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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: Fish: A Cat Story
By April Bailey


I had no sooner donned the sock when Fish, my calico, tackled my foot in mid air, bringing it to the floor with her teeth and claws. I tried retrieving my limb, sending her into a flipping, biting frenzy at my ankle.

“Fish!” I lifted my leg with the eight extra pounds of dark fur clinging to it. “Stop!”

She released me, dropping into stalker mode on the carpet. I saw her wind up, saw the wiggle in her hind end, and leapt onto my bed just in time, covering my feet with a pillow. “Ha!” I laughed. “You missed!”

Undeterred by her failed pounce, the petite ninja joined me on the bed. She hunched and lowered her lids at me, those smoldering eyes—sometimes green, sometimes gold—a tantalizing drug, enticing me to lower my guard. A rumble rose as that delicate head approached … purring. “Aww,” I reached out, “my little baby.”

That’s when she struck, taking down my arm with her girth, wicked paws, and incisors. I rocked back, hoping to extract the chunk of palm flesh from her mouth, when she relinquished her hold, diving at my feet behind the fallen pillow. Sneaky girl. I’d fallen for her diversion, and once again my toes had become chew toys beneath my irresistible cotton socks.

I screamed and laughed, wrestling the speckled huntress away from my digits. I scooped her up then, my beautiful black kitty, streaked with caramel and cream. Lowering my face to hers, she purred with vigor, stretching her small head upward to give me a cold kiss with her nose. Reaching out with a paw, the tuckered girl spread her toes, allowing me to rub between her squishy pads. Typical Fish. At this point, sometimes she’d fall asleep in my arms, sometimes she’d wriggle away and squat in pod mode on the carpet, the bout of playfulness abated until the next time.

Fish has a clear sense of her place in the family. When we lounge, she doesn’t lay beside me, she lays on me, wielding her eight pounds like royalty, claiming me as her throne. When she bites up the blinds, leaves toys in the bathtub, chews on any and all cables, or baptizes my socks in her water dish, I find it more adorable than annoying. While I have spritzed her with water and given disciplinary pats on the hind quarters, she knows I would forgive her for reducing my home to rubble. I know she loves me, and by its very nature—whether dispensed by man or beast--love is intoxicating. I am powerless when it comes to this tiny creature, my pet.

I’ve never met a cat like Fish. She’s a seductress, hypnotizing visitors with those gem-stone eyes, making them not only fall for her but inquire if I’d sell. [The answer is NO, by the way!] Curiosity hangs heavily on Fish, and she explores the house each day as if she hadn’t just done it the day before. She also manages to get comfortable on every forbidden surface in the house—kitchen counters, the dining room table, my husband’s nice shoes, our desk. This mischief-maker, who has two white whiskers mixed in with the inky others, bombards me with soprano meows during feedings, hoping it’s tuna day. How could I not adore such weirdness? Despite sneak attacks and a serious sock fetish, she brings peace to my home and joy to my heart.

Thanks, Fishy girl. – Love, Mama

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Lynda Schultz 09/20/07
Not so weird—Fish sounds remarkably like my two. Any story about a cat is one I immediately love. Good job.
Joanne Sher 09/20/07
Great descriptions! When I lived in the dorms in college, we had a cat named "Fish" (because we weren't allowed to have cats in the dorms LOL). Seemed, to me, anyway, only tangentially connected to the topic, but a wonderful read nonetheless.
Heather Farrell09/20/07
I have yet to read a more articulate item on the cats, they are a strange yet endearing breed. Well said! ;- )
Janice Cartwright09/21/07
The little temptresses. How they wiggle and stalk their way into our hearts and lodge there! I could read animal stories until doomsday and never wear out, but your Fish story was exceptionally enjoyable.
Marita Vandertogt09/22/07
Loved - loved - loved your descriptions of her antics!! This was almost like a mini video, I could "see" her in each of the situations... I really enjoyed this!
Sherri Ward09/22/07
Delightful! My own Boots was so aggressive in his youthful playfulness that I sometimes had trouble convincing people he was a good cat and he loved me. He's a bit older now and I can honestly say it has been a few years since he has actually drawn blood!
Leigh MacKelvey09/22/07
Your descriptions were wonderful. In fact the story was so well wrtiiten, I was amazed at the words you came up with and the unusual phrases. I'm glad she brings a peace to your home and life!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/22/07
A delightful read for cat lovers! So very realistic and masterfully done - although pretty far=fetched from the topic of calm.
Kristen Hester09/22/07
Growing up we had a cat named "Tuna." He was a character. My daughter has a calico cat.

I'm more a dog person, but you helped me undesrstand cat lovers a little better. Nice writing!
Linda Watson Owen09/22/07
What a delightfully descriptive picture of your 'Fish'! All cat 'pets' who read this will immediately see their 'master's' antics in it! ;-) This is a fun read!
Gregory Kane09/24/07
Excellent, emotive writing. Only problem is that it reinforces every prejudice I have against cats! But then I am very much a dog-lover.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/24/07
I love this cat story, and the cat's name reminds me of another pet our family once had...a bird named catfood! (I know. It's morose. My sons named it.) Anyway, I could feel the pawing and the cuddling and purring as you described it. Excellent writing.
Jan Ackerson 09/29/07
April, I love this entry, and I plan to feature it in the Front Page showcase for the week of October 1. Look for it on the FW home page!
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/02/07
Aww, fun peice. My cat completly adores feet, too. She'd rather be petted with my foot than with my hand. Go figure. :-p
hannah mcclure10/07/07
I loved your article! It was so good! Cats can be so funny. I had a cat like yours once. He was a tiger, and loved to pounce on feet. He'd even chase after walkers and their dogs. One time I can remember him pouncing on someones head from our roof. He died a few years ago, our little tiger. He was a great kitty.