Piggy Finds a Home

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

From unwanted and unloved to social diva. Piggy's story will touch you and stay with you for a long time.

 

Sunshine filters through the screened window, warming my whiskers. I look over at Matt, blinking in the slow, lazy way cats do, showing him how much I adore him. I watch him at his most favorite of pastimes: computer editing. My adopted sister cat, Goober, runs amok--sliding on the hardwood floors, enthralled by a squeaky feather toy which has long since been silenced. She’s a whirlwind of tiger-striped fur, young and vibrant. I’m a bit older, and more settled.

Goober jumps onto the windowsill gently prodding me with her paw--her invitation to playtime. I look away. Not now little sister. I have more serious thoughts on my mind.

Last night, Matt found old paperwork while digging through a filing cabinet in his room. I watched several emotions cross his face as he studied the documents: sadness, and then anger.

“These are your adoption papers,” he said to me. I peered over his shoulder and saw an old black and white photo of a cat looking back at me. I realized this was me a long time ago. “Muffin.” I hardly remember the name and a shiver runs through me. I was so thin at the time. Thin, neglected, and abandoned. Another memory comes to mind, one I don’t linger on too long: a hand raised in anger toward me.

Many years have separated me from that time. Years, and the love of one good man, my human, Matt. This moment is one of sweet, twittering birdies, crunchy tuna treats, and a fluffy, warm bed. I am a cat who is fortunate indeed.

“Piggy!” Matt calls out, and I shake myself back into the present. “Piggy, look,” Matt says as he points to the computer screen. “You have over eighteen-thousand ‘Likes’ on your Facebook page. That’s quite an accomplishment.” He walks over to me and scoops me from my perch, petting my head and scratching the spot behind my ears. Purr…my tail goes limp, paws tingling with ecstasy. Oh purrrr!

Eighteen- thousand. Not bad for a cat who was once unwanted.

Matt sits back down, cradling me like a baby, and I snuggle into the familiar scent of his sweatshirt, safe in his arms. Goober crawls underneath the computer chair, tickling Matt’s legs with her paws. He bends to pet her with the hand that’s not supporting me, while the contented sound of my purring warms the silence of the room.

“You’re a Facebook diva,” Matt says, scrolling through the photos on my page. I have no idea what these words mean, but I consider them compliments because the smile on his face is huge and his happiness, evident. Picture after picture of such good memories: Matt and me making funny faces after a morning of play. Catnip-induced smirks upon the faces of my sister and I after a romp with new toy mice. My paw dipping into a dessert Matt left at his computer. Our little family.

I drift toward sleep, content on my human’s lap, but the name Muffin once again comes to mind. And when sleep overtakes me, dreams and memories take me along with them.

***

The little girl found me shivering outside her house. Alone and frightened, I’d wandered out of the woods, still confused from the recent events that had led me there. Only a week before, I’d lost my human companion, the kindly old man who’d brought me into his home and then into his heart. His grown children had shown up one day and taken him from me. They said he wasn’t fit to live alone any longer.

One of them tried approaching me, and I’d bolted straight out the front door and into the woods behind the house. That’s where I watched and waited, scared and confused, hoping my companion would return. And when days had gone by with no sign of him, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d never see him again.

The little girl approached me and then picked me up. “Ooh, another kitty,” she squealed. “Velvet’s gonna love you.”  The child, grimy from many days’ worth of dirt, brought me into her home. A place of utter chaos, a place where I would learn that the sting of a raised hand meant business.

***

I shivered, huddling in the corner of a damp, musty basement, the feel of cold cement underneath the pads of my paws. I had run to the sanctuary of the lowest level to escape the deafening sounds of the humans. A fight had broken out between the man and woman once again, and I knew to steer clear of them during these times.

I lay there looking over at the other cat, Velvet, who’d been my companion, my sister through it all. She laid her head onto her paws and sighed, closing her eyes as if blocking out the tumult above.

My belly rumbled with hunger, and I crept forward to poke my paw at the upended plastic water bowl. Our food dish, an antique china saucer laid broken in two with the remnants of the last meal crusted on the edges.

