure out what it’s about? (Special thanks to Dani for letting us use her cute kitten photo above!)

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Tales from the Tail

Milk, must find milk. Eternal darkness. Must find it. I’ve felt it. Suckle… suckle.

Three weeks later…

Light, blinding light. Feline faces all huddled around. And huge, bare faces, all huddled around.

That was all I remember from my kittenhood. Suckling, and when my eyes opened. I live in this place, in a cage with my mother. Outside our cage, other animals, also in cages. There are bare faces running around, in this strange complex. Every day, lots of other bare faces come in, and look at us. And sometimes, one of the bare faces will talk to the bare faces that are always here, in their deep, low tones, while gesturing at one of the caged animals. Then they pick you up, and take you away, never to be seen again. From all we can tell, there is more outside of this place. My mother calls it “The Great Beyond”. And from what we can tell, that is the only way out.

I stretch my back as the many suns affixed to the roof light up in unison. The ground rumbles as a bare face stomps towards my cage. It’s a female, with a tail coming out the back of its head. It puts a number of gross pellets into my bowl and pours bitter water into the saucer. They expect us to like this stuff. I limp towards the “food” that it left out. I’ve lived here my whole life. Five years you see. I’ve seen a lot of siblings come and go. It is just me and my mother now. My mother used to have a litter of kittens every year, but one day the bare faces took her away for a few days, and when they brought her back, she really wasn’t the same. It was like they put her in an eternal bad mood. From that point on, she had no more kittens, and whenever she saw a bare face, she would scowl and turn in the opposite direction. She also started telling me about how I was a runt.

According to her I was so small I could not get to a teat. The bare faces feed me their milk. I did not have the proper cat milk I needed, so I developed a limp. From that point on, not one bare face wanted to adopt me. If one wanted Mother, the always-here bare faces would say something in a sour, rumbling way, and the bare face would shake their huge heads at me, and then would go look at the mice.

So, as a result of this problem, no bare faces picked me up and took me out to the great beyond. I never saw the one great bright sun my mother always told me about. It’s all the bare faces fault. If they had not fed me there milk, I would not have this limp. I slowly drift into uneasy sleep.

The days carry on in their usual drone.  Every day I wake up to the blinding light of the many roof-suns. Bare faces have us eat distasteful food and they pour us bitter water. The ground rumbles constantly. Bare faces stare and shake there massive heads at us, and mother tells me about how runty I am. Until one day, once again, the ground rumbles as bare faces thunder towards us. The new bare face is a male, with a patch of soft, gray fur on the top of its head. The bare face with him is Foul Feed, the female one who gives us the rancid nourishment. Gray Head is looking at us in genuine concern. That’s a first. He angry roars at Foul Feed. He keeps gesturing to the tiny cage, the scat on the flakes at the bottom and the horrid food. He seems to be upset about them. Then he pulls out a small silver box and points it around the complex. He presses a small bump on top. A small circle flashes brightly every time he does so. Then he leaves.

The next day, Gray head and some other new bare faces come with him. They do not look very content. They start picking up the animal cages, and taking them out to the great beyond. The always-here bare faces look anxious and worried. Gray head picks our cage up gently and takes us out into the great beyond. I finally can see the great sun. I smile. Gray head lowers us into a big machine. One of Gray head’s companions turns off the suns in the complex. Now that I am outside, I realize how small the complex is compared to the rest of the world. The machine door closes, and the ground starts shaking. Eventually I fall asleep.

When I wake up, I am in the nest of a Bare face. Gray head smiles at me from above. This must be his nest. I notice there are four other cats living here as well. They smile and welcome me. Gray head puts nice smelling water and tasty food in front of me. I eat it quickly.

As for how I spent the rest of my days here, I can tell you I had lots of adventures with the other cats around Gray head’s nest. And I watched the great sun come up every day.

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Comments

  1. Stella – what an excellent piece of writing! You really had me thinking about the cat as more than ‘just’ an animal.

  2. Stella, thanks for the story! I shared it with a few of my cat-loving friends, and they all loved it.

    My favourite part was how you described the caretakers and visiting humans as always-here bare faces and bare faces, respectively. It was very effective in getting the reader to see from the cat’s point of view.

  3. TheDragon says:

    I like it finally a perspective from a fine feline 😀

  4. John Harrison says:

    well Stella, you’ve surpassed yourself again. Like Adam, I am so impressed with the cat’s impression of humans- ‘bareface’ says it all. Your empathy is amazing.

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