Tale of the Kitty Keeper

Bella as a baby

The raindrops had stopped falling and the sun was peeking out from behind a big white puffy cloud.  A rainbow arched across the blue sky.  It was one of the prettiest things I had ever seen.    

I curled up to my Momma.  My brothers said that I looked just like her.  I wonder if that means that I am grey with a white tummy too?  I don’t know about the grey, but the white tummy part is true.  I look at it every time I clean myself.

Momma looked down into my face and smiled.  She had the most wonderful look in her eyes.  Then she leaned down, butted heads with me and started to clean my head.  I simply loved the feel of her rough tongue running through my hair.  It was so relaxing and calming.  I swear, it was a feeling that I would never forget for as long as I lived.

My eyes began to feel heavy and my brain was foggy.  I was going to that place called dreamland again.  I fought as hard as I could.  Just as I was about to lose my battle, the tall grass off to our left began to shift and rustle a little.  Then a giant metal box fell from the sky, landing gently on the ground less than ten feet in front of us.

“Scatter!” Momma yelled.  We all ran in different directions to find little hiding places that we could duck in for cover.

The calming tones of bosso nova music drifted …

up the stairs from the living room and danced around inside my little head.  I listened with joy and shook my head to the music of Tom Jobin.  I heard the stairs squeak in protest as someone climbed up them.

A brown head with floppy ears and a tongue hanging out of its mouth crept around the corner to peak into the room.

“Hi Cindee,” I greeted her warmly, even though we didn’t always have the best relationship.  It’s not that we didn’t get along, it’s just that Cindee can be a little rambunctious when she plays, and I am a little more laid back.  I am always a little nervous that she will forget we are playing and try to eat me.

“Hi Bella, what are you up to?” she asked quietly.  I think the music was putting her into a relaxed mood as well.

“Not too much, just listening to the music and thinking,” I answered.

“What are you thinking about?” the deep Cuban accent asked in a mellow sing song kind of way?  Rapi’s eyes were all aglow as both he and Cindee hopped up on the bed next to me.

“Yeah what?” a nasally voice cut through the air and stifled the mood.  We all turned to see Yehudi standing in the doorway.  I shook my head.  So much for a relaxing evening of music and memories I thought to myself.

“Actually, I was just thinking about my family.  My cat family, I mean,” I said clarifying, after all, these guys were my family now.

“Next week will be my tenth anniversary here and I was just wondering what happened to my brothers,” I said, opening up a little to them.  I was sad thinking about it, but really, I think it was more curiosity the drove me to remember them.

“Don’t you know what happened to them?  I mean, weren’t they adopted too?” Cindee asked.  She wore a perplexed look on her face.  I could tell she had questions but was being considerate in keeping them to herself.

“No,” I said, shaking my head as I did. 

“It was the Kitty Keeper,” I told them.

“The Kitty Keeper?” Rapi asked.  He wore a look of horror as he pondered my confession.

“What is the Kitty Keeper?” Cindee asked.

“You don’t know?  Sit down, and I will tell you!”

Once upon a time …

in a land far far away, called Miami.  I was born to a grey and white cat and her brown husband.  We lived in a field of tall grass in the part of Miami that had several warehouses.  We shared the fields with a couple of people that didn’t have any place to call home, but they stuck more to the alleyway, and we were near a stand of trees. 

I had two brothers, who both looked more like papa, brownish tabby cats.  At least that is what mamma said.  I don’t really know for sure, because papa was almost always away on business and I can’t remember what he looked like.

I remember, one day was always like the next.  The sun would come up and people would come to the big building in front of us.  Momma said it used to be a warehouse, but some people converted it into office space.  Now there were people showing up there every morning like clockwork.  It would be noisy for fifteen minutes then quite for the rest of the day.  My brothers and I would spend the day running around playing in the grass, while Momma would go out hunting for food.  In the afternoon, it would rain, and we would go to our hiding spot near the alley to keep dry.  As soon as the rain would stop the people would come out making a lot of noise then go home.

One day, Momma gathered us together under the trees and sat us down.  She told us all about humans.

“Be very careful around the humans,” she started to tell us.  I listened intently, but my brothers not so much.  They kept goofing around poking each other and giggling.  Momma was getting agitated.

“Listen to me boys!” she yelled at them.  It worked, but only temporarily.

“The humans will try to be your friend.  They will bring you food and try to touch you.  ‘Trust me’ they will say, but don’t trust them.  They are just trying to trick you.  Eventually, they will turn you into the Kitty Keeper.” She said, with a serious scowl on her face.

“Who is the Kitty Keeper?” I asked with a gulp. 

