OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A short story by Susan Finlay.

My human mother holds me on her lap and strokes my back, but I can’t purr. She whispers “Poor little girl.” She’s been feeding me water and baby food directly into my mouth because I can’t eat on my own. I know she’s trying to help me. I’m so tired. It’s dark outside. We’re sitting on the sofa, and my human sister is next to us. They take turns holding me and I see pity in their eyes. I close my eyes and try to sleep. I love them, but I don’t want to wake up.

In the morning, Mother picks me up. She carries me out to the car and sets me on my sister’s lap. My human brother is there, too. The car groans and then begins to purr. We’re moving. I try to meow because I don’t like riding in cars. I open my mouth, but no sound comes out.

We go into an office and a man in white pokes and prods at me. He pulls my skin at the back of my neck. I want to hiss, but my throat is too dry. He talks to my humans. Mother cries. The man leaves the room and Mother talks into a telephone. When the man returns, she tells him that my father is coming.

We go into a room with a sofa. Later, my human father and the man in white come in. They talk. I hear my name—Coco. Mother is crying again. I want to tell her it’s all right. I want to go to sleep. I’m too tired to go on.

A few minutes later, a woman picks me up and carries me into a room full of cages. Dogs bark and cats meow. She puts me on a table and the man in white comes in and sticks me with something sharp.

I wake up. I’m in a cage. A dog barks, people talk. I slowly start to feel better. I eat, I drink. But I’m sad. My humans have abandoned me. I meow.

Finally, the woman opens my cage door. She picks me up and carries me into a room. I hear a familiar voice. My human mother smiles and reaches out. I’m in her arms and she’s stroking my back. I purr.

The man in white comes in and gives her a clear bag with one of my cat ballies in it. That’s what my humans call my fuzzy toy balls that I bat around the house. Now I remember. I was playing with my new ball and lying on my back. I tossed it up, and caught it in my mouth. Before I could stop it, the ball slid down my throat.

I’m on my sister’s lap in the car, and I’m wearing a silly blue thing around my neck. She strokes me and speaks to me. I don’t know what she’s saying; it doesn’t matter. I purr all the way home.

Advertisements