By Kate, age 13, Year Year 8, Backwell School, Bristol, UK
Hi my name is Smudge and I'm a cat. I'm 12, which is quite old for a cat. I will tell the story of my cat-hood and it is quite long so get yourself comfortable and listen carefully.
I used to live with my mother, which was many years ago. We were a family but I wasn't like any of my brothers and sisters. I had a white nose and white paws but I was light ginger everywhere else. My mother had told us all since we were kittens that humans were always Kind to cats. I found out that she was quite wrong. Anyway my brothers and sisters and myself promised that we would always be nice to them and never ever scratch them.
My mother called us all names and the names we were given were the symbol of the love that she felt for us. I had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. One of my sisters was black and one was white. She called the white one Snowflake and the black one May. She said to Snowflake that when she was hunting that she should be as light and as soft as a Snowflake. May was mothers favorite month, She said to May that she was to be happy and have joy that May brings. My eldest brother was tall and handsome, well as tall as a kitten could be. He had a patch on his right eye and so mother called him Patch. She said that he was to be big and strong and always look out for other cats in trouble or danger. My other brothers went in together. One was all white but with black ears and a black tail. He was to be called Rufus and he was to be a natural hunter.
My other brother was the image of my mother, a tabby. He was going to be called Karl and he was to bring happiness and peace to the world outside and not to kill any living thing. And my other brother who was Grey and white was called Arthur. Arthur was mother's favourite but that was supposed to be a secret. He was to be charming and helpful and find the perfect wife and to settle down and have lots of children. It was my turn to go in and I was really nervous because I didn't look anything like my brothers and sisters. I knew that my mother would question me and I knew that I would be uncomfortable.
Just as I went in to see her, the mistress picked me up by the scruff and put me in a box. I was told that my mother had had a hard time and that I was to leave her alone. I had to stay in this awfully horrid box for the night. I cried and cried but nobody seemed to hear me. My mother and my brothers and sisters were all huddled up and warm. When it was morning I was very eager to find out what my name was. I was cold and sad and I didn't want my mother to think that I couldn't be bothered to find out what my new name was. I jumped up as high as I could and tried to tip the box over but to no avail. I was thinking that I might have to stay in this horrid box forever and thinking that it was a great way to start my life being stuck 9in a box. I thought to myself that I would just have one more try. I jumped higher that I have ever jumped before and pushed myself over.
HOORAY! I'm free. I walked over to my mother as she was eating and asked her what my name was.
"I gave names yesterday," she said.
" I know, but the mistress told me that I had to leave you alone and she put me in a horrid box all night."
"Oh all right." she said and told me to turn around so she could have a good look at me. "Are you sure you are one of my litter?" she asked.
"Yes, quite sure." I told her.
"Right then. You are to be called …SMUDGE."
"Yes only because you are wearing white little boots. You are to behave, to treat everyone the same and you will grow up to be kind and beautiful."
"Thank you mother." I said because the name 'Smudge' was a nice name. I went over to see my brothers and sisters and they told me all their names and what they all meant.
"What's your name?" asked Rufus.
"My name is SMUDGE!" I said confident that my name was the best.
"HAAAAAAAA!" They all laughed at me and joked about my new name. I thought that it was horrible and went and told my mother. Mother said that they didn't mean it and that I should go because she needed some rest. The next day all my brothers and sisters and myself went outside into 'the garden' except from Karl. Who said to mother that he would care for all living things. He stayed inside while we all went and hunted.
Rufus was a professional and caught a vole. The first blood of a cat that is a hunter is one of the great events in a cat's life. My other brothers and me and sisters didn't catch anything but we had a lot of fun playing with leaves and butterflies.
When we went back to the house we could look around. Our mother showed us where the humans eat their dinner and where, when we were older, we had to eat. It was a small room with only two little compartments. One was for our food and the other was for all our toys. My mother made a nuisance of herself so that the mistress would open both doors so that we could see what was in them. The mistress opened the bottom one first and to our delight there were lots and lots of toys in there. There were fishing rods and little balls of string. In the other compartment there was so much food we all started to whine. This little room was brilliant and I think that I will spend most of my time here. There are lots of little baskets in the corner of the room. Mother told us all to choose one. There was one where it had a blanket and a cotton sheet in, The others had jumpers in, and one of them had a sheet in. That one looked cold and uninviting. I tried to get into one of the others but everyone pushed me out.
That night it was cold and I felt very lonely. I couldn't sleep so I tried to snuggle in with Patch and Rufus, but they pushed me out and told me that I was big enough to sleep on my own. I went back to my own basket crying and feeling very sorry for myself when May said that she would come and sleep in my basket, but only for one night while I got settled. She slept with me that night and the next and I felt content and happier.
