12

Ranger Bob

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Mama Raccoon called the family to dinner. The four kits raced to the table. After everyone had settled down, she brought out the food and the dipping bowls.

Mama: How was your day?

Sally: Great! After school, we went to the park to play ball and run around.

John: It was great until this huge old bear started yelling at us.

Papa: What huge bear?

John: I don’t know. I ran away when he started coming toward us.

Mama: Why was he yelling? Was he growling too? Do you think he was trying to eat you? I knew I shouldn’t let you go there by yourselves.

Anna: Calm down, Mama. John’s just being a scaredy-cat.

John: I’m not a cat! I’m a raccoon!

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Anna: I just meant that you didn’t need to run. He wasn’t coming after us. He didn’t want Jimmy to jump into the river.

Papa: Why were you going to jump into the river?

Jimmy: I was hot.

Papa: What was the bear saying?

Jimmy: He said that it wasn’t safe to swim by myself because an adult needed to be close in case I got a cramp or something. Besides, the river has a current.

Anna: The bear was afraid that since we’re so small, he might not be strong enough to swim against the current if we needed to.

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Papa: Wait a minute. What does this bear look like?

Anna: He was tall with glossy black fur. And tan all around his muzzle

Papa looked at Mama, and they both started to laugh.

Sally: What’s so funny?

Mama: John, you don’t have to worry. That’s Ranger Bob.

John: Who’s Ranger Bob?

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Mama: Ranger Bob has been keeping the children of the forest safe for years.

Sally: Why does he do that?

Papa: Years ago, there was a big fire. A lot of the children got separated from their parents. They were frightened because they didn’t understand what was happening.

Mama: Ranger Bob gathered them together and made sure they were safe. Then he explained the fire and how dangerous it was. He also told them how to tell when a fire was approaching and what to do.

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Anna: That’s a great idea. And it was so nice of him.

Mama: He was a hero to all those parents and children. He loved being around the children. He made sure nothing happened to them.

Papa: The children loved him too. He’s been protecting us for years. I’m surprised he hasn’t been to your school.

Jimmy: Some of the other kids talk about Ranger Bob, but I didn’t know who he was.

John: He’s still a little scary. He’s so big. And he yelled at us.

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Anna: He yelled because Jimmy was going to do something stupid, and he wanted to make sure he got our attention.

Jimmy: Hey! It wasn’t stupid. I was hot.

Anna: OK. You were going to do something unsafe. It’s the same thing.

Jimmy looked offended.

Sally: I’ve got an idea. Let’s invite Ranger Bob to dinner to thank him for stopping Jimmy from doing something stupid.

Jimmy: It wasn’t stupid!

Sally: Whatever.

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Mama: That’s an excellent idea. After school tomorrow, you kits can ask him when he’s available.

The kits really didn’t know where he lived. They started at the park. No luck.

They decided to get up their courage and go into the woods to find the bears.

John: I am not going into the woods. It’s too scary.

Jimmy: Fine. Stay here.

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John: By myself?

Jimmy: Yes. By yourself.

John didn’t like that idea either. He looked at Anna.

John: Anna? Will you hold my hand?

Anna: Of course.

The raccoons went into the woods. They ran across several bears. But they all seemed so big that the kits hid. Finally, a cub came along.

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Jimmy: Hey, can we talk to you?

Cub (surprised): We don’t get many raccoons in this part of the woods now that you guys are semi-domesticated.

John: That’s because you guys are so scary.

Cub: We’re not scary. We’re just big. We wouldn’t hurt you.

Anna: We’re looking for Ranger Bob.

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Cub: Good luck. He left this morning. He seemed pretty upset.

Anna: Where did he go?

Cub: He wouldn’t tell any of us.

The kits thanked him and left. They were disappointed. How would they find him now?

Sally: We need to go home and think about this. Maybe Mama and Papa know where he might go.

The kits went home to talk to their parents.

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Next week: Why did Ranger Bob go, and why did he leave?