“The Kitty Keeper is the monster that the humans call after they have tricked you.  The Kitty Keeper will come when you least expect it.  The Keeper will convince you that he is your friend.  It starts with food, then it turns to petting, and just when you trust the Kitty Keeper, pow!  He will snatch you and take you away from your family and friends.” Momma said with a threateningly serious tone to her voice.

“What happens when the Kitty Keeper gets you?” I squeaked.

“Your Uncle Greyson is the only cat that I know of that was caught by the Kitty Keeper and escaped.  He was never the same when he came back,” Momma said with a far off look on her face.

“Momma, I am scared” I squealed.

“You should be.  They cut off the tip of his ear and did other things to him.  He was distant and not interested in dating after that.  Poor cat,” Mamma tsked.

A raindrop fell from the sky and landed right on the tip of my nose. 

“Take cover kids,” Momma yelled, just as the sky opened up and the afternoon deluge of rain began.

Yikes!

“That sounds pretty painful,” Rapi said with a half groan, sweat formed on his brow.  I couldn’t help but giggle at him.

“This Kitty Keeper person sounds like a real jerk!” Cindee growled.

“He is,” I agreed with her.

“If he comes near any of you, I will bite him,” she promised, her voice filled with resolve.  I felt relief, and for a moment, a little surprised.  I didn’t know that Cindee cared about me enough to protect me.  Rapi stood and ambled over to Cindee and gently mashed his body against hers in gratitude. 

I looked over at Yehudi.  She sat there with a bewildered expression.  I studied her for a moment before questioning her.

“What’s wrong Yehudi?” I asked.

“I don’t really know,” she answered back.

“There is something about this Kitty Keeper that is bothering me,” she said thoughtfully.

“Maybe it’s that he is a catnapper,” Rapi added, slightly irritated by the thought of the Kitty Keeper.

“Maybe,” Yehudi agreed.

Everyone fell silent, and looked at me, waiting for me to go on with the story.

The rain had subsided …

and the sun was peeking out from behind a big white puffy cloud.  A rainbow arched across the blue sky.  It was one of the prettiest things I had ever seen.   

I curled up to my Momma.  She looked down into my face and smiled.  Momma had the most wonderful look in her eyes.  Then she leaned down and started to clean my head.  I simply loved the feel of her rough tongue running through my hairs.  It was so relaxing and calming.  I swear, it was a feeling that I would never forget for as long as I lived.

My eyes began to feel heavy and my brain was foggy.  I was going to that place called dreamland again.  I fought as hard as I could.  Just as I was about to lose my battle, the tall grass off to our left began to shift and rustle a little.  Then a giant metal box fell from the sky, landing gently on the ground less than ten feet in front of us.

“Scatter!” Momma yelled.  We all ran in different directions to find little hiding places that we could duck in for cover.

I hid behind the tree with my eyes closed and willed myself to keep still.  Time passed so slowly.  I opened my eyes and peered around the base of the tree, hoping to catch a glimpse of what was happening. 

The metal box was still sitting there.  The most delicious smell of tuna was coming from it.  My tummy grumbled loudly.  For a second, I was afraid the noise had given me away. I inched forward so I could get a better look at the box and was surprised to see Momma sniffing around the opening. 

Slowly, she put a paw in testing the ground.  Nothing happened.  I took a deep breath and watched as she tiptoed inside the box.  She stopped and looked around, then put her nose to the ground and slowly edged forward.  At the end was a bowl.  That must be where the delicious smell was coming from.  Momma was just about there.  She must be going to grab it and bring it back home for us for dinner.

Snap!  The mouth on the metal box slammed shut swallowing Momma up.  She was trapped inside, unable to escape.

A big blanket fell over the box, then the blanket and box began to rise off the ground.  Momma was yelling.  The last words she would ever say to us were …

“It’s the Kitty Keeper!  Stay safe my little ones!  I love you!”

A silent hush fell over the field.  Momma was gone.  The world went blurry, as my eyes teared up.  I whimpered quietly.  I was just about to come out of hiding to find my brothers when another giant box fell from the sky.

That son of a …

“Don’t say it,” Cindee warned Rapi.

“Sorry, but that Kitty Keeper makes me so mad!” he grumbled, obviously shaken. 

“Yeah,” Yehudi agreed, her voice trailing off, one eye bigger than the other and one eyebrow up.  She looked a little deranged.

“I am so glad there is no Doggy Keeper,” Cindee said, her eyes taking on that sad quality that they had. 

“It’s just not right,” Rapi said.

“I am afraid to ask about that second box,” Cindee said, fighting back tears.  I forced a smile and continued.