Living with mother was a lovely experience. She taught us how to catch all different types of animals and we had all had had our first blood. Karl stayed inside but watched eagerly through the window. He hadn't caught anything and didn't want to, I don't think. I didn't know how much I would miss mother if she went away and I was always worried about her. I thought that I would live with my mother forever but I soon realized that was just a dream and that real life was the total opposite.
It was a Saturday night and we were all huddled up by the fire. Snowflake was with my mother and she was sat on the mat. Patch and I were on the other chair in the room. Karl sat on the masters' lap and Arthur was climbing up the master's neck. "God we need to get rid of these kittens, I can't cope any longer. "Can I keep some daddy please?" Said their daughter Eleanor. "Do you really have to?" Said the mistress coming into the room with trays full of stuff that smelt good but was very hot. As I soon realized. "But please mummy they're so lovely." She said sitting up so that the tray wouldn't collapse. "If you have too you may keep one." Said the master who was taking sips out of his bowl. "This soup's lovely dear." "ONE!" she said "Just one?" "Well if you tidy your room every day, then you can have two." "Thank you Mummy." She said finishing her soup. The television was on and everyone was pinned to the screen. "Which one's shall I choose?" she said after a while. "How about the one with the little bootie's?" said the master "No that one's ugly and nasty!" she said spitting on top of Patch. "I'm going to have this one," she said picking up Karl. "Because he doesn't go out and hunt and kill at those birds. And I'm also going to have this one." She said pointing to Snowflake. "Because she's so pretty." "Right then that's settled. Now what are we going to do about the others." Said the mistress. "We have three choices:" said the master 1. "We can drown them. 2. We can sell them off 3. We can dump them at the pet shop." "I think it should be quick and easy. So I vouch for number 3." Said the mistress. "Okay then I think that will be the best option.
The next day we were put into a small box where we were all very squashed. We waved goodbye to our mother, Snowflake and Karl. We then set off with our Mistress in what they call 'the car'. We thought that we were going on a nice and wonderful trip. The car made me and May feel quite sick but Arthur was enjoying the ride. He had somehow got the box top to open and was standing on top of our backs and heads to try and see. It was getting quite dark when we got there. "I quite like it all dark and dismal because no-one can see what I'm doing. She took us out of the car in the box and put us on the doorstep. Everyone was cold and wet, but May was sneezing and vomiting. We thought that she might have cat flu and every one was very worried about her. Patch and I argued all night about what we should do in the morning because we couldn't leave May in the state that she was in. I fell asleep and woke up before everyone else. May looked very pale (well as pale as a cat can be) and Arthur, Rufus and Patch were all huddled in the corner. Suddenly the box opened and we saw a face. It was looking at us thoughtfully. Just then May started sneezing. Rufus was still asleep, Patch was sat in a daze and Arthur was trying to climb the man's hand. The man looked a big and sweaty man. His face was all red and he had something coming out of his huge nose. He wiped it off with his sleeve. We were brought inside the shop where a little bell went 'ping'. "How long have you guys been out there for then?" said the man putting us on a counter. I could see so many things from there. There was this really strangely coloured bird, and some little things that looked like voles. "Meow" said Arthur, and the man nodded. We were put into a small compartment and everyone was hungry, thirsty and all missed our mother. "It will be alright guys. Someone will come and take us all home.
"I have found five cats on my doorstep this morning and I think they are all boys apart from one. They are quite poorly and I can't keep them all in my shop." Said the scary man and this thing that had a wire coming from it.
"Alright then, I will see you soon." He said placing down the weird shape thing that he put against his ear.
We were in the middle of lunch and the door went 'ping' again. I had worked out by this time that the door went 'ping' because someone was opening it. Anyway this man came in and he was wearing a blue and yellow suit. "Has yea got the cats that are poorly?" He asked taking an examination of the funny coloured bird. "Yes you must be the vet. They are over hear." Said the man heading the blue and yellow suit man towards us.