Pictures courtesy of Google

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19

The Kittens’ Woodland Adventure – Conclusion

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Our story so far: Timmy and Tommy had gone on a trip to the woods with their Kitten Scout troop. They became separated from the troop and it began to rain. They decided to wait out the rain in the woods. They were awakened by a pup who wanted to play. When the pup’s mother came to get him, they discovered they had been playing with a baby wolf. To read the entire story, go here.

Mama Wolf: Stevie! I was wondering what happened to you. You shouldn’t run away like that. (Sees the kittens.) Oh! You were hunting! Good wolfie!

(Timmy and Tommy look at each other, terrified.)

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Stevie: Mama! I wasn’t hunting. These are my friends, Timmy and Tommy. They were staying here until the rain ended. We’ve been playing.

Mama Wolf: Sweetie, you’re a wolf. You don’t play with kittens. They’re prey.

Stevie: Not these ones. They’re my friends.

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Mama Wolf: Honey, they can’t be your friends. They’re kittens.

Stevie (starting to cry): Mama! I can’t eat them. I asked them to play. We’ve been having a lot of fun.

Mama Wolf didn’t know what to do. The kittens looked tasty. But Stevie had made friends with them. It didn’t seem right to eat his friends. And they were pretty cute.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Moggie had called Timmy and Tommy’s mother. She was frantic with worry. She wanted to go into the woods to look for her babies. It was almost night, and they wouldn’t know what to do by themselves.

Mr. Moggie reminded her that she didn’t have any idea where her kittens were and that she wouldn’t be safe wandering around alone either. She began to hiss at him, reminding him that she had trusted him with her kittens and now they were lost.

She sat at the edge of the woods and refused to move. Mr. Moggie sat next to her. It seemed the least he could do.

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Finally Mama Wolf decided that it was more important that Stevie keep his word to his friends than to teach him about appropriate friends.

Mama Wolf: All right, Stevie. We’ll take care of your friends tonight. We can’t go out of the woods at night because someone might shoot us. And it’s not safe to send them out by themselves.

Stevie: Thank you, Mama. I swear I’ll only play with wolves from now on.

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(Stevie went over to the kittens, who had been too terrified to move.)

Stevie: Did you hear that guys? Mama’s going to keep you safe tonight. And we’ll get you home tomorrow.

Timmy (nervously): That’s great, Stevie. Are you sure she won’t eat us?

Stevie: Don’t worry. Wolves are very loyal. If we say we won’t eat you, we won’t.

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Mama Wolf found a concealed place to lie down. She hoped none of the other wolves had seen her. Stevie and the kittens curled up in her tail and were soon fast asleep.

In the morning, Mama Wolf took the kittens to the edge of the woods closest to their home. She stayed back in the shadows.

Mama Wolf: OK, here we are. Please don’t tell anyone about what happened last night. Kittens aren’t safe in the woods.

Timmy and Tommy nodded. They thanked her and Stevie for protecting them. The wolves ran back into the forest, and the kittens ran out of it.

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Mama Cat ran over to Timmy and Tommy. She sniffed them to make sure they were OK. Aside from a strange scent, everything seemed fine.

Mama Cat: My babies! Are you all right? How did you manage in the woods by yourselves all night? I was so worried.

Timmy: We’re fine, Mama. We found a nice safe spot to spend the night. We didn’t wake up until the sun came out.

Mama Cat: You both need a bath. You smell like some kind of wild animal.

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Tommy (looking at Timmy): Well, it was a really good spot. A lot of other animals probably slept there too.

Mama Cat: I’m just glad you’re back home and safe. And next time, I’m going to be one of the mothers on the trip.

The kittens looked at each other and groaned.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

12

 The Kittens’ Woodland Experience

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Brothers Timmy and Tommy were very excited. Their Kitten Scout troop was taking a trip to the woods nearby. They had never been there and were hoping to see bears and wolves and all kinds of wild animals. Their mother tried to explain that they might see raccoons or squirrels, but that their leader would keep them away from anything dangerous.

