Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: CAT (11/08/18)
TITLE: When the Thief Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree
By L. Osmon
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My aunt and my son are more alike than I realized. They both love cats and have blurred the lines a bit in how they have acquired them. By the time I realized they shared this gene it was too late to change the outcome or the family tree, so I will just have to settle with telling you their “tail” …
One day my Aunt Ce-ce asked how we had come to have Jazz, our gray-haired tabby. I told her it had started off innocently enough. Keith was hired to pet sit our neighbor’s cat while they went on vacation. His job was to feed and water the kitty once a day, along with leaving the garage door cracked open a bit. Since it was summertime, he walked over several times a day to check on the kitty. Eventually, he convinced us it would be easier if we left our garage door cracked open too. That way, he explained, we would see him more often. When the two weeks were about up, the owner called to ask if we could watch her for the rest of the summer. Keith was thrilled and by then Jazz was in the habit of waiting for him on our porch every morning.
Keith and Jazz were inseparable. I picked up on this clue the first night I found her cuddled up next to him on his bed. He confessed that he had cut a little kitty door in his window screen, so she could “come in from the cold,” (remember it was summer.) We then discussed the deeper meaning of the Bible verse “Thou shalt not steal” and assured him it did apply to cats. Then I pointed out that Jazz already belonged to a family who loved her, and I escorted Her Highness back to her castle. It happened a few more times, but eventually the neighbors returned and we resumed our cat-free lives, or so I thought.
Then came the day we saw a “for sale” sign planted in the cat owner’s yard. Keith burst into tears and confessed he had been sneaking Jazz into his room for the last couple months. That night the neighbor asked me to come over. She told me they had noticed Keith’s “attachment” to their cat and how surprised they were since Jazz had never shown a fondness for anyone in their family. I quickly apologized for my son’s behavior, babbling on about how I would do everything to make sure he did not continue on his path of crime. She assured me they were not upset and were actually wondering if he would like Jazz as a Christmas present. Ten days later, they donned Jazz with a big red bow and presented her to Keith. He still says that was the best gift he ever received.
When I finished telling Ce-ce she had a funny look on her face and said, “I got my first cat from my neighbor too! It was one of those Persian cats, all fluffy and white. I thought he was beautiful, so I brought him into our house. I think we had Mr. Kitty-cat for a few months before he got out again. The next time I saw him he was wearing a new collar with a bell attached. I guess the owners wanted everyone to know he had a family.”
“Ce-ce, are you kidding me?”
“No, but we figured out a way to get him back. One night I peeked over the wall and saw the Mr. Kitty-cat in his backyard, so I asked Uncle Johnny to go over and get him. When he handed me the kitty, I was so happy I started walking into the house. Then I heard Johnny whisper-shouting, ‘Help me get back over!’ Eventually, we all made it back inside. I don’t think they ever realized it was us because by the next day we were on our way.”
“On your way where?” I was afraid of the answer.
“To our new home up the coast. We had everything all packed up. Mr. Kitty-cat was such a great little traveler too. Honey, don’t worry too much about how Keith got his cat. He didn’t really steal her. If anything, it’s Jazz’s fault. She stole his heart - they do that you know!”
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