Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)
TITLE: Mama Marmalade
By Donna Powers
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Oh… did I forget to mention? We’re cats.
I don’t know what she was chasing, in that meadow. But, from that moment on, I was chasing her.
I’m from the gray Persian clan; all of us are show cats. We are bred to be perfectly Persian: not one hair a shade different than pearly gray. Each ear must be symmetrically pointed and poised; each nose must be appropriately perky. Not one whisker is to be out of place; our eyes must be sapphire blue. Nothing but perfect Persian features –and there can be no acceptable mate for us, but another perfect Persian.
After all, we had a pretty sweet deal: warm beds, specially made cat food, and all the cat toys we want. Once a month, our humans let us run in a fenced-in park. And the cat shows were fun: strolling majestically in front of the crowd, and proudly displaying our winning ribbons above our beds.
So, when I told my family I’d seen the one I want to mate with – and that she’s an orange tiger named Marmalade – you can probably imagine their response.
“Orange? You can’t mate with an orange cat!” hissed Grandfather Cat.
“It’s unthinkable,” admonished Mother Cat. “I won’t have orange and gray grandkittens. I won’t be able to hold my tail up, in polite cat society.”
“Orange?” questioned Sister Cat #17. “Orange cats would never win a show. You're not just some stray; you're a show cat! How could you want to be seen with such a creature?”
I tried to explain: “I love every orange and white hair on her body. I love every whisker on her face, every wink of those amber eyes and every swish of her tail. I know we’re show cats and she isn’t a show cat. But, that’s not as important as finding a mate I can love forever –and she’s the one.”
Mother Cat wasn’t budging. “But… she’s orange. She’s common. I won’t have it.”
But, I didn't listen. I waited until the next time we were taken to the park and searched until I found her. She was as spirited as her orange hair hinted she’d be and her eyes were even more enchanting, up close. I asked if I could follow her home, and she winked beguiling me. She led me to a little brick house that seemed only as large as our humans’ bathroom. Marmalade doesn’t have many cat toys and her scratching post is a tree. She sleeps on a thin blanket in a laundry room and eats store-brand cat food. And, as much as I’d enjoyed chasing mice and birds, I’d never caught or eaten a real one until that day.
It's as if her orange fur has infused her with energy; as if her orange color allwed her to radiate the light of love. Who wouldn't want that?
So, I stayed with Marmalade. Her soft orange fur is as comfortable as the soft bed I gave up, and her amber eyes are always loving and kind. I knew once I’d chosen her my family would want nothing more to do with me. But, it’s been worth it.
And, as for the gray and orange kittens Mama Marmalade will soon be bearing, they’ll be more precious to me than any prize this show cat has ever earned. Living in luxury may have been wonderful, but living in love is much better.
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