In response to a writing contest. A woman adopts a cat with a frightening appetite.
|I don't think you want that one. It is kinda peculiar.”
Lesley stepped over to the cage and slipped her thumb in. The cat gnawed on as he purred.
“Nonsense. It's a beautiful cat.”
Lesley picked up the tag hanging on the cage and read it. “George.”
“Do you want to come home with me. Huh? Where did George come from, anyway?” she asked the shelter employee. She slipped her pointer finger through the wire to scratch George's silky head.
“Some crazy animal show, or something. I'm not sure. But I don't think... He's very expensive...”
“My husband will love you,George. He loves smokey gray cats. And you'll never be lonely like you are here. You'll have three brothers and sisters.”
“Are you adopting that cat?”
“Yes, George is coming home with me.”
“Alright. I need to go get something for him to travel in, and small food. It won't last you long, though.”
“Never mind. I'll be right back.”
The man meandered into a different room with a befuddled look in his eyes.
“I wonder what he thinks is so weird about you? Oh well... You're so cute. Those adorable yellow eyes and dainty little paws. I do believe Chuckles will be jealous.”
The employee appeared with a cardboard crate that closed at the top. He opened the cage, set the purring cat inside, and then closed it.
After paying Lesley paid at the front counter, the man handed her the cat and a 4oz. bag of cat food.
“Why not just put the food inside the crate?” Lesley asked. The employee smiled, but didn't answer the question.
“Have a good afternoon. I hope you and George have a good life together.”
George rode on the passenger seat in the car, his bag of cat food sitting next to his crate. During the trip, he scratched at the wall of the crate that the food leaned against.
“How cute,” Lesley thought. “I have a scratching post to take care of that.”
When they got home, she put her other three cats, Chuckles, Charlie, and Milky, is separate cat carriers. “We wouldn't you four fighting. You need a chance to get to know each other before you get to play together.”
Then she sat down on the floor and let George out of his cardboard crate. “Have at it little kitty. This is your home, too.”
George went straight to the bag of cat food.
“You must be pretty hungry, little one.”
She poured some food out on the floor and then held a piece up to his mouth, which he greedily took?.
“You are hungry.”
The phone rang. She answered it, hung up on the telemarketer, and came back to find scraps of bag strewn about her kitchen floor.
“What the... Where'd the food go. You couldn't have eaten that much.”
The cat sat atop a piece of paper licking his paws and purring.
“Didn't they ever feed you at the shelter? I guess I'll have to go out and buy more cat food. We're almost out. But first, I want to play with my new kitty.”
She sat George on her laps and ran her hands along his long back. Playfully, he flipped his head around and licked her fingers. She giggled.
Then she began chewing on her pointer finger, like a kitten would. His purr sounded like a motor. But the cat's bites got harder and harder, until they hurt, and then finally one made her bleed.
“George, no. Naughty kitty.”
George slumped and fixed his yellow eyes on her face.
“It's okay, kitty. Just don't do it again.”
He used his mouth to tug at her pant legs.
“No. You are too strong for that. I don't want to buy new jeans.”
And glancing at her watch, she kicked the cat off her lap. “I need to go to the store. Now, I'm gonna let the four of you out together. Play nice.”
One by one, she let the cats out, petted them, and gave them a quick lecture on how to treat the newcomer. Then she left in her car.
When she got back, the paper on the floor was mingled with three colors of cat hair – white, black, and orange.
“Did you four fight? Now I have to sweep. Chuckles, Charlie, Milky, get over here. Here kitties, kitties, kitties. NOW.”
But nobody came.
“Where are you guys?”
She checked inside the open carriers, under the bed, inside cupboards. Everywhere.
“George, where are you?”
He ambled out from behind the couch.
“What happened to the others? My goodness you look happy. I could swear you were smiling. Wait, what is that on you.”
She picked the cat up and examined a red spot on the top of its head. It was blood, she realized as she smeared it with her finger.
But there wasn't any other answer. But cats didn't... Pigs and chickens would sometimes be cannibals. But house cats never... But where else could the rest of her darlings be?
She looked back at George, who meowed in confirmation.
“How did you fit all that in your stomach?"
Word count: 895