Velvet looked up, her eyes huge and sad. I couldn’t remember the last time we’d eaten. I knew she was hungry too, and I wished there was something I could do to comfort her. She counted on me and I’d become her protector, motherly when she needed it most.

Sludgy water trickled slowly into a drain on the basement floor from a leak in the old washtubs. I moved forward to the puddle, lapping up the filthy liquid, and then retching it right back up.

I joined Velvet, curling next to her soft coat, and we both fell into fitful slumber.

When I awoke the next morning, I noticed there weren’t any of the usual chaotic morning sounds. The humans were silent.

Weak from hunger and thirst, I could barely move. Velvet looked at me, sleepy eyes filled with questions.

I waited and still heard nothing. Curiosity got the better of me, and with the last of my strength, I mounted the rickety staircase, leaving Velvet behind. What I saw in the rooms above made my fur stand on end. The house stood in complete disarray. No sign of any of the humans. Closet doors stood open and empty.

They left us? I took a moment to process this thought. Surely someone will be back. I remembered talk of the woman threatening to leave the man and take all those kids with her.

I walked through the remainder of the place Velvet and I called home. Poking my whiskers into bedrooms, slithering into open closets, I could find nothing that gave a clue to what had gone on.

Back in the kitchen, I hopped onto the counter and found a skillet of cold, congealed bacon sitting on top of the stove. I called to Velvet and we both picked at the old, tasteless meal. Afterward, we washed each other’s coats, and then curled together on the threadbare rug in the corner of the kitchen.

Several days went by with no sign of the family we’d lived with. I’d known fear before, but nothing had come close to the realization that hunger brought. My stomach rumbled constantly, and Velvet began to look thin and sickly. Looking to the sky one evening as I sat on the windowsill of the living room, I closed my eyes with a wish and a prayer and then fell into a dreamless sleep.

A rap at the living room window the next morning woke me, and the puzzled face of the mail carrier peered into the house. I heard him call out, “Hello, is anyone there?”  I stretched out, reached up and scratched at the grimy glass with my paws startling him. “My goodness, are you alone in there, kitty?”

I yowled, scratching at the glass more feverishly. Come on mister, what’s it going to take? A neon sign perhaps?

A few hours later, Velvet and I were scooped into cat carriers—something I still can’t abide to this day—and escorted from the place we’d once called home. The mail carrier took us to a veterinarian’s office. I heard him telling the girl at the front desk, “You shoulda seen the filth in that home. Stuff everywhere and not a drop of food or water for these two poor cats.”

The days went by in a blur, doctors and nurses poking and prodding us, but there was plenty to eat and drink, and no shortage of cat kibble and fresh water.

When our health improved, we were taken to a shelter, Animal Friends, with a big sign on our cage: Must be adopted together. I’d heard the vet and his assistant talking one day: “These two can’t be separated especially after all they’ve been through with each other.”

Animal Friends was full of surprises. I’d never been around so many different varieties of cats, but there were other animals as well. Guinea Pigs squeaked in their cages, showing off their portly little bodies and whimsical skills. Bunnies scampered around their pen, their fluffy little cotton tails wiggling. The dogs were the most annoying of all. I didn’t care for the constant yap, yap, yap of the wiry terrier nearby. When nobody else was looking, I let loose my best snake-like hiss to try and scare the “yip” right out of him, but to no avail.

A parade of people came and went, some pausing longer than others to look at me and Velvet. Hands poked into our cage--little kids with sticky- sweet fingers that smelled good enough to lick, and others that carried the scent of their own pets which I shied away from. Nobody appealed to me.

A big man with a kind voice came by one day. He spoke softly to me and Velvet, and took time to read our sign. I heard him muttering something under his breath about misfits and rejection. When he reached into our cage, he stroked me gently, doing the same with my sister. All the while he kept talking to us, telling us what nice kitties we were. It didn’t take him long to call the clerk over to let him know he wanted us. He could have picked Fiona, the prissy gray cat with the luxurious fur, or Sadie, the fetching blue-eyed Siamese. Surely there were many other cats there with gorgeous coats and darling personalities. I wasn’t a stunning cat. As a domestic shorthair I’d always felt quite ordinary. I was shy and a little backward from all I’d gone through. But this man had seen something in me, something beautiful and valuable.

