Walter was born a wild cat. His mother lived in a barn on a farm owned by two sisters. Her latest litter came in September, and had only one kitten. This was late for outdoor cats who roamed the countryside. A late kitten suffered the most from the chilled air, and often did not make it through the winter.
One day, when the sisters were outside, they saw Walter wandering outside of the barn. Martha picked him up and cuddled him. She commented to her sister Cheryl how warm and fuzzy he was. Raising him to face-level, she took a look into his deep blue eyes and smiled. What a beautiful kitten! He had soft, gray, tabby fur with four white feet and a white belly.
As Martha examined him further, she noticed his left eye had mucus starting to glue it shut. This indicated that an infection was starting in the eye. She told Cheryl. They took him inside to put some ointment into it.
Walter really wasn’t afraid of the two sisters. They were kind and good to him. As Martha worked on him, he purred and played with her fingers.
Cheryl commented on the weather beginning to cool. With a nod, Martha agreed. This gave them two good reasons for Walter to live in the house. It would make it easier to doctor his eye. And, he would have a better chance of surviving the winter.
The sisters had a snow white cat named, appropriately, Snowflake. She was adopted from an animal shelter. While living in the house with the sisters for the past year, she had been an only cat. She had all of the attention, but no cats to play with.
Martha placed Walter on the living room floor near the bright white cat. He began batting at imaginary bugs. Snowflake was not sure what to think of him, but still eyed him with curiosity. Soon, he walked over to her and slapped at her tail. It was not long before they were chasing each other, and their friendship was sealed.
Walter’s eye infection cleared up in time. He stayed a part of the household, though. Wherever Snowflake went, he followed. Things were good.
By the age of one, Walter was a majestic Maine Coon cat. His tabby fur had become long and silky. The white of his belly and feet was very striking. What a handsome cat he had become! When friends came by, they often commented that they couldn’t believe he was once a wild cat whose mother looked nothing like him, for she was small and dowdy.
Walter’s days were filled with food, play, and sleep. He was very content. The sisters enjoyed his company, too. He often slept beside them while they watched TV.
One evening, they were watching Animal Planet. The program was about meerkats. Walter heard funny noises like squeaks and chatters coming from the TV. He pried open one eye and looked at the TV screen. Suddenly, a whole new world opened up for him.
He jumped down from his lounge chair and sat as close as he could to the TV. The meerkats looked huge. Walter watched every movement with fascination. Sometimes he jumped when they came right up to him.
When the program was over, he hopped up beside Martha and curled into a ball. Soon, Walter was dreaming about the “giant gophers” (meerkats) from the TV. In his dream, he heard ripping and tearing noises below his chair. When he rose up and looked over the edge, he saw large holes in the living room carpet. Dirt was flying through them, too! Mounds were starting to form. It must be those darn gophers, was his first thought.
He knew this was an invasion. Walter had to stop it before the sisters came home from doing their shopping! Out of the hole to his left, he saw a gopher head peek out. Walter jumped from his warm observation post on the chair. The chase was on. He soon realized they were much bigger and faster than he.
How could he stop those pesky critters from destroying the sisters’ house? Walter jumped into the window near the garden. The gophers were there, too. They were making such a mess. He noticed there were no holes in the garlic patch. Didn’t they like garlic?
Walter decided to experiment. He jumped down, and went into the kitchen where they kept the garlic. Placing a garlic head in his mouth, he carried it into the living room, slapped some cloves off of it, and kicked them into the nearest hole. He waited.
It was not long before he heard gagging noises. Apparently, the gopher had bitten into one of the garlic cloves. Walter didn’t blame him. He didn’t much like the taste either. However, he had a job to do. He started kicking cloves in every hole.
Soon the supply of garlic cloves ran out. What was he going to do? Walter decided to sneak out to the garlic patch. He chose one of the gopher holes that didn’t have any garlic in it yet, and jumped through the hole in the carpet. Softly he landed in a dirt tunnel.
For a few minutes, he listened to make sure that the hole was not occupied by a gopher. As Walter listened, he started planning his next steps to the garden gate. He didn’t like destroying the garlic, but needed a lot of cloves to go around.
Walter crawled on his belly for what seemed like ages. His ears told him that none of the invaders knew he was down there. Finally, he could see the sky above. Rising up on his hind quarters, he peered over the edge of the hole. There were a couple of critters to his right. He ducked down, and waited for them to move further away.
The sounds they made receded into the distance. Walter waited a little bit longer. Then, he rose up again, and saw the coast was clear. He made a mad dash for the garden. There was a gap under the gate, and he dove through. Using his nose, he found the garlic patch.
How was he going to carry all of those garlic heads? One at a time would take forever. He looked around and saw a giant pumpkin leaf. Running over, he bit the stem in two. He dragged it over. Then, Walter proceeded to dig for the heads he needed.
When he had enough, Walter grabbed the stem of the pumpkin leaf in his mouth, and began to pull it towards the garden gate. This took awhile because he had to walk backwards blindly. At the gate, he took a breather, and looked around. The gophers had discovered the carrots at the far end of the garden. He could see them wreaking havoc down there.
Walter was rested now, and knew this was the best time to head for the house. Grabbing the leaf, he slowly pulled it under the gate. Only one of the garlic heads was knocked off. Quickly, he retrieved it.
Making the best time he could, Walter guided the leaf to the gopher hole. This was the tricky part. He unloaded the heads, and took the leaf into the hole. If he were careful, Walter could pull all the heads through the tunnel in one trip. He grabbed each head in his mouth and placed it on the leaf again. Slowly, ever so slowly, he did the reverse of his trip. Finally, he got to the hole in the carpet.
Walter rose up to make sure that the coast was clear. Luck was on his side. Grabbing the first head in his mouth, he leapt through the floor. These garlic heads had not cured yet, so separating the cloves took a few more swipes. Repeating over and over again he threw several cloves down every hole he found.
By this time, he was very, very tired. Walter got results, though. There was lots of coughing and gagging going on. He was pleased.
Eventually, Walter could hear scratching noises going away from him. Back into the window he leapt. He saw the giant gophers on the outside of the house. They ran past the garden, and headed into the hills. Occasionally, they stopped to rub their mouths in the grass to get the garlic smell off of them. Walter grinned, as only a cat can.
He turned and saw all of the holes in the floor. How was he going to fix that? As he was pondering this, the sisters drove up in the yard. Walter began to panic, and paced the windowsill.
Cheryl stuck the key in the lock. The sound made him jump. Walter crouched down because he knew he was about to get yelled at.
As the door was opening, Martha gently shook him awake. Opening his eyes, he saw her smile at him, and say something in human. She gave him a rub. Then, Martha turned the TV off. The two sisters put away their knitting, and headed for the stairs to go to bed.
Walter sat up. He looked over the edge of the chair. He was puzzled for a moment. There was nothing wrong with the carpet. The holes were gone! Whew! That was such a relief.
Then, he realized what had happened. It was all a dream, or a tiny nightmare, more like. Walter stretched, and decided to go upstairs to bed, too.
Stay tuned to the continuing saga of Walter Kitty. What will he dream about next?
2011 © Dawn L. Huffaker
All rights reserved.