9

Feral Purrfessional – Part 4

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech where she will study providing medical care to the feral cat population. She has discovered that one of her professors is her roommate’s father. Rose is much calmer about leaving Katie since she met the Professor. You can read the beginning of the story here.

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After the first day of school.

Katie: That was tough. I can’t believe how much homework we got on the first day.

Elise: And we have two quizzes on Friday!

Katie: Cats’ vital signs and the systems in the cat’s body.

Elise: Guess we better get started.

Katie: Can you believe some of the cats are going to a nip party tonight? It’s not even the weekend.

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Elise: I know. Maybe they don’t know how hard the program is.

Katie: Did you see that cute boy cat that was looking at you?

Elise: How could I miss him? Every time I turned around he was there.

Katie: Did you talk to him?

Elise: Yeah. All he wanted to talk about was my father, the professor.

Katie: That stinks.

Elise: It’s OK. I’m used to it.

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Katie’s phone rings.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How are you?

Rose: How was your first day of school?

Katie: Great! I think I’m going to like it here.

Rose: Were you OK after we left?

Katie: Yes, we were fine. (Rolls her eyes.)

Rose: What are you doing now?

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Katie: We’re getting ready to study.

Rose: OK. I won’t keep you. Say hello to Elise and her father. Talk to you tomorrow.

Katie: Bye, Mama.

Katie looks at Elise.

Katie: She is going to drive me crazy. I think she’s going to call every day. She says hello to you and your father.

Elise: She just misses you.

Katie: I guess. But I don’t think I’m going to be doing anything very interesting every day.

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Elise: She seemed to like Daddy. I’ll see if he has any ideas.

Katie: That’s a great idea. Thank you!

They decide to go to the cafeteria and eat before studying. After salmon mousse and cream, they return to their room and work until bedtime. The next afternoon, Katie gets another call.

Katie: Hi, Mama. How is everybody?

Rose: We’re all fine. How are you?

Katie: I’m good. Elise and I are going to see a movie tonight. Take a break after studying.

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Rose: You’re not going to be out after dark are you?

Katie: I’m a cat. Dark doesn’t bother me.

Rose: But it’s not safe.

Katie: Don’t you remember what Professor Khatt told you? It’s perfectly safe here. Besides, it’s just down the block.

Rose: OK. But call me when you get home. I want to make sure you’re safe.

Katie: All right. I’ll talk to you then.

Katie disconnects the phone.

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Katie: Meowsers! She is crazy. I have to call when we get back. Did you talk to your dad?

Elise: I almost forgot! He said that he would call her tonight and explain how distracting it would be for you if she called every night.

Katie: I hope he doesn’t hurt her feelings.

After the movie, Katie calls her mother.

Katie: Hi, Mama. We’re home. All safe and sound.

Rose: That’s nice dear. I hope you enjoyed the movie. I got the nicest call from Edgar. He told me that you are adapting well, and I don’t need to worry so much. He is going to call me every Friday to let me know how things are going. He suggested that you call me once a week since you will be very busy. I think Monday.

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Katie (confused): Sure, Mama. Mondays will be fine. Are you sure you’ll be ok with once a week?

Rose: Oh, yes. I don’t want to interfere with your studies. Love you.

Katie: Love you too.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: Your father is a magician! I only have to call once a week.

Elise: How’d he manage that?

Katie: He’s going to call her every week to reassure her.

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All goes well for several weeks. Everyone is making plans for the Thanksgiving break. Katie is talking to her mother during the weekly call.

Rose: Edgar tells me you’re doing very well in school.

Katie: So far, everything is fine.

Rose: Did you know he and Elise will be spending Thanksgiving alone?

Katie: She says that’s the way they always do it.

Rose: Well, I think it’s terrible. So, I invited them down here.

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Katie (in disbelief): Really, Mama? I don’t think it’s a good idea to spend that much time with one of my professors. It would look strange.

Rose: Don’t be silly. Cats shouldn’t be alone on holidays. Besides, you can spend your time with Elise.

Katie: I guess, Mama.

Rose: It’s set then. You can all take the train down on Wednesday.

Katie disconnects the call.

Katie: That’s weird. She invited you and your father for Thanksgiving.