Of course I couldn’t help but wonder if he might be like the others. Could we trust him? And if I liked him, would he also be taken from me as my first human companion had been?

The man turned out to be Matt’s Uncle Rick who’d been looking for two cats to adopt. Since he worked with special needs children, he knew a thing or two about kindness and patience. He took us to a cozy home that night, and it was there I met Matt, his nephew, a skinny fellow with a warm smile.

The two of them stood looking at me and Velvet, plying us with tasty food, fresh water and an assortment of cat toys.

 “I think the first thing we’ll do, is to re-name you girls,” Rick said.

 He pointed to Velvet. “Your gray coat reminds me of a comic book character I always liked. I think we’ll call you The Vision.” Velvet blinked her golden eyes in response and sidled up to Rick.

“Now you,” he said, indicating me, “I’m not so sure yet. Let’s see if a name presents itself. How does that sound?”

I didn’t care. Call me anything you want, but please don’t call me late for dinner! I had developed a very fond relationship with food. I couldn’t get enough. Bowls in this house were always filled to the brim with tuna cat chow. Treats were even more wonderful. When one of the humans took the treat bag off the counter, the crinkly sound would send me into spasms of kitty ecstasy.

Two weeks went by. Rick and Matt spent time with “Vision” the cat and me. Rick peered at me thoughtfully, a smirk lighting up his eyes.

 “Well, I believe we’ve come up with a name for you, he said, patting my head and stifling a chuckle. “I think we’ll call you Piggy. You have a pink pig nose, and well, er, you seem to have gained quite a bit of weight already.”

Piggy indeed! Well, if that’s what they wanted to call me, fine. Just keep the food and snacks coming, my friends, and I’d answer to anything.

Life settled into a pleasurable routine with these two young men. I enjoyed venturing into nooks and crannies in my new home. That is when I found that I bonded the most with Matt. His bedroom was in the basement, a small, low-lit room. I liked the cozy feeling in there, but mostly I liked Matt. He was a good sort, always in a happy mood with a nice, smiling face. He took extra time to cuddle with me or play, laughing whenever I did something he found amusing. Who knew that dipping my paw into the popcorn kernels in his snack bowl could be so funny or that his shoelaces would provide hours of entertainment for us both? Or that the paperwork he sometimes laid on his bed and the sound when I attacked it would be so hilarious to him? He was studying video editing and he began shooting videos of me and my antics.

Nighttime was my favorite--the soft blankets on Matt’s bed, our special snuggle time and hearing Matt talk about his hopes and dreams for the future. I could listen to him for hours, falling asleep in the crook of his arm.

A couple of years flew by, and Vision and I were as content as cats could be. Something bothered me though. Vision had begun to lose weight once again. The spark in her eyes began to dim, and she slept more than ever. It was about this time that Matt took her to the veterinary clinic. They returned home a little quiet. Vision curled under our dining room table, unable to move, and hardly able to eat. I tried enticing her to play. I lay by her side, hoping she’d snap out of whatever was bothering her, but after a few weeks, I saw Matt take Vision away again. This time she never returned.

We’d been a team, inseparable. I wanted her back. I missed the lovely velvet cat I’d come to know as my sister. We’d been through so much together and now she was gone. With my heart broken, I reached out to Matt for comfort during this time, completely trusting him.

***

I awake, shaking myself from the long dream and memories, clearing my head. Matt gets up from his computer chair and lays me on his bed. Goober runs between his legs, making that little trilling sound when she wants to play. Matt chases her around the room while I sit watching them. Sticking my toes into the air, I begin licking my glorious white fur, extra careful to clean between the pads of my paws. Goober flies onto the bed, and I lay a paw over her back, pinning her down. I run my sandpaper tongue over my paw and wash cobwebs and dust from my adopted sister’s coat. Who knows where she’s been-- perhaps in the basement behind the furnace, poking her whiskers into places she shouldn’t. Little by little Goober relaxes and begins to drift off to sleep, a content cat smile on her face as she relishes my grooming.