They were up at dawn on the day of the trip. Oh no! It was raining. A lot. They were afraid the trip was canceled. Sure enough, their mother got a call from the scout master. But the trip wasn’t canceled; it was postponed until the afternoon when the weather was going to be better.

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There were ten kittens on the trip as well as the leader and two mothers. Each mother was responsible for five kittens. Timmy and Tommy were really glad that their mother hadn’t called in time to be one of the chaperones. She would have spent the whole time watching them. It would have been too embarrassing.

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The leader’s name was Mr. Moggie. He was a nice cat, but very easily confused. The kittens liked him because he usually let them do whatever they wanted while he was trying to get organized. Luckily, he was required to bring extra adults along on a trip like this.

When they got to the woods, Mr. Moggie told them to practice their “quiet walking” so the other animals wouldn’t be afraid of them. Being cats, walking quietly should have been natural; as kittens, it was impossible. He didn’t have much luck stopping their chatter either.

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Finally Mr. Moggie decided that he would teach the kittens about the different kinds of scents they could find in the forest. That sounded like fun to the kittens. They gathered around a tree and sniffed. The kittens guessed that it was a dog. Mr. Moggie told them that the scent belonged to a fox.

Next he took them to a pile of droppings. The kittens thought it was disgusting to have to go near it and sniff. They decided that it was some kind of big cat. It was a raccoon. As they went on, the kittens got better at identifying squirrels, rabbits, and woodchucks.

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But after a while they were bored. Mr. Moggie wasn’t sure what to do next. He had planned to show them how to fish in the creek and how to find shelter, but couldn’t decide. He wanted to talk to the mothers about it.

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He told the kittens to play close by while they discussed what would happen next. The kittens ran and chased each other around. Timmy was chasing Tommy when they realized that they had run away from the rest of the group. They headed back when it started to rain again.

As soon as it started to rain, Mr. Moggie told everyone to run out of the woods so they could go home. They raced through the trees. When they got out, Mr. Moggie did a tail count. There were only eight kittens! Timmy and Tommy were still in the forest.

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He panicked. What was he going to tell their mother? Should he go back in and try to find them? Should he take the other kittens home first? Could the lost kittens hear his voice if he yowled?

Meanwhile, Timmy and Tommy found a dry spot to wait out the storm. They weren’t going anywhere until it dried out. Soon they were fast asleep.

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The next thing he knew, Timmy felt a wet nose on his fur. He looked up and saw a huge dog! He started crying and woke his brother. They waited to be eaten.

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The “dog” looked at them in amazement. He had never seen kittens before. He wanted to play. The kittens weren’t sure, but he insisted. They romped around until the kittens were exhausted.

Finally, the “dog’s” mother came looking for him. When the kittens saw her, they were terrified. They hadn’t been playing with a dog. He was a wolf pup.

 

To be continued

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

18

How Dogs Solved the Cat Food Crisis

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Our story so far: It appears that local cats have been getting sick from bad cat food, “Power Cat”. With the help of some German Sheperds at the local distribution center, we have discovered that the food is being manufactured in Guangzhou, China. The labels on the shipping labels were written in Shar-Pei, so we are hoping to follow the trail through our German Sheperd contact in Livingston, Lexi. You can read it here.

Our reporter, Penelope Porcine, talked over the situation with Lexi. There was no point in them trying to go to China to investigate the situation further. Cheeseland’s Asian correspondent, mongoose Riki T. Tavi, wouldn’t be able to help since it would take several weeks to permission to enter the country as a correspondent. He would also need a translator who spoke Shar-Pei. Lexi spoke Shar-Pei, but didn’t have Chinese contacts. They would have to see what she could do through the local Shar-Pei community.

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As luck would have it, there was no local Shar-Pei with ties to China. However, Lexi did learn about an online Shar-Pei community that might be able to help. She explained the situation and asked for help. The first thing she learned was that most Chinese Shar-Pei did not have Internet access. After several days of waiting, Lexi received a message from a Shar-Pei in San Francisco. His extended family included a branch in Guangzhou. He was trying to reach them to see if they could help.