We were put into two boxes. One Patch and May went into and the other Rufus, Arthur and myself went into. It was really cramped in there and Arthur cried all the way, Rufus fell asleep, and I felt sick. When we finally got there we were put into another compartment. This one was nicer and we had more space. We were given some treats and a bowl of water. May was the first one to be examined and when she got back she said that it hurt a little but it was all right. She also said to avoid the red spiky hairdo man in the green overall. The man in the green overall came out and he had a red spiky hairdo. We all tried to hide behind May but luckily I was at the back and Patch was taken into the other room. He made such a fuss and I was quite surprised. I thought that Rufus and Arthur would have made that amount of noise, but not my big brother. Anyway he came back and said, "It hurt loads!" "You wimp it didn't hurt that much." Said May washing herself. "Yeah well I bet you didn't have what I had done." He said indignantly. "Well I bet I did." Said May who had stopped washing herself now and was glaring at Patch. "Look hear he comes." I said as the man came back into the room. "Well you are a wimp." Said May "Look I bet the next person who goes in there won't come out and moan like you did, well apart from Rufus because that doesn't count." "Yes it does." Said Patch just about to pounce on May but she beat him to it. The man came out and took Arthur in. Arthur thought this was the most amount of fun that a cat should have and it was all an adventure to him. He came out and said to us, "May was right everyone, it didn't hurt." "See," said May "It didn't hurt." "Well it hurt me." Said Patch "And I don't want to talk about it any more." "Fine then but your still a wimp." Said May "Does anyone want to hear what I have got to say?" said Arthur. "I do." I said. "Well it didn't hurt it just felt like you were pricked by a needle or something." "You were pricked by a needle, dummy." Said Patch
The man came back again and took me in this time. I was quite patient and took May's word that it didn't hurt. "It doesn't look like any of his brother's and sisters. Does it?" said the man with red hair. "HE doesn't look like any of his brothers and sisters, and no HE doesn't." said the woman who looked quite like an elephant. She had a huge nose and I think she was quite big herself, but that's from memory. "Sorry shall we do a skin test to see if HE's one of the litter?" said the man turning me onto my back. He put this sharp bit of metal to my tummy and scrapped. It really did hurt I started to cry. Tears were pouring down my fur but the woman just said that it wouldn't be much longer now. I also had to have the needle thing and it didn't hurt that much. I came out and asked them if they all had to have a skin test. They all said that they didn't. Rufus went in and said that he had to have a skin test as well and they all blamed me for not looking like them. Rufus came out and he couldn't control himself, he was in a right mess and tears were streaming down his fur. When we got back to the shop the man greeted us. Everyone was glad to see a friendly face. But there was something about him that made me feel that I was in danger. We were all put back into our compartments and everyone fell asleep.
Leaving the Shop
When we woke up with a shake by the man. We had a bowl of water and a bowl of cat food. The cat food was awful and I was missing mother. There was a sign up outside our compartment. Patch and myself were the only ones who could read. We worked out after a long time of trying that it said:
KITTENS FOR SALE £10
A lot of people came in and stared at the sign and then stared at us. They either went back out or they asked the man if he could reduce his price to at least five pounds. But the pet shop man was keeping us at the same price. There were lots of people who smelt nice and most probably had nice homes. But the pet shop man wouldn't let them have us. May and I were getting along great. After a few weeks of being in the pet shop the man decided he would move us to somewhere different. He put us beside the window so that people in the street could see us. He reduced our prices to seven pound fifty.
A really nice woman came in one day and she smelt really nice.
"I would like two cats please." She said to the pet shop owner.
"Alright Madame which one's would you like?" he said
"I would like that black and white one, please and I would like the ginger and white one." She said taking out her purse. "They look as though they get along well." She said giving the man the money for both of us.
We saw in her basket lots and lots of toys. It reminded me of home. I realized that my mother wouldn't come for us and that we weren't going to go home although I didn't tell anyone
. "I will come and pick them up tomorrow." She said leaving the shop. Tomorrow went and so did the next day and the next and so on. I think it was about a week when she came back. We were delighted to see her because by that time I had had enough of the pet shop and wanted to go home.
"Hi there, I bought some cats a few weeks ago and I have come to collect them." She said.
"O.K. Then would you like to choose the ones and then I'll give you a box to put them in." he said
"I have a problem, I can't remember which ones that I chose." She said studying us.
"You can't remember which ones you chose?" he said laughing. "I'll tell you what I'll sell you the parrot for an extra five quid." He said cracking up.
"Fine then stuff your cats I want my money back." She said going blood red.
"I'm not going to give you your money back and I don't care whether you take the cats or not." He said
"Give me my money," she said trying to catch hold of the man's sleeve.
"Fine take the money and have the cats too."