I glance over at Matt’s computer screen, stifling a kitty chuckle. It’s not easy being known as a Facebook diva and opinionated puss. It takes work, lots of work. Matt still films me, but in the last several years, he’s been filming himself too. He’s become a YouTube celebrity! His years of video editing and camera skills have paid off. Matt makes family- friendly arcade videos for children and their parents. He plays what he calls “claw machines” also known as crane games. You see them in arcades in malls and amusement parks--the big glass-encased games lit all the way around with sparkly lights, playing silly music and stuffed with prizes and plush toys. Matt purchased his own machine, and well, let me tell you a little more . . .

Matt and I moved out about a year after Vision went to the place that humans call the Rainbow Bridge. He’d grown older and wanted a home of his own. Although Uncle Rick had been wonderful, and we were both grateful for all he’d done, there was never a question where my loyalty lay. I was Matt’s cat now and would be going with him.

The new house had even more rooms to explore and lots of windows with a panorama of outdoor activity for me to watch. Birds flitted from branch to branch in tall trees and then flew away, filling the air with songs. Colorful butterflies and striped honey- bees floated past, their erratic patterns almost dizzying. I sat on the windowsill in Matt’s room for hours, late into the night, amused by all that nature offered.

The day the first arcade machine arrived, I thought Matt would burst with joy. An enormous truck pulled up in front of our home. I watched from the bedroom window as he greeted the man who got out of it. After signing several papers, they loaded a huge piece of equipment onto a wheeled dolly. I heard our front door open, and then hid under the bed for hours to escape the racket they made while they brought that contraption into the house. Later, when I emerged, curious and brave, I crept down the stairs to our game room and saw it. Matt shined the glass, tinkered with the electronic coin mechanism, and then loaded boxes full of small stuffed animals into the machine. He practiced on it for hours while I watched him, honestly a little indifferent to the whole thing.

 “Piggy, this is our future,” he told me.

I gave him a look.  I don’t care about the future, Matt, just remember the present. I’m on a strict schedule here. It’s suppertime, pal.

Matt sat watching me. He asked if I was happy. I rubbed in and out of his legs revving up my best purr, hoping this would be the answer he needed. He told me there would be a surprise for me now since I’d been such a good girl. It would arrive in a few days. I loved surprises since they were usually in the form of a new toy, blanket, or tasty treat, so I waited with anticipation.

The big day arrived. Matt walked into the living room with a cardboard box. I sniffed the air, my delicate nose working, when an unusual scent caught my attention. The box began to meow and Matt lifted a tiny grey-striped kitten from it. I backed up and hissed. Uh, Matt, if this is the surprise, then I think I’d rather not.

The new kitten was rambunctious and playful. I can’t say I liked her much at first. But Matt knew me better than I knew myself. He’d sensed my loneliness, and had seen how I thrived when I had another cat to look after--how motherly I’d always been. We named the kitten Goober, which is another name for little peanut.

Matt’s YouTube popularity began picking up more and more. Families everywhere watched Matt’s videos, even those living in other countries. He taught excellent tips on winning at the claw machines and other games, and with his fun, quirky personality, the people loved him. He filmed me and Goober too, always luring us to the camera with some zany stunt.

Fan mail and little gifts began pouring in. Kids would send drawings of the prizes they won. Nothing was better, however, than when the fan mail began to come for me! Little toys, drawings, and occasional bags of cat treats started to arrive. Matt decided to create a Facebook page for me, and his mom, Karen, who is a writer, started to post my thoughts and photos of my antics daily.

It’s fun interacting with all the comments on my page. I like making people laugh, and have developed a quirky cat persona as a food connoisseur. I am not opposed to a little humor regarding my girlish figure either. Many gentleman cats have tried courting me and approve of the way I look. I am living proof a girl doesn’t have to have the perfect shape to have a slew of tomcats at her doorstep. I like a good meal, and I’m not afraid to talk about it.

