Here is a short excerpt from FLAT CATS, the story of a partially sighted young girl whose life is dramatically changed when her family adopts two unusual cats from the cat shelter. The e-book is FREE to download until 13 April, (using code GZ57G at checkout), see https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477616.
There were hundreds of cats to choose from at the Shelter. I had to stand really close to the cages in order to be able to see them. The attendant suggested that I shouldn’t get too close as I might get scratched. Gemma smirked; her own nose was almost touching a cage containing a large, bedraggled cat. Dad pulled her away just in time as the animal gave an angry growl and lashed out at the bars.
“He’s been running loose for some time, gone quite feral I’m afraid.” The attendant said with a weak smile, “He’ll need a lot of handling before he’s fit for re-housing, if ever.” she sighed “He’ll need to go to people used to cats. We wouldn’t let him go to anyone with children.”
“He’s not nice anyway; I wouldn’t want one like that.” Gemma pouted and then smiled sweetly, “Don’t you have any smaller ones?”
“Gemma, no kittens; remember?”
“But Mum, I don’t like any of the big ones.”
“No kittens.” Dad gave Mum a look that said, ‘don’t weaken’ before turning to me, “Have you seen any that you like, Caitlin.”
“I can choose, not Caitlin, you promised;” whinged Gemma.
“I can’t really see them properly. I did manage to get a close look close at the cage by the entrance; it had two cats in it. They both seemed very friendly. One of them rubbed up against the bars as if asking to be stroked.”
“Oh, they’re a lovely pair,” the attendants quickly agreed, “but I’m afraid we need to re-house them as a pair. They’re sisters you see, been together from birth. They were owned by an elderly lady who has had to go into a home. We promised to re-house them together.”
“Shame,” Gemma said, turning away and not sounding at all sorry. She moved on to the cages containing kittens, “Oh, look at this one, Mum, isn’t it sweet?”
I turned away. I couldn’t stand to watch Mum and Dad cave in to Gemma’s wheedling, as I knew they would. I wanted to take another look at the quiet pair. I put my face right up against the bars. The cat that had come up to me earlier did so again, followed a moment later by her sister. They had glossy, smooth coats, which to my eyes was a mixture of dark and light fur. One cat had a light face and very large, bright eyes; the other had paler eyes and a large dark patch right across her nose. I thought them both beautiful. As they rubbed up against the bars, purring loudly, their fur tickled my cheek. Suddenly, I had the feeling of being watched.
“My goodness young lady, but Chloe and Cleo do seem have taken a shine to you.”
I turned and could just make out a smartly dressed, older man. He had a kindly face and eyes that twinkled when he smiled.
“Is that what they’re called, Chloe and Cleo?”
“Which is which?”
Cleo’s the pretty, nervous one. Chloe has the dark patch across her nose; and of course only three legs.”
“Only three legs? Oh, poor Chloe,” I said, reaching through the bars to stroke her. Her purring grew louder and as it did I seemed to hear a voice inside my head – or rather I didn’t hear it, I felt it. I must have jumped because the man looked surprised,
“She won’t hurt you.” he said, thinking that I was afraid of her.
“I know she won’t. It was just that I thought that she spoke to me.” I blushed at the silliness of what I’d said and looked away, feeling totally embarrassed. How stupid, of course she hadn’t spoken to me. How could she? She was a cat.
“Did she now?” The man looked pleased and not at all as if I’d said something stupid, “Not many people are able to hear them,” he said, “it takes a very special person.” His face split into a wide grin, “Are you here to adopt a cat?” He asked.
“Yes, but my sister’s doing the choosing. Anyway, even if she wasn’t, these two are to be kept together and Mum and Dad would never agree to take them both.”
“Would you like to have them?” He asked; his eyes twinkling so much that they almost seemed to dance. I nodded, “Well then, we’ll have to see what we can do, won’t we?
I still don’t know how it happened; one minute Gemma was cooing over a bunch of kittens, the next Chloe and Cleo were in her arms.
“Oh please, please, can’t we have them both?” she begged, fluttering her eyes and putting on her cringingly awful ‘I’m only a baby’ expression. In that instance I knew that was it; both cats were coming home with us – Beth just wasn’t going to believe it!
On the way home Dad placed Chloe on my knee whilst Gemma cuddled Cleo. As the car began to speed up I sensed the voice inside my head again,
“Thank you,” said a purry voice.
“Goodness, that one you’ve got Caitlin has a very loud purr; I can hear it from here,” Mum spoke from the front seat of the car. I couldn’t see her face but felt sure that she still wore the bemused expression she’d had at the shelter; the one that said she couldn’t believe that she had actually agreed to take both animals, especially as one of them only had three legs.
“You’re welcome, Chloe,” I answered inside my head and felt her nuzzle my chin as her claws alternatively clenched and unclenched on my lap. A soothing sensation flowed through me; a feeling of contentment such as I’d never known before