He came over to us and I cowered in the corner. He picked me up first and gave me to the lady. "The ones you don't take I will drown." he said still laughing. Another woman came into the shop and took Patch, Rufus and Arthur from the man's hand. "I am from the R.S.P.C.A and I will take you to court for the mistreatment of animals." May and I were safely tucked up in the woman's basket. We were crying goodbye to the others and we left the shop. When we got to the lady's house we couldn't see the outside because it was so very dark but May was happy. "Aren't you glad I came and rescued you?" she said to us in a baby voice. "I'm going to call you Sarah." She said pointing to May. May was trying to tell her that her name was May and that she didn't particularly like the name Sarah. "Good, I am glad you like your name," she said. "I'm going to call you Bootie because you have little boots on." I tried to tell her that my name was Smudge and Bootie was not a nice name. "Good now then lets get in the house." She said using some funny looking thing that went in a hole to unlock the door.
The old woman
When we got into the house I thought it was quite small but homely. May started crying. "What's wrong, I thought you were happy getting out of the shop." I said putting a paw around hers. "I am it's just I miss mother and Rufus and everyone." She said drying her eyes. "It's O.K they will be as happy as we are." I said look. I jumped out of the basket and ran into a room. May was on my tail and we play fighted for a while. The woman stood at the door and laughed at us. She got this thing out of her coat pocket. She clicked a button and FLASH it shocked May as well as me and we jumped back. "It's alright she said it's only a camera." She said.
That night May slept on her bed and she told me I had to sleep on the floor. In the end May came down and slept with me because I was getting lonely. When I woke up May was back on the bed again. I thought that it might be a nice chance for me to sleep on the bed too seen as the lady was fast asleep. I jumped up and May swiped me with her paw and told me that this was her special place and she didn't want me crowding it.
We spent a good few years with the old lady, but May and we were falling out all the time. We were having arguments and falling out all the time. One day I was reading the paper and there was a title that caught my notice:
CAT SAVED £1,000,000 FROM ARTHUR'S BANK. Cat saved £1,000,000 today as he scratched a burglar and hit the panic button with his paw. Extraordinary cat had been given a loving home by the manager of Arthur's bank and he had been given his reward of £500 which the manager Ben Burley has spent on the cat with toys and treats.
Underneath there was a picture of a face that I had already seen before. It was Arthur! I had always thought that Arthur would do something like this. I was very proud to have my brother saving a bank. I called May but didn't hear her reply. I went outside and called out to her. I looked in May's little hiding spot and she was in there with a tomcat. I felt so ashamed and said that I was truly sorry but May scratched me and said: "You are a selfish cat who only thinks of himself, You don't care about other people's feelings and you should knock before I entered my special place and any other place for that matter." I walked away tail down between my legs and I went and sat on the sofa. But May was always nice to me and I felt so ashamed.
A few months later May told me that she wanted to tell me something. I was having a drink out of the bathroom so I sat still for a moment to listen to her. "You know the tom that I have been going out with for a while now?" "Yes I remember." I answered "Well, well………………..Well I'm having my own litter." She said looking at her paws. "You mean you're pregnant?" I said looking at her. She had been getting bigger over the past few months but I never came to the conclusion that she would be pregnant. "Yes." She said giving me a hug. Wow I thought she would have kittens and I would be an uncle and Tom would be the father.
Life and Death
Soon May was getting hugely big and Alice had brought her a new basket for her kittens. May had been to the vet for a check up and she was to have the kittens this time next week. On the 2nd of April May was in her new room, that Alice made for her with all the things that anew mother needs, After about two hours of tension and worry I heard a kitten cry and May's cries of relief. I went into her room and there beside May were these little balls of fluff I think she had three of four of them altogether. "Please go and get Tom," she said. I went off to find the dad of all the kittens. I went over the fence and saw him sun bathing. "May has just had her kittens!" he shouted. "What really?" He said getting up. "Yes and she wants you to see them." I said and he jumped up onto the wall and went calling behind him, "Looser." He said.
After that May had had her kittens and the old lady was so proud of her everyone began to ignore me. I used to pee on the carpet so that someone would come and notice me. May called her children who were two boys and two girls April, June, Sam and Ben. They grew up very fast and by this time I was 7. I was getting old and didn't want to play anymore and I couldn't be bothered at what went on around me I just felt very sorry for myself.
One winter's day though everything changed. The old woman was getting weak and couldn't breathe very well. I went into her bedroom like I always did in the mornings and woke up May, Tom and the kids. The old woman was asleep but she wasn't snoring like she usually does. Alice like usual jumped about and fell off the bed. But the old woman still didn't wake up when Sam jumped on top of her which made her squeal. I jumped on the bed and started to wash her face, which was cold and she wasn't breathing. I told May to get the children out of the room and Tom and myself went and tried to wake her. She didn't wake and he said that she was dead.
"NOOO!!" I shouted, "She can't be dead."
