Serious Cat By Pete Donald
“You must be on your best behaviour,” said Mother Cat to Plum the Kitten. “Your Uncle has come to visit and he does not take too kindly to young ones who are noisy or cheeky or ask too many questions.”
“I understand,” said Plum.
“You must remember to behave this way because your uncle is a Serious Cat”, she added.
“What do you mean?” asked Plum.
“It’s because he never smiles, he never laughs, he never plays with pieces of string and he never toys with a mouse before killing it,” replied his Mother.
Goodness, he is serious, thought Plum.
Plum was ushered into a room where sat a large white cat. The kitten looked back at his Mother. She encouraged him nearer the statuesque feline.
“Hello sir,” said Plum.
“Hello child,” came the reply.
Plum looked over his shoulder. His mother had gone.
Plum steeled himself, for he was a very inquisitive cat, and although his mother had warned him not to ask questions, he couldn’t help himself.
“Uncle?” he said hesitantly.
“Yes,” said Uncle with a stern purr.
“Why is it you never smile, never laugh, never play with string or toy with a mouse?” said Plum quickly, gulping out the words while he still had the courage.
Uncle sighed. If there was one thing worse than a kitten, it was an inquisitive kitten.
“The reason why I never smile,” he said, turning his green eyes to the kitten “is due to the fact that when I first left home I became a ships cat. On my first voyage the ship hit storms off Australia and sank. I was the only survivor. Whilst swimming towards a lifeboat I was attacked by a Great White Shark. I battled with the beast and after a furious fight I had lost three front teeth but the shark had lost his life.”
The little kittens eyes grew large and round at the story.
“I never laugh,” he continued, “because I once journeyed into deepest Asia to visit the temples of Kathmandu. I stayed with a family of Pandas and one night a fire broke out amongst the Bamboo trees. Everybody escaped but one baby Panda was trapped. I ran back into the fire and pulled the cub to safety, but the smoke damaged my throat so I can not laugh.”
Uncle kept talking, “I never play with pieces of string because when I lived in Africa I was adopted by a pride of Lions. One day when out walking I saw a wonderful piece of string dangling in front of me. I leapt up to play with it but caught one of my claws in it. Unfortunately it wasn’t a piece of string but an Elephants tail and I was carried for miles swinging too close for comfort to an Elephants behind.”
“And,” he said, ”I never toy with a mouse, before I eat it, because when I travelled around South America I once caught a mouse and whilst throwing him around he told me of much bigger mice that lived near the Amazon and that would satisfy my hunger. I followed the directions given and discovered a race of giant rodents, who I later found out are called Capybaras. These monsters were ten times my size and I was attacked by a hundred of them. I barely escaped with my life but vowed that I would never play with my food again.”
Plum sat open mouthed as Uncle recalled his stories.
“Wow,” he said, “you know what Uncle, nobody should call you Serious Cat. Anybody who can go through so many adventures should be known as something more fantastic like as Action Cat or Hero Cat or something like that.”
“But remember young Plum, it is because I was a young and foolish cat, and wasn’t being serious, that I have been hurt so many times. I have had a lot of near misses too,” explained Uncle.
“But it sounded like so much fun. It was fun wasn’t it?” Plum asked, “and you’re still here to tell your stories. And boy what stories. You should go on more adventures, you should collect more tales.”
The white cat flicked his tail, and for a moment his eyes sparkled.
Plum was practically bouncing on the spot with excitement. He was just about to run off to tell his mother when Uncle placed one of his large paws on top of the kitten to calm him down.
“No young one,” he said in a stern voice, ”it is no longer my way.”
“But why, there’s nothing stopping you, is there?” asked Plum as he tried to wriggle his way free from under the weight of the mighty paw.
“Not that it’s any concern of yours, but no, there is nothing stopping me,” replied the older cat, thoughtfully.
“And there must be places you’ve never been,” said Plum wriggling himself free of the large paw and shaking himself like a wet dog.
Uncle thought to himself for a moment, “Well I have heard that in the Antarctic there is a community of white furred creatures who are battling against the real cause of global warming,” he said.
Cat and kitten stood together in silence until the moment was broken by Plums’ mother calling him for his dinner. “I better go,” said Plum.
The cat watched as his nephew bounced towards the door. “Plum,” he called out, “I am glad I met you.”
Plum turned around to reply but the Serious Cat had gone.
Copyright Pete Donald 2011
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