I’m the only cat in the entire shelter. There were only big, loud, smelly dogs. They didn’t even know how to groom themselves! I wasn’t what you considered the youngest cat, but I definitely wasn’t the oldest. I loved playing outside, but even stranger with water. It’d been my dream ever since I was a kitten to sail the seas. To feel the fresh sea air in my coat.
But no. That dream died when they dumped me here at the Sandy Valley Animal Shelter. Dogs left and right, literally. My cage was next to two yapping Chinchilla's who never stopped yapping. If I could I’d bite my ears off. Instead I stuff them under my bed.
Whenever there was a new puppy in the shelter I always tried to teach them how to be a cat. How to walk like one. How to act like one. And even how to bathe like one. But that never worked. I gave up after the sixth attempt.
The worst part of it is when I’m walking around in the grass and I accidentally step in dog dung. It tastes the worst. I was sick for days after I cleaned my paw off.
Another part of being the only cat in the shelter is I handle all of the fights and quarrels. Whether it was over the squirrel toy, or the last treat in the bag. I solved it, found another squirrel toy buried or as simple as splitting the treat in half. It wasn’t the most enjoyable job, but it was something that had to be done.
Early in the morning I was sitting on the fence, watching the sun starting to creep over the horizon. The warmth flooded over my body, warming me from the tips of my ears to the tip of my tail.
I sat up, stretching when I noticed two dogs, who I had never seen before. They seemed to be in an argument. I yawned, deciding I’d wait and watch what would happen and if it escalated too much I’d put a stop to it.
I leapt from the fence and landed softly in the grass. Eyes still on the two dogs, who had begun to growl. I crept closer and closer, listening to their conversation.
“I told you we shouldn’t have come here!” the Doberman scolded.
“Well guess what! We’re here now and you can’t go back!” the tiniest of Chinchilla's growled back.
“Watch me try!” yelled the Doberman. Things were now getting heated, both dogs were in the crouch position, ready to attack at any moment. Lips pulled back, revealing sharp pointed teeth. I decided it was time to intervene.
“Hey! What’s going on?” I asked, walking between the two dogs.
“None of your business,” the Chinchilla spat.
“Look, you’re new here. And it seems you don’t know a lot about this place so I’m going to let this slide once,” I cautioned.
“Oh no I’m so scared, a little puny cat threatening me. Oh whatever shall I do?” the Chinchilla said sarcastically. Now this dog has really pulled my tail. I let out a low hiss.
“Mind telling me what’s going on here before the claws get too far out,” I hissed.
“Sure, as long as it gets you off our butts,” the Chinchilla replied, “we wanted to get away from our owners, they always took us out on a boat, in the ocean. The smell disgusted us. There were fish smells everywhere. We had to get away, so we heard of this place and decided to run away and come here,”
“Wait, did you say the ocean?” I asked.
“Are you deaf or something? Of course I said ocean!” the Chinchilla said, annoyed. I didn’t care what he had to say. I had an opportunity to fulfill my dream!
“Is there any chance you can take me to your old owners?” I wondered.
“And why would you want to do that?” the Doberman interjected.
“I’ve always wanted to live in the ocean, feel the salt air in my fur, could you take me there?”
“It’s a pretty long way away, it took us over a week to get here, but I mean if you really really wanted to,”
“I do I do!”
The Doberman nodded, then looked at his companion, sending an unsaid message. The Chinchilla grunted in reply. My tail shot straight up in the air. I was ecstatic. I thanked the two and went back to my spot in the shelter and started gathering my things.
While I was putting my favorite toy in the cloth a young puppy came up to me, a sad expression on her face.
“Hey Luna, what’s up?” I asked.
“Is it true Cecila?” she whimpered.
“Is what true?”
“That you’re leaving us, for some silly sea boat,”
“Oh, yeah, why?”
“I don’t want you to leave!” Luna cried.
“Wait really?” I asked, surprised.
“You’re fun to play with and you never get mad at me when I jump on you!” she explained, but before I could ask any more questions she ran off. I sat there, shocked at what happened. I continued to pack my things, but only half-heartedly.
As I curled up in bed for the very last time in the shelter I thought of all the fun times I had had there. Like the one time when Layla had gotten nightmares and slept with me. Or the time when Maple had to wear a cone I helped her scratch her ears. And when Bagel’s puppies were being born I took over the watchdog (cat) position for him. I fell asleep, full with happy memories.
I woke up in the middle of the night to find Luna and Layla curled up next to me. I sighed, deciding it wasn’t worth waking them.
When it was time to get up, I had to wiggle out from between the two puppies. I stared sadly at them as I picked up my sac. I felt mixed feelings, sadness of leaving the only family Then I made a promise to come back and visit them.
I went into the grassy field and found the two dogs waiting for me. But behind them was the most amazing sight ever. Every dog, every puppy in the shelter was lined up with a sad expression on their faces. From the oldest pup, to the youngest one. They were all there. This beautiful sight brought tears to my eyes.
“G-guys, what’s going on?” I asked.
“We all wanted to say goodbye to you, you've been such a wonderful companion. You’ll always be family,” the oldest dog explained. This officially made up my mind.
“You don’t have to. I’m not leaving,” I announced. This was greeted by cheers and cries of joy. This was my home. It has always been and forever will be.