"She is dead and you killed her." Said top scratching me.
"How could I of killed her?" I asked as he pounced on me and pinned me down on the bed.
"You killed her because you were jealous and selfish, you just wanted attention so you peed everywhere and made her clean it up."
He said scratching me again and pulling at my ear. "It's all your fault and get out of here I don't want my wife and children in a home with a murderer." He said pushing me onto the floor. Once I was out of the house in floods of tears I realized just what I had done. I'd killed the only good owner that I had ever met and made my sister hate me. I noticed that my ear was bleeding and it was running in my ear, but I didn't care. I didn't know where else to go and I felt lost and lonely. I couldn't go back to the pet shop because the man was so mean. I couldn't go back home because my mother would be ashamed of me. I was coming up to eight and had no family, no friends, no children, no girlfriend, no mother, no home and my brothers and sisters hated me. In fact I think I even hated myself.
I walked for days after days after days. Each night I slept in a bush or anywhere that had a bit of shade. I started hurting inside and knowing there would be no way out of this. I couldn't sleep, every night I lay awake watching the stars of watching the currents of rain. I caught a vole every week and I ate grass the rest of the time. It was coming up to summer and the rain had started to budge. I slept in the day and walked at night and then I slept at night and walked in the day. One day I saw a lorry stop in front of me and I thought that I could do with a rest. The back door was open so I jumped in. There were lots of blankets in there and snuggled down on one of them. I slept three days solid. When I woke up I realized that it was nighttime. There were lots of stars in the sky and the lorry had stopped. I realized that I had seen this place before and it looked quite familiar. I got up and made sure I was clean. I had dreams or even nightmares every night that I had fallen asleep and was dreaming about May and her children; they would be over a year old now. I started feeling sorry for myself again and settled down on the hay. After a while I decided that I couldn't stay in the van for the rest of my life and jumped out. The road was wet and dreary. There were little lines in the middle of the road and so I followed them, hoping to end up somewhere nice and comfortable. I felt quite poorly and sick. I noticed that I was getting thinner and my hearing wasn't any good.
I suddenly saw a flash of light and I was stuck to the floor. This thing was coming closer to me and the lights were getting brighter. I went right over the top or my head and caught my tail under one of its wheels. It was so painful and I cried and fainted with the pain.
When I woke up I was staring into someone's face. It was a woman's and she was wearing these funny kinds of glasses so I couldn't see her eyes. She smelt a bit weird and I could smell a faint scent of a dog. She was wearing a huge jumper and some jeans. I struggled to get up but it was too painful. My leg had been hurt as well. The woman picked me up into her arms and put me in the back of her car. She took me to the same vets as I went before. This time the man's hair was Grey and he was quite fat. You can never forget the smell of someone that you have already met. "Is he your cat?" He asked examining me "No I saw him on the road side so I thought that I should bring him to you because I know that you stay open all night." She said looking at me concerned. "He is extremely thin and has broken his leg and tail." He said placing me back down on the table. "Will he be alright though?" She asked patting me on the head. "Well we will have to do an operation to see if we can mend his tail and leg. But lets hope he will be O.K." He said walking out of the room. I was sat on the table for a while when a woman came in accompanied by the man. This time they were wearing green and the man asked the woman who picked me up from the road to leave. They then suddenly without and warning put this mask over my nose and mouth and I couldn't breathe. I was struggling and trying to breathe. I suddenly felt very tired and fell into a deep sleep.
When I woke up I was back in the same room but I was missing a tail and an ear. I felt huge rushes of pain go up my spine and down to my tail and I cried in agony, and the woman said that it would be alright and that the pain killers would 'kick in' soon. I was scared, frightened and lonely. I desperately wanted to be curled up in the warm and with my mother.
I spent a couple of months, well it felt like months in the hospital place. It smelt awful but I was getting used to it. I had made a friend who had been through the same time as me but he actually had a home. Every evening when it was dark I would look out the bars of my cage and hope that my mother would come and rescue me in the morning. I didn't work. So I then wished that I was going to find a home but that didn't work either. The nurses came and saw me every day and I once had a television man come up close to the bars and take pictures of me and film me. I cried and cried but no-one seemed to hear my pleas for help.
One cold morning, when the frost was gathered out on the path and the sun was rising in a red balloon over the hills, the lady came who I had seen before. I think now that she was the one who picked me up from the roadside. Anyway, She came with a little box quite similar to the one I was put in many years ago.
Copyright 2000 Kids on the Net and the author
Kids on the Net Editor: Helen Whitehead at this address
Comments to Kids on the Net