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I trudged up the hill to my house with Mom, Madison, and Cameron. We had just come from the pool and were dripping. About half way up, I noticed a pair of eyes.
“Hey Bubby,” I said. “Look at that cat!”
“Where?” asked Cameron. Across the road a fluffy grey and white cat was poking its head out of a large concrete pipe. It watched us intently; its eyes flickered toward every movement. I wanted to run over and pet it but it didn’t look too friendly, so I just kept walking.
A few days later the cat showed up a few houses down from us. That’s when I realized what she had been guarding. Four adorable kittens trailed behind her. The mother, whom we later named Sweetie, purred and rubbed up against people. Her kittens jumped around and wrestled.
“Awwww,” I cooed. “They’re so cute! Let’s go play with them.” Cameron, Connor, and I ran down to play with them. But as soon as we got there they ran away. I was kind of disappointed.
Connor had a storage unit in front of his house. The next day the cats had moved in. When Connor’s mom saw them, she told her officemate. She said that her officemate wanted one and asked us to feed them since we already had two cats. I decided that I would feed them since I love cats.
When an officemate of Connor’s mom arrived, Madison, Connor, and I tried to catch the kittens. We showed them to her and asked her what one she wanted. But Connor’s mom had gotten mixed up. When her officemate said she was interested she didn’t mean she wanted one right away. All of our hard work had been for nothing. We terrified the kittens too. Probably the only thing that kept them from leaving was the free food.
The flowerbed in front of the storage shed was also nice for a bunch of kittens. It had a crepe myrtle tree, an overgrown rose bush that resembled a tree, and a lot of weeds. It was the perfect playground. It was really fun to watch them too.
Every afternoon I sat in the driveway and watched them while I ate my lunch. Whatever food I didn’t want, or thought they would like, I flicked out of my bowl and over to them. One of the kittens cautiously tried to sniff my chair. I tried to pet him but he ran away. Sweetie on the other hand was a lot more trusting. She climbed right up on my lap and helped herself right out of my bowl.
Soon after, Cameron and I decided to name them. Mom told us not to get too attached to them but we named them anyway. The mom we named Sweetie, because she was so sweet. She was slender and had white fur with patches of gray, and walked around gracefully. The hardest part was naming the three identical black and white kittens. I named my favorite, Lucky. He had a patch of black that just covered his eyes. Bandit was mostly black with a few patches of white and Curious had a white spot right in the middle of his back. Last was the black kitten.
“I think we should name him ‘Panther’ since he’s all black,” I suggested.
“No, ‘Mysterious’ is way cooler,” said Cameron. We went with his idea.
But Sweetie had been getting into our neighbor’s trash and Mom said that we had to give them all to the humane society. Cameron and I were devastated. The next day I didn’t feed them so that they would be extra hungry. The day after, I put cheerios in a cat carrier and put it on our front step. All of the cats except Bandit crawled inside. I could tell Bandit wasn’t coming so I ran outside and closed the door. I carried the carrier into the car and we drove to the humane society. The whole time the cats screeched. I tried to calm them but nothing worked. This whole time the cats thought we were there friends and now we were abandoning them. The whole thing was heartbreaking.
But I still had Bandit to take care of. Now put yourself in Bandit’s place. Ever since you were born you have been struggling for survival. The only food you eat you have to beg for. When you finally find a loving home with free food and shelter your “friends” shove your family into a cage, toss them into a van like luggage, and drive away. Your family has been abducted and there is nothing you can do. In that terrifying instant you realize that you will never see your family again and that it will be a long time before you are ready to trust anyone. Understanding this I decided to take care of Bandit better than I cared for my own cats.
Obviously, he hated being alone, but he was also afraid of me. So I came up with a solution. I sat inside the house with the front door open but the screen door closed, while Bandit sat on the front step. This way he could be separated from me without being completely alone. I even found a way to play with him like this. I dangled a piece of yarn on my side of the door, while he danced around and tried to get it on his side.
Other days, I played outside with him, but there still wasn’t a lot I could do. This was one way I played with him that he really enjoyed. I went outside into the parking spot with one space in between us. I rolled a small ball up the hill toward him. He batted at it until it rolled back down to me. When I got it I rolled it back up and we would play this for a while.
That game in particular helped him to get more used to me. So much so, that he didn’t mind being around me, as long as he stayed out of arm’s reach. But he got over that pretty quickly. I brought lunch meat and held it out to him. Each time he took a piece I held the next one closer to me. By the end of the day he was okay with me. He even thought I was fun. He got used to my family and begged their attention when they were around. But if we weren’t around he cried at the door. He even got used to the van that had piteously removed his family.
But even Bandit had to go. Since he already trusted us he was easier to catch. That just made it all the more heartless. But I did have a heart and taking Bandit to the humane society was like crushing it all over again. This time, though, only Dad and I took him. We brought the cat carrier but I let Bandit walk around the backseat. He thought it was a new adventure, but the truth was that we disowned him. The whole car ride was torturous.
When we arrived, Dad took Bandit inside while I stayed in the car. I thought about all the fun I had with Bandit and Sweetie and the others. When Dad came back to the car I didn’t say anything. All I could think about was poor Bandit. He was locked up in a small cage in a dirty, smelly building filled with other animals that had been abandoned by their owners.
Every time I remember him my heart wants to break. I loved Bandit, and giving him up was one of the hardest things I have ever done. He had finally trusted and wanted me and then, out of nowhere we just left him. He didn’t see it coming. I wish I had never let him go. I loved him so much.