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So Lexi waited again. Finally she received a message from Shar-Pei 2231. Shar-Pei 2231 said that he lived in Guanzhou and had several friends who worked at the cat food plant. He had talked to them and asked what they knew. Shar-Pei 3367 actually worked with the humans. She agreed to help Lexi. (None of the Chinese dogs would speak on the record.)

Shar-Pei 3367 said that the secret ingredient in “Cat Power” was earthworms. The worms had a lot of protein and would make the cats stronger. Each factory had a garden attached where they grew the worms. Humans harvested the worms. As far as she knew, everything they brought in was processed. The worms were turned into a paste and added to the rest of the food mixture.

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Lexi asked about the sanitation procedures at the plant. The worms were rinsed in a vat of water before they were put into the machines. The machines were rinsed daily and sanitized twice a week. She wasn’t sure about inspections for health or safety. Once in a while, humans came in, looked around, and talked to the workers. She wasn’t sure who they were.

Lexi thanked Shar-Pei 3367 for all her help. She and Penelope knew that the problem wasn’t the worms; it was the way they were processed into the food. The ground could be contaminated and the machines were almost certainly full of bacteria. It was time to get the humans involved.

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George, one of our editors, spoke with his original human contact. He told her that we had discovered that the problem with the cat food was almost certainly contamination at the plant in China. He recommended that she ask the government to launch a formal inquiry. She agreed that would be the only solution. In the meantime, she posted messages on every social media site she could think of, telling people not to buy the food. The resulting boycott caused the cat food company to pressure the government into action.

We are happy to report that “Cat Power” is back in the stores. The worms are now grown in sterilized soil in a lab. Strict sanitation procedures have been put in place, and health inspectors send reports to the company every six months.

(We have also hired Lexi as a translator.)

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18

How Dogs Solved the Cat Food Crisis

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We got a very unusual call recently. It was from a human. We almost never hear from humans; most of them assume we are a foreign-language publication. A very nice lady said that some neighborhood cats were very sick. The veterinarian said that it was probably just a virus.

The lady and her friends think it is a new food that they got for their furry friends. It’s supposed to have a special additive that would improve their immune systems. It’s called “Cat Power”. She wanted to know if there was a way for us to check it out. Our editor George said we would see what we could find out.

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We put one of our best reporters, Penelope Porcine, on the case. She discovered that “Cat Power” is sent out by a large distributor in the U.S. There was no information about who actually made the food. She decided to talk to the distributor. The closest distribution center is in the middle of the state.

Penelope drove up to Livingston and found the plant. She called, but only got a recording. She tried to see someone in person (so to speak). There was only one entrance, and it was guarded by a very large German Shepherd. The German Shepherd refused to talk to her. He said he couldn’t speak pig.

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Penelope decided that we needed to find a German Shepherd of our own to help. Not having one on staff, we thought it would be best to recruit one locally. It was a small town; they might even know the guard.

We posted a notice: “Looking for a German Shepherd. Temporary assignment. Must be fluent in several animal languages. The position requires persistence and a persuasive personality. Compensation will be discussed if you are called for an interview.”

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Apparently there is a shortage of positions for German Shepherds in Livingston. We immediately received more than 20 responses. Some of them we could delete right away:

“Speak several dialects: Pekinese, Beagle, and Chow. Have trouble communicating with other species. Once I misunderstood a mynah bird and ate him.”

“Experience speaking with other animals. Would prefer it not be any animals that I might consider as toys. Especially cats or squirrels.”

“I am qualified for your position. Compensation must include both kibble and meats of my choosing.”

We interviewed three candidates. We hired a wonderful dog named Lexi. She has a gentle disposition but is a very determined manner. Lexi speaks flawless pig, cat, mouse and hedgehog as well as a variety of dog dialects.

