I was born in the country and my mother was named Sapphire. She was a black cat too.
She wasn’t there any more when I was just a few months old so I went to live next door. They had a cat or two for me to play with and to have as friends.
I lived in what the humans called a storage building but I made it my own.
Then another mother cat came with a skinny black kitten a month younger than me. He said his name was Ira. They wanted to stay with me in the storage building.
At first I didn’t like it but then Ira’s mother wasn’t there any more so I let him stay with me.
The humans took good care of us but it was cold at night and we heard coyotes a lot. I asked the oldest cat who came outside once in a while if we could live with him but he said another cat named Kezia didn’t want us in the house.
The smaller human liked both Ira and me and often let us come up into what she called her office. It was nice up there. She gave us boxes with old sweaters to sleep in and toys and food. I liked going outside during the day and having the office to sleep in at night. I felt safe.
But Ira wanted to stay out at night too. He did that a lot.
So one night it was getting really dark and very late and the human was calling Ira and he didn’t come in.
And she called some more and he didn’t come in.
I had already come inside and had my dinner. I wanted to go to bed, but no Ira.
Finally the smaller human was very worried and we both could hear coyotes howling. She opened the door to go look for Ira one more time and he ran in! He had been running a long time, because he threw himself on the floor and had to gasp a lot before he caught his breath. It sounded like the coyotes were right behind him. I think they had followed him clear to the front yard.
So the human said that was it. Ira had come too close to being eaten by coyotes and we were going to be inside cats from then on.
I wonder what she said to Ira when a few weeks later I didn’t come in. But it wasn’t my fault.
I was hunting mice in the flower bed behind the house and didn’t want to go in the office. Ira was already inside but I was still hungry and wanted one more mouse for a snack. The smaller human wasn’t happy about leaving me outside but she told me they had to go to the store because there was a bad snow storm coming and that they would be right back.
When they came back I was gone.
That night a really bad winter storm (almost a blizzard) hit. It was so cold! I had run as far as I could to get away from something that had sneaked up behind me and scared me. Now the snow was sticking to the ground and nothing smelled like home any more.
I was so cold. The wind blew even harder and there were no stars out or trees that looked like any I’d seen. I crept under a porch for the night. It wasn’t much warmer under there but at least the wind wasn’t blowing on me.
The snow was up to my shoulders the next morning. I was lost.
I stayed lost a long, long time. I wandered and wandered. Once or twice I thought I heard the humans calling me but I couldn’t get to where I had heard them before they were gone. I was all alone.
One horrible night a coyote smelled me and I had to start running again. The snow was finally gone but I hadn’t had much to eat and I couldn’t run as far or as fast as I could before. I jumped through a small hole in a wood wall just as the coyote snapped at me. He got my tail.
I screamed. It hurt, really hurt. I had to stay there for what seemed like weeks but I guess it was only a day or two.
A day or two later I looked out of the hole in the wall and smelled the breeze. Oh!
IT SMELLED LIKE HOME!
I had to walk slowly because I was weak but I knew the way home now.
To be continued on Thursday (see, I know what writers do to interest their readers – Abishag)