I don’t remember a lot about my life before the age of six months when a nice man rescued me off the street. Some wonderful humans adopted me from a kennel and brought me to live in their home.
Life was good. My humans provided a warm, comfortable bed and plenty of food. They gave me lots of toys and a magnificent cat tree to climb. The entire house was my playground. I liked to take long catnaps on their bed and hide beneath it. But my favorite place was on the sofa—curled up between them. There, I felt loved and secure.
My natural curiosity led me to look out the windows at the fields and woods surrounding our house. Rabbits hopped in the yard. Squirrels scampered about, climbing trees, and jumping from limb to limb.
Most days my humans went to a place called work. That didn’t sound like much fun, but they also had adventures. They planned to take a trip on a big ship to a place called Alaska. The excitement in their voices further piqued my curiosity about the outside world.
Going near water didn’t appeal to me, but I dreamed of taking my own journey. Wouldn’t it be fun to climb a real tree? To explore the woods and meet new friends? Being here alone all day is boring.
I planned my escape. One day, when my humans weren’t looking, I slipped through an open door into a strange new world.
The adventure began. I climbed trees, followed little paths beneath the underbrush, and discovered trails leading to new places. However, the animals were distant and aloof. So much for making new friends—either they were too busy or didn’t care to associate with me.
Nightfall came and with it different animals and many strange sounds. A little creature wearing a black mask approached. He looked friendly enough, but when he snarled and hissed at me, I knew I wasn’t wanted.
The whooshing of wings overhead and a call of, “Who, who, who, hoooo,” caused me concern. My humans had said owls have amazing eyesight and catch small animals in their terrible talons. I crouched beneath a tree, silent, and hoped to remain invisible.
Then a sound sent shivers through my spine. “Yip, yip, yip. Yip, yip, yip. Ououuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.”
Coyotes! They run in packs and prey on little animals like me. Their call echoed through the forest. They were close. I thought of climbing a tree to escape, but remembered the owl.
I ran from the woods in fear of my life, past the neighbor’s big black dog, through my back yard and to a hiding place beneath the house.
Cold, hungry, and scared, I thought about my nice warm bed, my food bowl, and my beautiful cat tree. What was I thinking? My humans gave me everything I needed—food, shelter, and love. Now, I’m in this dark, dreary place. If only I could curl up on the sofa once again.
I decided to go the door and beg to enter when morning came. Would they take me back? Would they still love me? Would I still have the same privileges?
"Even if they take away all my possessions, it will still be better than being out here all alone."
Daylight approached. I heard sounds coming from inside and knew my humans were awake. I went to the front porch, waited until the female opened the door, and hurried inside—fearful she might slam it in my face.
But her reaction surprised me. She scooped me up in her arms. “Cruz! I’m so glad to see you. Please don’t ever leave us again.” The tears in her eyes made me feel guilty.
My male human also greeted me. “Hey little buddy, welcome home.”
They took me into the kitchen and sat a bowl of fresh food and water before me.
My cat tree and toys were still there. They didn’t scold or punish me, but welcomed me with love and affection.
The prodigal was home.
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