It was all Olivia talked about, day in and day out.
“Fuzzy is so cute.”
“Did I tell you I have a new kitten? Her name is Fuzzy.”
“Fuzzy likes to play with my toes.”
“Do you think I could take Fuzzy to school today? I’ll hide her in my bag so the teacher doesn’t see her. Please, Mommy.”
Claire shook her head and chuckled to herself as she remembered the discussion this morning. It had taken quite awhile to convince Olivia that Fuzzy would not enjoy being shut in a school bag all day long.
Oh, no. I forgot to shut Fuzzy in the back room. She’ll probably mess all over the new carpet.
Olivia’s new kitten was adorable but Claire was getting sick of cleaning up after it. Fuzzy had been a member of their family for almost three weeks now and she still hadn’t figured out how to use the litter tray.
“That has got to be the dumbest cat I have ever seen,” Peter had declared last night as they cleaned up yet another wet spot on the carpet.
“Fuzzy. Kitty, kitty. Here Fuzzy.” Claire began calling before she had the front door open properly. One step inside the door and Claire realized she was already too late.
“Uugghh!” She lifted her foot and glared at the brown mass smeared into the carpet and all over the sole of her shoe. “That cat is gonna cop it this time. Fuzzy, where are you? Kitty, kitty.” Claire ripped the soiled shoe of her foot and threw it out the door as she called.
As she stepped into the lounge a small ball of grey fluff launched itself off the arm of the sofa. Fuzzy landed, claws extended, on Claire’s shoeless foot and quickly began to climb her stockinged leg.
“OUCH!” Claire grabbed the kitten by the scruff of the neck and marched to the laundry door. “Get out of my house you filthy, dirty, smelly, vicious little beast.” She tossed the kitten out the door and began to turn away. Fuzzy rolled several times and was brought to a jarring halt by the brick edging along the path. She let out an ear piercing wail and lay still.
Claire turned back and stared at the small grey kitten. Kneeling beside the cat, she extended a hand towards it. The kitten wailed again as Claire picked her up. It didn’t take an expert to see that she was badly hurt.
Eye’s filling with tears, Claire prepared a box to lay the kitten in. Rushing out the front door she saw her discarded shoe. A quick wipe on the grass removed the mess and Claire was ready to leave.
The veterinary’s surgery was only a few blocks away and Claire managed the drive with tears pouring down her cheeks.
“I’m sorry Mrs Hamilton,” the vet’s voice was solemn. “Her back is broken. We’ll need to put her to sleep.”
“There must be something you can do. Please.” Claire couldn’t accept what she was hearing. “It doesn’t matter what it costs. It’s my daughter’s kitten. How will I tell her that her kitten is dead… and I killed it?”
The drive to school that afternoon was the worst drive Claire had ever made. She stood beside the car, fidgeting nervously as she tried to decide how to break the news to Olivia.
The bell rang and the school doors crashed open, disgorging a noisy, laughing crowd of children. Olivia took longer than usual to get to the car.
“Hi Mommy. Can Shelby come over tonight and see Fuzzy?”
There was a long pause as Claire searched for the right words to say. Crouching down, she wrapped her arms around her daughter.
“Olivia… I’m sorry darling. There was an accident today. Fuzzy… Fuzzy got hurt and the vet had to put her to sleep.”
Olivia’s blue eyes opened wide in disbelief, but one look at her mother’s tear streaked face was enough to convince her it was true.
“Oh, Mommy. Oh, no. Not my Fuzzy.”
Mother and daughter remained, wrapped in each other’s arms, sharing their sorrow, as the schoolyard and car park emptied.
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