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TITLE: Part 1---Jessica's Discovery
By Loretta Leonard

I really love animal stories especially those involving cats. This article was prompted by an event that happened to my granddaughter. It made a real impression on both of us. There are five other small sections to this short story and each one will some type of application. I am aiming at the 10-12 year old group.

Comments? Does everything flow together? I still trying to think of a title for all the stories together as one unit.

I have several articles about cats that I am considering putting together in one book.
"Mom, you know what I found out from Marcy today? You know that lady that lives on Braxton Street about two blocks from us. The one that thinks she owns the whole street. You know the crazy one who puts tree limbs in the street so you can't drive down Braxton."

"You mean the one that has the funky bright yellow Slow sign in her front yard at the street corner?" asked Jessica's mom.

"Yeah, that's the one. Well, anyway I heard from Marcy that she hates cats and doesn't want them in her yard. So you know what she does? She places tuna outside in a cage to trap them and then she put them in her trunk and drives them somewhere else and lets them loose."

"Now why ever would she do that? Certainly she doesn't think that will keep cats out of her yard! No. You gotta be kidding."

"Stacey, Marcy's friend, lives next door and has actually seen her do it. Why do people have to be so mean?" asked Jessica.

"I don't know. Are you worried about T J? I guess you could maybe talk to her and let her know that trapping animals is against the law inside the city. She needs some type of license to do that."

"But what if T J wanders over that way? Cats love to roam around the neighborhood. T J always finds his way back home. Do you think if T J wandered over there she would trap him?"

"I don't know. I certainly hope not. Maybe you could just talk to Mrs. Chinson. She might not be as bad as you think she is. Maybe you could tell her that she needs to call animal control. At least they can take in strays and someone can check the shelter if their cat is missing. It's certainly better than what Stacey says is happening," said Jessica's mom.

That afternoon Jessica bicycled over to Stacey's house and together they went to Mrs. Chinson's house and bravely knocked on the door. Mrs. Chinson answered the door and Stacey and Jessica talked to her. She didn't seem mean but when they asked her about another missing cat that was posted on a sign near her home, she changed her attitude.

"I don't like cats. They just ruin my yard and chase after the birds near my feeder on the deck. Any cats that come around here I'm going to catch and take them away so that they don't bother me," said Mrs. Chinson. Jessica discovered that the rumors about Mrs. Chinson were true and it bothered her that someone would be so cruel.

"But Mrs. Chinson, that is against the law. You can't just trap cats and then take them for a ride out into the country. How can they take care of themselves in an unfamiliar place?" asked Stacey.

"Yeah, they could die from not getting enough food or water," mentioned Jessica.

Stacey and Jessica looked at each other and decided that there wasn't much more that they could do except to tell both of their mothers.

"You know what?" stated Jessica. "I don't like her. I hope that T J never gets into her yard. I don't know what I would do if T J didn't come home. He made the moved from Louisiana to Georgia and he likes being at our house. When he is tired of being outside he comes in and gets on top of my bed, curls up and takes a long nap."

When the girls got home they both told their mothers how Mrs. Chinson acted. Each mother was concerned but since she had not personally done anything to them, they decided to make a little note in the back of their minds just in case there was a problem.

Two more posters were placed in the neighborhood. Both of them were looking for missing cats. One was a calico cat and the other one was an gray tabby. It began to look suspicious, but at least T J was still home. He was one tough cat and at least once he got into a fight and came home with several deep cuts. No matter how hard it was to find T J he always came home and came to the front door to get inside where it was warm.

Then it happened. T J didn't come home for a few days. It seemed odd and Jessica wondered about how long it would be before he came back. She really wished her mom would let TJ stay inside but TJ was really the one who begged to go outside.

One week went by. Still no sign of T J. Please. Let him come home. It wasn't unusual for him to miss one or two days before he came home but this time it had been four days and no one had seen him. Stacey came over to Jessica's and together they called and looked for T J. They looked in every possible place they could think of but there was no sign of T J.

Jessica's mom called the numbers on the posters for the two missing cats. Both of them were anxious to get their cats back. Oddly enough their cats disappeared about the same time that T J came up missing. No one in the neighborhood had any clues and even Mrs. Brown had tried to call about her calico cat. Mrs. Chinson didn't seem to be home.

Two weeks. No one had seen T J.

Three weeks. Jessica had almost given up hope about ever seeing T J again. She wondered if Mrs. Chinson had caught him and taken him far away. She didn't like that mean ol' lady. Where is T J? I'm not give up yet. Maybe, just maybe, he will still come home.

It was one day about the end of three weeks when Jessica woke up and couldn't find T J that she decided he probably wasn't coming home. She lowered her head and started to cry. She had trusted and prayed that TJ would come home but it seemed like God wasn't answering her prayers. Was it too much to expect God to have any interest in her problem?
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