I enjoy humor most of all, and have penned a few poems in my day. I’d like to share my most popular one with you called Piggy’s Ode to Food:

Today I’m not quite in the mood,

May I just have a little food?

A little treat to tide me over,

A little snack for me and Rover.

Hey, I mentioned a dog, but we don’t have one,

Oh well, why not, he’d be such fun.

I wouldn’t care who came over today,

I’d share my food, we’d laugh and play.

So human, please don’t make me sick,

Get me some treats, and be real quick.

You take too long, this cat is done.

So hop to it now, to the kitchen, run!

I’m waiting here with bated breath,

I’ll fall over and starve to death.

Some crunchies please and I’ll stop whining,

I’ll sit at the table and I’ll be dining.

Okay, enough, as you see I’m tired,

I’ve written too much and now I’m wired.

I’ll let you know when it’s time to eat,

Peace out, phew…now, this cat is beat.

There’s so much seriousness in this hurting world. Matt and I like to think that if we can brighten just one day or at least a few hours for a child or her family, then we are doing something worthwhile.

***

The house is quiet, nighttime has fallen. Matt turns on the small lamps and nightlights in each room and a cozy glow surrounds us. We are in the living room now, and Matt settles into an overstuffed chair, his new video game system on his lap. Goober is washing, gliding a slender tiger paw over her face while I look over Matt’s shoulder, watching a computer screen where colorful cartoonish figures jump around a make-believe landscape.

Matt shakes the treat bag sitting next to him, and Goober stops. Her little head pops up and she makes that cute cooing sound. I instantly come alert and meow my loudest just to be sure Matt doesn’t pass me by.

I know better. I am treated like a special princess. I think about the less fortunate cats in the world, ones I see on other Facebook pages in the cat community. The ferals, blind cats, three-legged cats, and I pause giving a moment of thankfulness for who I am and where I am in this moment in time. Once neglected, abandoned, and unloved, I cannot help but feel gratitude for the circumstances that have led me on my journey.

I still miss my sister Vision, but I know I’ll see her again someday at the Rainbow Bridge. There, we will frolic and play and the tuna will flow freely. There, we will be reunited with other loved ones; our momma cats who we don’t even remember now, and our litter sisters and brothers.

As I crunch into the treat, I look into Matt’s eyes. What I see warms me to the tip of my pink Piggy nose. I see true, unconditional love.

 

 


Submitted: October 19, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Karen L Malena. All rights reserved.

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Comments

88 fingers

Very good story. I enjoyed it very much.

Tue, October 20th, 2020 2:25am

niah

Telling it from the cat prospective was a brilliant well written and entertaining.

Tue, October 20th, 2020 8:59am

Nevidomo Istoriya

Very powerful story and also fun to read.

Tue, October 20th, 2020 11:12am

Elise Pannon

Great story from a cat's perspective!!!

Wed, October 28th, 2020 1:40pm

Tashi Nejat

Wow! I love how you wrote the story. The fact that it was written in a cat's perspective made it even more interesting (I might write a really long comment because this is my first time commenting on something on this website). The story matched my reading level exactly, since there were a few words I didn't understand, so I had to reread the sentence it was in. The story is super detailed as well, and I LOVE detailed stories. Lots of the books I have read are too easy, and at first I thought this one would be too! But I really shouldn't judge a book I've never read! It's amazing work, and it looks like you spent some time and thought into it. I haven't checked out your profile yet, so I don't know if you have any other stories, but if you do, I can't wait to read them! You are an amazing author, and I hope that I am, someday, as good as you!
Also, cats are my favorite animals! I have a cat that was once a stray.
I'm going to check out your profile as soon as I finish typing this comment! I really want to see if you have others stories. And if you do, I'm going to start reading them!

Mon, November 16th, 2020 10:05pm

Author
Reply

Thank you so much for your wonderful post on my Piggy Finds a Home story. I love writing and did put a lot of thought into this one. I have several other stories on this site and also have several published books. I wish you lots of success! Thank you again for your words!

Mon, November 16th, 2020 3:22pm

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