Penelope explained the situation to Lexi, telling her that we needed to find out where the food came from. Lexi was appalled and thought that humans had to be involved. She promised to call Penelope the next day after she had spoken with the guard.

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The next day Lexi said that she needed to meet with Penelope in person to tell her what the guard had said. Penelope wondered what could be so important that it couldn’t be told over the phone.

When she arrived at the restaurant, Penelope discovered that Lexi had two other German Shepherds with her. She hoped they were friendly. Three large dogs were a little intimidating.

The dogs patrolled inside the plant. The place was full of humans, but none of them had anything to do with making the food. The cans came in huge crates that the humans opened and put on conveyor belts. At the end of the belts were trucks that delivered the “Cat Power” and other foods to the stores.

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Penelope asked if they had any idea where the food came from. One of the dogs, Brutus, said that the crates were written in Shar-Pei. Brutus said that he hoped Shar-Pei’s were only clerks and not actually involved in poisoning anyone.

Penelope thanked Brutus and his friend. She bought dinner in appreciation. They said they had never met such a nice pig. Or any pig, for that matter.

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Later Lexi told Penelope that she had done further research on Shar-Pei’s and discovered that they specialize as guard dogs in Guangzhou, in southern China. She had also learned that there were two factories that made cat food in Guangzhou, both of them owned by the same company.

To be continued

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10

Davy Kitten, Superstar

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Davy Kitten fell asleep after his mother had read him several stories from his favorite book, 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization by Sam Stall. He began to dream about a beautiful cat. Her name was Colette. She told him that any cat as good-looking as he was should be a model. Davy blushed.

Colette told Davy to follow her. They went into a building and down a long hall. Davy was a little frightened. What if she was taking him to some big dogs who were going to eat him? He was afraid of dogs. Finally Colette slid through a crack into a large bright room.

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“Ah, Colette! You found me a model for my cat beds! He will be purrfect.” The man picked up Davy and cuddled him. Davy began to purr and rub his head against the man’s face.

“Now, little one, all you have to do is lay in my beds and pretend to sleep. I will take pictures. You will be famous! And so will my beds.” Davy curled up in several of them. Finally, the man was done.

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Davy went home with the man, whose name was Bob. Bob gave Davy good food and a nice warm bed. Shortly after, Bob showed him a magazine with Davy’s picture in it. Davy thought that he actually did look pretty good. He purred at Bob.

Bob’s phone rang. He talked for a few minutes. Then he told Davy, “You won’t believe it! That was Mon Cheri Cat Food. They want you to be their spokescat. What do you think about that?” Davy wasn’t sure; he didn’t know what a spokescat was. He didn’t speak human.

They went to the Mon Cheri offices. The studio was huge. There were all types of rooms for Davy to wander through. Finally they showed him the food they wanted him to sell. “Eww! That’s awful! I can’t eat that.”

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Bob picked up Davy. “You don’t have to really eat it. It’s all pretend. I’ll see if they have another flavor.” They put another bowl in front of Davy. That one was yummy. Davy ate it all as the people took the pictures.

The cat food ads were a huge success. Davy began to get fan mail. They took pictures of him, made him put his paw in something gooey and press it on the picture. His fans loved it.

Finally the cat food people decided that he needed to go on tour. Davy didn’t like to travel. Bob said he’d be right beside him, so Davy agreed to go. He had a big bus with his picture on the side. Bob made him a special bed for the trip. Davy thought it might not be so bad.

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At the first stop, they put a harness on Davy and took him out to meet his fans. Davy had never heard so much noise. And they all tried to touch him! Nobody had said anything about sticky fingers in his beautiful fur.

The fans adored him and the tour continued. In California, he was set up with a cameo in a movie. They gave him a bath in some kind of stinky soap and blew his coat dry. He looked in the mirror. He was a ball of fur. He went on the set. There were so many people. And they all wanted to touch him.

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Davy couldn’t take it anymore. He ran away from Bob and out the door. Outside there were more people who wanted to grab him. He couldn’t get away.

