Jamie and I took the Puffy look-alike cat to the vet, along with her four kittens. I
wanted so badly to convince myself that she was Puffy. Maybe she was pregnant the last
time I saw her, which was about four weeks ago, but she simply was not showing that much.
That seemed odd, considering that she gave birth to four kittens, but they were all fairly
small. Besides, I read somewhere that pregnant cats don't really start to show until the
last few weeks of their pregnancy. So maybe it didn't happen until after she went missing.
It seemed like the most sensible thing to do was to wait a week or so and see whether I
was blessed with good luck. I was the one who carried the mother cat to the vet's, while
Jamie and my mom carried one kitten in each hand. All three of us stroked the mother cat
while she was on the examination table, to make her feel at ease. So if we all had good
luck in the days ahead, then that would convince us that this cat was indeed Puffy.
"If you want to take the mother cat and two of the kittens home," Jamie said, "then I
can take the other two kittens home."
We all went about our normal routines for the next week, but nothing wonderful
happened to any of us. Our sociology teacher graded the paper that Jamie and I turned in a
week ago, but I got a B minus and Jamie got a C plus. Neither of us aced it, which is what I
would have expected after stroking Puffy's long fur. My mom didn't have any good luck
either. As a matter of fact, it was just the opposite. She tripped and fell one day when she
was coming home with groceries in her arms, spraining her ankle and having to walk with
I looked at the mother cat one night while she was sleeping on my bed with two of the
kittens. "Who are you?" I whispered. "Did you lose your magical powers, Puffy?"
Maybe that was exactly what happened. Maybe this really was Puffy, but the strain of
giving birth to four kittens had drained all the magical powers right out of her body. Or
maybe she passed the good luck on to her kittens.
Or maybe we needed to stroke the KITTENS' fur now for good luck. If that was the case,
then our potential to find good luck had just multiplied by four! But wait a minute. We had
already stroked the kittens many times. So why no good luck?
I was getting a headache wondering about all of this when suddenly I heard a cat
yowling outside my bedroom window. Could that be Puffy at last? No, I never heard her yowl
before. Besides, this sounded like a male cat. His meow was deep and strong, almost
threatening. I hurried to the window and peered outside. A black cat was sitting on the lawn
in the backyard, right underneath my window. His sleek, shiny fur glowed in the moonlight.
He was looking up at me with wide green eyes that almost seemed to have fire swirling
around in them. He kept meowing loudly, almost frantically, as though he had a real purpose
for being there and didn't randomly choose my house. After several minutes had passed, I
was finally able to hush him before he woke my mom and our neighbors. But he did not
budge. He remained firmly planted on the lawn, as though I had something that he wanted
and I was not going to get rid of him that easily.
When I headed off to school that morning, he was gone. But that night he returned, and I
went through the same ritual with him. Could he be the kittens' father? Usually when a stray
cat got pregnant, the tomcat who did it to her was considered to be the feline version of a
"love 'em and leave 'em" kind of guy. But maybe that wasn't the case here. After all, Puffy
did have a certain charm about her. Maybe this guy decided to stick around and be a good
mate to her and a loving father to the kittens. All this time that we were trying to solve the
Puffy mystery, maybe he was on a mission of his own because we had taken Puffy and his
children away from him! He did have an angry, don't-mess-with-me look in his eyes when he
was yowling outside my window. Maybe we needed to bring his little family back to the
cherry blossom tree, where we found them.
But that meant I would have to say goodbye to Puffy, if the mother cat was indeed the
cat that I had grown to love over the past four years. But what if the black cat was not the
father? What if he was just a noisy stray cat who was looking for attention?
Who was this mystery cat?