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A Short Story by Susan Finlay.

I hate cages. I lived in a cage in the humane society when I was a kitten. My humans know that. I hate riding in cars, too. Cars take cats to places with men who poke them with needles. I’m not sick. Neither is my sister cat, Jade. So, why are they putting us in cages in the backseat of their car? This is wrong. It’s a mistake. I start meowing, and Jade joins in. They’ve never put us in cages before. We pace back and forth in the tight spaces. We stick out our paws and meow as loud as we can. They don’t seem to notice.

Suddenly, I remember all the boxes in our house a few weeks earlier. Our humans normally let us play with boxes—sit inside them, climb around on them, turn them upside down—but they wouldn’t let us play with those. Instead, they took things off shelves and out of cabinets, and put them inside the boxes. Even worse, they brought a giant car home and put the boxes inside it. We never saw that stuff again.

Are we going to disappear, too? Are they taking us back to the humane society?

The car starts moving. Jade and I meow louder. We can’t see anything except the backs of the seats, but we know our human father isn’t in the car with us. Our human mother and human sister, both sitting in the front seats, turn their heads and look back at us. They say something we don’t understand. We meow louder, hoping they can hear us over the strange sounds of the car.

The car keeps going and we keep meowing. It’s the longest time I’ve ever been in a car. Finally, the car stops. I don’t know if we’re back home or at the humane society. Our human mother reaches into the backseat and opens our cage doors. We get out and wait for the car door to open and for them to pick us up. Instead, the car moves.

We jump into the front sister and sit on our human sister’s lap. Jade and I don’t really like each other, but we’ll be quiet and share the comfy spot. It’s better than sitting in a cage.

Finally, we stop again and our mother gets out. We stand on the seats, our front paws at the bottom edge of the windows, and look out as she walks away. A few minutes later, she comes back and to our surprise she’s brought sandwiches with lunchmeat and cheese. Our favorite. They feed us pieces of the meat and cheese. Maybe cars aren’t so bad. We settle down for naps as the car moves.

Along the way, I peek out the window sometimes. Trees and houses and cars go by. I don’t see anything that I recognize. After a while I notice that it’s getting darker. Our humans start talking to us again. I sense that something is going to happen. We slow down and a big door opens. We drive inside, and the car stops. The big door closes. I remember that we have one of those at our house. Yay! We’re home.

They open the car doors and pick us up. They carry us into the house, but it’s not ours. We walk around, sniff, explore. I see those boxes stacked up everywhere. I see some of our furniture. It’s like our house—but it smells different and looks different.

Jade and I check out every inch. We find comfy beds and windows and a sofa. This isn’t like the humane society. This isn’t the place with the man in white. It’s not home, but it’s not bad. We can get used to it—except for one thing. Where’s our human father? We miss him.

A week later I hear the big door open, and then our human father walks in. I rush to him and he picks me up. I purr and purr and purr. We’re home.

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