They goof around too much …

And in the end, they paid for it.  Less than fifteen minutes after that second box landed on the ground my two misfit brothers wandered into the box and suffered the same fate that Momma had.

I watched in terror as the box rose into the sky, the sound of their cries faded into the air.  Just like Momma, they were gone from my life.  I was an orphan, left all alone to hide behind my tree. 

I fell to the ground and started wailing loudly.  My whole family was gone, and I no longer cared if the Kitty Keeper came back for me too.  My life was over.

Sometimes, you need to be careful what you wish for.  My Momma never taught me that.  Just a few minutes later the tall grass I was hiding in started to bend and sway.  I tried to stop crying but couldn’t.

I heard it before I saw it. 

“Mio Dios, poor thing!” the woman’s voice said.  I couldn’t bare to open my eyes to look.  I felt her warm hand gently close around my tiny body.  I opened my eyes and panicked as the ground moved farther and father away. 

The woman pulled me close to her body and snuggled me.  She looked into my eyes.  She had caramel colored skin, long black hair, a slender face and honey brown eyes. 

“Don’t cry baby, you are safe with me,” she cooed with a smile.

“You can’t trust a human,” Momma’s words came back to me.  It was hard though because this woman was so nice to me.  We went inside the office building where I met many humans that day.  They all looked at me and took turns holding me.  Fortunately, nobody tried to eat me.  But nobody was able to give me a home.  They were just about to take me to a place called a school and set me free there when someone brought a bald man to meet me.  He turned out to be Daddy, and he took me home to meet Mommy.

“Holy Cow …

I got it!” Yehudi yelled.  We all turned to stare at the crazy little black cat sitting on the edge of the bed.

“I know who the Kitty Keeper is!” she exclaimed.

“How could you know that,” Rapi asked.

“Because I was Kitty Kept,” she said, not really making much sense.  She sat there, her whiskers twitching and her eyes blinking rapidly.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.  She huffed out a sigh, as if it should have been plain as day to all of us.

“I know all about the metal box, because I was trapped in one.” Yehudi explained. 

“You are mistaken you silly cat, Mommy and Daddy brought you home,” Rapi corrected her.

“I know Mommy and Daddy brought me home, and I am not silly.  Don’t you get it?  Mommy and Daddy are the Kitty Keeper,” Yehudi dropped the bomb shell on us.

“What?” I said.

“You are crazy,” Rapi scolded her.

“I can prove it.  Follow me!” Yehudi shouted.  She jumped off the bed and sprinted for the guest room.  We looked at each other quizzically.

“Well, let’s follow her,” Cindee said as she stood and hopped of the bed.  The rest of us followed quickly behind.  We chased her to the guest room and found her pawing at the closet door.

“Let me help you,” Cindee said.  The big brown dog leaned forward and nudged the door open.  Inside Yehudi pulled frantically at a pile of blankets.

“Help me Cindee,” she pleaded.  Cindee leaned forward and grabbed hold of the blankets and moved them out of the way one at a time.  Once the last blanket had been removed a long rectangular metal box came into view.  My mouth dropped open and my eyes glazed over.

“Is that the box,” Yehudi asked.  Rapi and Cindee stared at me waiting for an answer.

“It is,” I replied dumbfounded.

“I can’t believe it.  Mommy and Daddy are the Kitty Keeper,” Rapi said stunned.

Hold on a second ..,

“I can explain the box,” Cindee said.

“I was with Mommy and Daddy when they used it,” she explained.  Rapi and I gasped.

“It is true they use the box to catch kitties.  But there is a reason for it.  I have seen them catch sick kitties and take them to the doctors.  I have also been with them when they catch Mommy and Daddy cats like yours Bella.  They take the parents to the doctor so they can have a surgery done so they don’t make so many babies.  Sometimes, they even catch babies to help them find forever homes because it is not safe for them to grow up on the streets.”

“But my brothers,” I asked.

“They probably have a forever home just like you,” Cindee said with a smile.

“and you … and you,” she continued nodding at Rapi and Yehudi.

“and me,” she added.

“Wow, that’s pretty cool,” Yehudi said, realizing being kitty kept was a good thing.  I nodded in agreement. 

“What is that noise,” Yehudi asked.  The rest of us looked at each other.

“That’s beautiful music, Yehudi,” I answered.

“Yuck,” Yehudi said before getting up and wandering off.  As for the rest of us, we sat and listened peacefully to the sounds of bossa nova dance through the house, content in knowing the truth behind the secret of the Kitty Keeper!

Author: Bella

I am a shy introvert, who is very particular about my friends, but once we are friends, I am loyal to the end!

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