“Davy! Over here! Davy! Davy!

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Davy felt someone pushing him. He opened his eyes. It was Mama!

“Mama, I had the worst dream! There were humans everywhere and they all wanted to touch me. I couldn’t get away. I never want to be a famous cat. It was terrible!”

Mama snuggled Davy next to her and started to groom him. She decided to read about historical cats that night.

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10

Clarice Kitten and the Dangerous Noms – Part 2

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So far – Clarice Kitten, who lives in the forest, got curious about some “noms” a woman offered her. Unfortunately, the woman used the food to trap Clarice and take her to the vet. Now the adults are trying to get her out. You can read the details here.

The three cats ran up to the house. They found Clarice asleep on a pillow on a back porch. There were screens around the porch and a screen door. Frank jumped onto one of the screens and looked in.

Frank (whispering): Clarice, wake up. We’re here to help. Wake up.

Clarice woke up and looked around. She ran to the window when she saw Frank. She started crying and tried to tell him what happened to her.

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Frank: Shhh. You need to be quiet so you don’t wake the humans. We want to get you out of there.

Clarice: Please get me out. I hate it here.

Frank: OK, your parents are out there. Let me talk to them and we’ll figure something out.

Clarice: Hurry! They want to spray me and give me to some humans. I want to be with you.

Frank: It’s OK. Try to be calm.  I’ll be back in a couple of minutes.

Frank jumped down. The three cats went back to the edge of the woods to try and come up with a solution.

Kate: How is she?

Frank: She’s fine, but scared. She says they want to spray her and give her to some humans.

Kate: Spray her? With what?

Tom: No human is going to take my kitten! What are we going to do?

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Frank: I don’t see any way in. I don’t think we can get through the screens without waking up the human.

Katie: Then we need to get her out the same way she got in.

Frank: What’s that?

Katie: The human has to let her go.

Tom: Do you have an idea?

Katie: Maybe. She saw me earlier, so she might expect me to come back.

Tom: Great. So you’re going to let her get you too?

Frank: I don’t think we have to get inside. I think we need to get the human to open the door to let Clarice out.

Tom: OK. So how do we do that?

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Frank: Katie can go up to the house and start crying. Hopefully the human come outside to see what is going on and open the door. Clarice needs to be ready to race out the door when that happens.

Kate: I guess it’s worth a try. Go tell Clarice the plan.

Frank climbed back up and told Clarice to be ready to run if the woman opened the door to see what was going on outside. Clarice hid under a chair by the door and waited.

Frank: OK, Kate. Let’s try it.

Kate sat outside the porch and cried and cried. Clarice began to cry too. Frank and Tom waited. And waited. Nothing happened.

Frank: It’s not working.

Tom: I have an idea.

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He let out a yowl and ran toward the house. Frank followed. Tom turned and hissed at him. They started to circle each other and growl. Soon they were hissing and spitting. It turned into a full cat fight. Finally a light came on in the house. The woman came to the porch.

Woman: What on earth is going on out there?

Kate continued to cry, and the male cats were fighting loudly.

Woman: For goodness sake, be quiet!

No one was really paying attention to her, except Clarice, when she opened the door. Clarice raced out and ran to her mother. Kate saw her.

Kate: Run, Clarice!

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Kate took off after Clarice. Tom and Frank were still at each other when the girls ran by. Kate came back.

Kate: Get going! She’ll come out if you two don’t quiet down.

The three adult cats raced into the woods. They found Clarice. When she saw her mother she started crying again. Kate licked her and calmed her down. They headed for home. The two male cats looked at each other.

Frank: What was that all about?

Tom: It was the only way I could think of to make more noise. No hard feelings?

Frank sat down and bathed himself. After finding no damage from the fight, he calmed down.

Frank: I guess I understand. But next time, let me know what’s going on. I could have killed you.

Tom: Not much danger of that.

They looked at each other again and started walking home.

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