This is a story about a group of cats. The story and feelings are told by them.
"Now what?, said Angie. Don't tell me he brought home more. Aren't the four of us enough? Angie looked at her human with her big green eyes. She had black and white fur, the white fur looking like a virgin snow. Her little sister, Scamper, looked like her, and their faces were identical.
Midnight looked at Angie with her deep yellow eyes. She was wearing a red collar so the humans could distinguish her from her black twin.
"Are you senile?! Midnight said licking her paw. You have a short memory. She rescued you when you were a baby, Pepper and me too." At that time Pepper was on the floor chasing a toy mouse.
Midnight frowned. "For crying out loud, Pepper, you're not a kitten anymore, knock it off!"
Pepper gave her sister a dirty look and walked away.
The human brought two baby kittens in the house. He talked to the female human and said "Look what I found outside!" The woman smiled, but gave him a look like, 'when are you going to stop collecting cats'.
The four cats went over to look at the new arrivals. They were in a basket. One was white with a little black on his head and the other was….well, what on earth was it! They looked at the strange looking kitten. He was black and white, almost like he was wearing a tuxedo, but that’s not what was odd. He was cross-eyed! His tail was enormous for his side. He gave a little sound that was supposed to be a kitten mewing, but where was that weird sound coming from! Angie, Pepper, and Midnight began hissing at him. Then they laughed and walked away. Scamper stayed by the basket and looked at him. He looked back at her and she knew his feelings had been hurt. They were cruel. She took him out of the basket by getting the scruff of his neck, like a Mama cat would. She began bathing him and letting him know that he wasn't alone in the world.
Socks was a very special kitten. He was slow at some things. He had to be taught to use the litter box. Scamper helped with this. She was a mother to him, bathing him, and played with him. Nowhere was it more peaceful than in her arms.
Even though the others still made fun of him, they all knew there was something very, very special about this animal.
The human man found a mama and some kittens outside, hungry and thirsty. He brought them into what is called an Arizona room. This is actually a screened in porch, but much heavier. So there were five cats on the Arizona room, and six in the main house.
Even though the Arizona room had fans and a swamp cooler, in the summer it was still quite hot, so the humans let all the cats in the air-conditioned house. This didn't go over so well. The indoor cats were jealous and very territorial. They didn't understand why their human let all these cats in the house! Eleven cats was way too much!
Angie and Midnight had a conversation about what should be done. Angie looked at Midnight and said,
"This has to stop; the human has gone too far on this one. The nerve of him, letting that outdoor trash in here!
Midnight meowed in agreement. Okay, what was the game plan? Angie and Midnight talked it over. Whenever one of the other cats came in, they would just start a fight!
The air was unbearable outside so the human let all the others in. Midnight and Angie went straight to work. They starting hissing at the other cats, letting them know in uncertain terms, they were not wanted. What they didn't expect was a fight back. While everyone was brawling, Socks decided he'd take a walk. Since the back door was opened, he went outside. This was forbidden territory. To go where the 'others' lived! It simply wasn't done.
Not all of the outdoor cats came in, some actually liked the heat. Socks went up to one of the other cats and began a conversation in his so sweet and simple way.
"Hi, my name is Socks, they're fighting inside. I don't like fighting, it isn't nice. I'm a nice kitten, but they get mad at me all the time. Do you know why?"
The other cat didn't know how to react. Should she attack this intruder? But he seemed so harmless and was only a kitten, albeit a rather strange one. And as to his question, she had no answer. She laid down and ignored him. She was really surprised when he lay down next to her. Nervy little thing!
She looked at him and asked, "Why are you here? You should be inside with your own kind."
He looked back at said, "I don't like fighting, I'd rather be here with you where it's quiet. She realized how special he was and began giving him a bath. For cats, this is called bonding, and means 'I like you'.
Soon Scamper came running out the door and looked at Socks lying with this outdoor cat. She was furious.
"Socks, you shouldn't be out here, and why are you laying next to that cat!"
"Because she's friendly and doesn't hurt me like Angie and Midnight, even Pepper sometimes."
"Yes, but you belong with your own kind!"
"What is my own kind? Indoor cats that tease me, or an outdoor one that is my friend?"
"Socks, you're crossing a line. Indoor cats never go on the porch."
"Then why are you here?"
Scamper looked at her surroundings and realized she had crossed a line too. But someone had to look after Socks. He was like a baby and was so naïve about the ways of the world. He had broken an unwritten rule. How was she going to deal with this? She'd just have to be firm. Just when she was going to scold him, Mr. Muffin, Socks' brother, came on the porch. Being curious, the other three indoor cats came down to see what was going on.
Angie stared, "Oh, it's nothing. It's only Socks being an idiot again."
The cat laying next to Socks got up and hissed at Angie. Angie backed off. She had some nerve hissing at her. But the cat was big and Angie was afraid. Socks got between them.
"Stop! It doesn't matter. We're all cats, have the same human who feeds and takes care of us. If I want, I'll lay out here. You can call me stupid like you usually do, but it's stupid to fight when we're all family!"
After that day, everyone realized, yes they were one family, not indoor cats and outdoor cats, but a family. From then on, if the human left the door open, the cats on the porch would come in and sometimes the others would go out. They got to know each other and though it took a while, became friends. And why? Because a silly looking black and white cross-eyed kitten opened their eyes for the first time.
Mary E. Lacey