I walked slowly toward the farm. It was the fifth one I’d stepped onto today, and those other four had each been between long walks. I stumbled forward, tripping over my own feet. Mum had always called me clumsy. Maybe I was. Still, I was only a kitten. Just because I was snowy white and innocent-looking didn’t mean I was perfect.
“Hello?” I called.
There was no reply. I stopped for a moment, feeling especially dejected. The sun was sinking down below the ridge that rose up in the west. Was this farm deserted? Or, perhaps, did dogs live here? Even the thought of dogs couldn’t send a shiver through my weary heart at the moment. Nothing could bring me to be afraid after what I’d seen. After the horrors of watching my parents die.
I shook such thoughts out of my mind. I didn’t want to think of that. “Is anyone home?” My voice sounded as feeble as I felt.
“Hello? Who’s there? Is that you, Rambo?” A cat appeared out from behind a bush. His golden hair swayed slightly with the evening breeze.
I shivered. “Sir, I was wondering if you might have a place where I could stay.”
The cat looked at me. He wasn’t old, probably only a few months older than I. Still, to such a kitten like me that seemed ancient.
“Sir,” I started again.
“I-” he interrupted, then paused.
“Butch! Where are you?” A calico cat with a brilliant golden spot on her forehead stepped out from behind the bush. Her hair was elegant, almost glowing. She looked so much better than I, in my bedraggled state. I could tell from the look on her face that she was disgusted at the very sight of an orphan like me.
“What in the world are you?” the calico cat asked.
“I’m an orphan, ma’am.” I put on my best face, forcing a smile onto my lips. My act broke as a tear slipped down my cheek. I slumped to the ground.
“Oh dear! Is it wounded?” the calico cat asked, not moving or checking herself.
The golden cat stepped forward and nudged me gently. “You okay?”
I nodded weakly. “Just tired, sir.” I tried to remain as polite as possible, hoping against hope that they might allow me to stay here.
The golden cat turned back to his companion. “Just tired.”
“Great!” the calico cat purred. “Then it can move right along.” Her tail rose up in the air as she turned away.
“Spot,” the golden cat sighed, stopping her.
“I’m serious, Butch,” the calico cat, Spot, said. “We don’t have the facilities or the intelligence to take care of a kitten such as that. Well, Nelly might, but she has her paws full.” She turned to me. “I heard of a great place just down the creek. It’s a kitten orphanage, or something. Just the place for the likes of you.” Her tone was pleasant, but the words coming out still made me feel inferior.
“Yes ma’am,” I murmured, struggling to my feet. “Thank you, ma’am.”
Butch put up one more feeble effort. “Spot….”
I could tell Spot didn’t want me here, and the golden cat would only get in trouble for sticking up for me. “No sir, I’m really fine.”
Butch hesitated, then nodded slowly. “Okay.”I trundled on, passing through the yard and into the pasture. Then I walked beyond and followed the man-made path that spread out between the corn field and the creek. Somewhere ahead I would find the orphanage. Until then, just keep walking.