Elise: That sounds like fun. I’ve never been south.

Katie: I’m so glad you’re going to be there.

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Rose makes a huge Thanksgiving dinner with an entire turkey. The kittens love Edgar. He has brought some of his cat models down and plays with the kittens. On Sunday, Rose drops Edgar, Elise, and Katie at the station.

Elise: Thank you, Mrs. Kitty. I had a wonderful time.

Rose: You’re very welcome. I enjoyed having you.

Katie: I guess this wasn’t as weird as I thought it was going to be.

Rose: I told you everything would be fine.

Edgar: You were a wonderful hostess, Rose. I’m so glad you invited us.

Rose: Thank you, Edgar. I’m looking forward to seeing you both at Christmas.

Edgar: We’ll see you then. I’m planning special gifts for both you and Katie.

Katie and Elise look at each other.

Next week: The finale. What is going to happen on Christmas?

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21

Feral Purrfessional – Part 2

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Where we are: Katie Kitty has been given a scholarship to Mid-America Animal Tech. She plans to become a Feral Purrfessional to provide medical care to the feral cat population. Her mother is uncomfortable with Katie being so far from home. Read the first part of the story here.

Katie: Mama, did you get the train tickets to school?

Mama: Yes, I did. I bought three – you, me, and Charlene. We leave at seven tomorrow morning. We won’t get there until the middle of the afternoon. I really don’t like how far away it is.

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Katie: The train takes longer than driving, because it stops. I think you’ll really like it.

Mama doesn’t seem convinced. The next morning the three Kitties arrive at the depot. Katie has been so excited that she hadn’t noticed how many bags her mother brought with her.

Katie: Mama, why are you bring so much stuff? I think you have more than I do! Are you planning to stay?

Charlene: Of course, we’re staying overnight. We can’t see anything if we don’t leave the train station.

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Katie: Good point. But you only have one bag. Mama has (counting) six. What is all that stuff?

Mama: I brought snacks for the train. And towels and personal items in case you forgot anything.

Katie groans.

Mama: And I brought some of those special salmon cakes you like, in case you get hungry at school.

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Katie: Mama, they have a cafeteria.

Mama: I know, but you might not like the food. And I brought extra school supplies. Just in case. And your stuffed mouse. And your favorite pillow.

Katie: Mama! I don’t need all that stuff! You’re going to embarrass me.

Mama (hurt): I just thought you might miss home and want some special things to help you adjust.

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Mama starts to cry.

Mama: I’m just so upset to have you moving out. You’re my baby, and I want you to be safe and happy.

Charlene glares at Katie.

Charlene: Can’t you just be nice? We all know how excited you are, but you are leaving home. Besides, someone will eat the stuff. Mama’s a wonderful cook. And you probably did forget things. You are pretty scatter-brained sometimes.

Katie: I guess you’re right. I do always seem to forget something.

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Turns to Mama and hugs her.

Katie: I’m sorry, Mama. It sure looks like you went through a lot of work for me.

Mama: It wasn’t any trouble.

They take their seats on the train. They weren’t too far out of the station before they were all curled up asleep. It seemed like no time before they heard the conductor calling their stop.

Katie: See, Mama? That wasn’t so bad.

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Charlene: It’s pretty here. It doesn’t even really look like a city. All the trees and flowers.

Mama: You’re right Charlene. It’s much prettier than I expected.

Katie: We need to find the shuttle to the campus.

She looks around and sees a van marked “Mid-America Animal Tech”. They find three empty seats. Ten minutes later, they stopped at a building with a sign that says, “Feral Purrfessional Dormitory and Lab.” Katie bounces up.

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Katie: This is it! My home away from home. Hurry!

Katie runs up the steps to the building. By the time Mama and Charlene have gathered everything together and get in the door, Katie has her room key and a set of house rules.

Katie: Hurry up! I’m on the second floor.

They follow her, carrying the bags. As Katie struggles to open the door, it’s pulled open by a handsome tom.

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Tom (laughing): You must be Katie; Elise’s new roommate. There’s Elise over on the bed.

Katie and Elise look each other over, rub heads, and begin to chatter. Meanwhile, Mama and Charlene appear at the door out of breath.

Tom: My goodness! Are you Katie’s sisters? And what’s in all those bags? Let me get them from you.

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Mama Kitty blushes.

Mama: No. I’m Katie’s mother and this is her sister Charlene.

Tom: My name is Edgar and I am Elise’s father. Unfortunately, her mother died in an accident, so I’m playing Mom today.

Mama: That’s so sweet.

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Edgar: What is in all those bags you were carrying? It smells delicious.

Mama: Those are salmon cakes I made for Katie, but she says she doesn’t want them. Would you like one?

Edgar: That would be purr-fect. I’m starving.

Mama gets out the salmon cakes and prepares a plate for Edgar. They are talking and don’t notice the younger cats watching them.

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Next week: Conclusion. Will Mama Kitty be comfortable leaving Katie at school?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

9

Road Trip! The Gators’ Summer Vacation

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It had been abnormally hot and steamy in the southern Florida swamp. While most of the gators loved it, Abigail had had enough. She was a Carolina gator who had met Al on a spring trip to Panama City. It was love at first sight, and they spent their time curled up in a hot tub some human had forgotten to drain.

When it was time to go home, Al invited Abby to come with him. She didn’t hesitate and had been living south of Miami ever since. It had been an adjustment. She thought it smelled weird, and all the gators did was lie around. She loved Al and she soon adapted. But this summer was too much.

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Abby: Al, the heat is starting to make me cranky.

Al: Sweetheart, you’re an alligator. Being cranky is part of our charm.

Abby: I want to go somewhere for vacation.

Al: OK, we can go to somewhere on the coast. You pick the spot.

Abby: I was thinking a little more north.

Al: Back to Panama City? That would be nice.

Abby: Um. A little further north.

Al: How much further north?

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Abby: Tennessee.

Al: Where is Tennessee? I’ve never heard of it.

Abby: It’s north of Georgia.

Al: That doesn’t sound very tropical. Exactly how far is it?

Abby (hesitating): Well, I couldn’t get the exact mileage, but it’s about 850 miles.

Al: 850 miles! Abby, we’re alligators. It would take us years. There’s no way we can take that kind of trip. Find someplace closer or we’re not going.

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Abby (starting to cry): Just look at the pictures. See, the humans are wearing shorts. That means it’s warm. And the place I found has a hot tub. It’ll be romantic, just like when we first met. We can leave the kids with your sister.

Al: What’s that big, furry thing standing in this picture?

Abby: It says it’s a bear. I’m not sure what that is, but I’m sure it’s well-mannered since it’s at a resort.

Al: I don’t see any alligators in these pictures. All the animals are furry.

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Abby: I’m sure it’s just because of where they took the pictures.

Al realizes that Abby really has her heart set on going to this place.

Al: OK. How do we get there?

Abby: I thought that we could take an airplane, but we gators don’t have our own airline. Apparently, not enough of us fly. We used to be able to take All Animals, but they went out of business. The last one available is Creature Air Comfort, but they’ve banned gators.

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Al: Isn’t that discriminatory?

Abby: Apparently not. In the past few years, there have been five instances of gators eating other passengers.

Al: Trust some hooligans to ruin it for everyone.

Abby: So the next fastest way to get there is by train. The only problem is that the trains from Miami charge gators double because of the eating other passengers thing. We’d need to go to Orlando to get a decent rate. Apparently there are lots of humans in the area who spoil the alligators, so they don’t bother the other animals.

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Al: Well, there’s one positive to the human invasion down here. So how do we get to Orlando?

Abby: Well your sister Jean told me about something the humans have, called ride-sharing. Some people do it because they’re friends, but other people do it for anyone to make money.

Al: Well, that’s great, but we don’t know any humans.

Abby: Jean does. Some guy who was out here taking pictures. He said that driving alligators to Orlando would make him “viral.” We don’t know what that means, but she made sure that he would deliver us to the train station alive and in good shape.

Al (defeated): So when does he pick us up?

Early Saturday morning, the driver arrives in an old pickup truck. He has filled the bed with water after laying down blankets for their comfort. He has a friend who is recording everything while talking the whole time. Abby and Al climb in, ready to start their adventure.

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Next time: Tennessee is definitely not the tropics.

(Pictures courtesy of Google Images)