Fiction logo

The Great Adventure

A Cat's Tale

By Joan HallPublished about a year ago 8 min read
13

I try not to think about my life when I was homeless. Mama told me an evil person kicked her out upon learning she was having kittens. I was born in an old shed on a rainy fall day. I had two other siblings, but one of them died shortly after birth and the second one met his fate three months later. Mama disappeared. I never knew what happened to her. Suddenly, I was alone and had to learn to take care of myself. Living on the streets isn’t easy.

When I was six months old, a man found me in a drainage ditch, half-drowned, and took me to a place with lots of other animals. Not having been around humans, I was scared at first, but everyone was so kind. They cleaned me up, fed me, and gave me somewhere to sleep. Yes, it was a cage, but at least I was safe and cared for.

One day some nice people named Joan and John adopted me. They call me Cruz. My life is easy now. I have a warm, comfortable bed, plenty of food, toys, and a magnificent cat tree. No more sleeping on the street or in a cage. The entire house is my playground. I like to take long naps on their bed and hide beneath it. But my favorite place is the sofa where I curl up between my humans each evening.

Like most felines, I have a natural curiosity. I wonder what life is like outside our house. Sometimes I’ll sit in the laundry room window to look outdoors. Joan has bird feeders near the deck and there are always dozens of those little feathered creatures around. I’m certain one of them would be tasty.

Squirrels also scamper about. Joan complains about them eating the bird food. I don’t think she likes the little rodents. If I can catch and kill one, she’ll probably give me extra treats or a new toy. Beyond the yard is a densely wooded area. What kind of animals live there? Are they friendly?

If only I could go outside.

Most days my humans go to a place they call work. That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. John often comes home tired and dirty, and Joan says her job is stressful. I’m not sure why anyone would put themselves in such a situation, but they say it’s necessary.

Now they’re planning an adventure with a group of friends. For weeks they’ve talked about Alaska. I don’t know where it is, but it must be a long way because they are traveling in something called an airplane to Seattle. From there, they’ll get on a huge ship and take a cruise. My ears always perk when I hear the word, but I realize they aren't talking about me. The excitement in their voices further piques my curiosity about the outside world.

Going near water doesn’t appeal to me, and I can’t imagine traveling that far, but I dream of taking my own journey. It would be fun to climb a real tree, explore the area, and meet new friends. Don’t misunderstand. I love my life here. A ten-hour nap is wonderful, but sometimes being in the house alone during the day gets boring.

I begin planning my escape. I can be sneaky when necessary. Finally, the moment comes. John has left the front door open! Should I make a run for it? I glance around. No one is looking. Gotta be quick about this. I rush outside, then dash to the nearby woods.

The great adventure begins! What to do first? There are so many new sights, sounds, and smells. Being in the country is much different than the city I’d lived in as a young kitten. My olfactory senses are on overload with the scent of pine and the earthy smell of the forest floor. Occasionally I catch a whiff of an unknown animal.

I scamper up a tall oak tree, then peer down to see a rabbit dart beneath some underbrush. From a nearby branch, a squirrel chides me, flicking its tail and barking. A hawk screeches as it soars overhead. Mama had warned me to stay clear of them. Much to the squirrel’s delight, I climb down to weave my way through the woods.

I come upon a flowing stream of water. Careful not to get my paws wet, I drink from the banks. I need to use the litter box. The forest has lots of suitable spots, but I choose a pile of leaves. After taking care of my business, I cover my scat. Can’t afford to leave any traces of me being here.

A big rock provides the perfect place to cross the creek. On the other side is an open field. Another rabbit runs around in search of prey. Maybe he’ll be friendly, and we can hunt together. It’s time for my afternoon snack and I’m hungry. But when I approach, the cottontail runs away. I soon learn the animals out here are distant and aloof. So much for making new friends.

Well, I don’t need them. I can hunt on my own. Before long, I spot a group of cedar waxwings picking berries from a holly tree. They are so intent on their quest, none of them see me coming. I crouch low, stalking my unsuspecting victims. I almost reach them when a mockingbird swoops down, rasping out a warning. The waxwings flee, leaving me without a decent meal.

Nightfall soon comes and with it are different animals and sounds. A black-masked creature forages about. I’ve seen raccoons when they come to the bird feeders at night. This one appears friendly enough, but two babies are with her. The mother snarls and hisses at me. I can tell when I’m not wanted. So much for this great adventure.

Finally, I spot a friendly face. The gray tabby sits beneath a pine tree. He’s a warrior with battle scars to prove it. One eye is partially closed, and he limps as he comes toward me.

“What’s a young whippersnapper like you doing out here?”

Something in his voice commands respect, and he has no doubt earned it. Judging from his looks, I guess him to be at least ten years old.

“I’m on an adventure.”

“Ran away from home, huh?”

I hang my head in shame. His words made me realize that’s what I’d done. Still, I feel the need to defend my actions. “I wasn’t running away. Some days it gets so boring staying around the house.”

“You have a human family?”

“Yes.”

“Are they kind people?”

“They’re the best.”

“Why did you leave?”

I start to answer when the whooshing of wings overhead concerns both of us. “Who, who, who, who. Who, who, who, whoooo.”

Even with his limp, the gray tabby moves with lightning speed. I follow closely on his heels to a small crevice on the creek bank.

“That was a close one,” the tabby says. “Owls have amazing eyesight and can catch small animals in their terrible talons. Doubtful he could hold either of us, but he could do some damage. Better safe than sorry. Now, you were about to tell me why you ran away.”

“I didn’t run.” I go on to explain about the upcoming trip my humans plan to take. “Thought it would be fun to do a little exploring on my own. I didn’t realize everything would be so unfriendly. All except you, of course.”

“You have been sheltered. Don’t you know wild creatures are enemies of domestic animals? If you think raccoons and owls are bad, there are foxes, coyotes, and bobcats in these parts.”

“Bobcats are our enemy? But they’re felines like us.”

“You’d better believe they are. Just be thankful mountain lions don’t live here. They’ll attack first and ask questions later. Not that you’d be alive to answer. What’s your name, son?”

“Cruz.”

“Unusual name for a tuxedo cat.”

“My female human named me after some baseball player. What’s yours?”

The tabby shakes his head. “I’ve always been a feral cat—no human to give me a name—but I go by Solomon.”

We sit in silence for a while, listening to the sounds of the forest. A black and white animal saunters by, its tail held high in the air. I start toward it, but Solomon stops me.

“Don’t go near. If it sprays, you won’t want to be around yourself,” he whispered. “Now, stay still.”

Eventually, the skunk ambles out of sight.

“We’ll be safe and warm here tonight. These early spring nights are chilly.

I’m thankful for the warmth of the leaves, but I long for my soft bed. What was I thinking? My great adventure isn’t what I thought it would be. Do Joan and John miss me? Will they welcome me back or take away my bed, toys, and cat tree as punishment? I’m cold, hungry, and just a little bit scared.

As the pale light of dawn appears, Solomon rises, stretches, then sharpens his claws on a nearby tree trunk. I slowly follow him, reluctant to move from the warmth of the shelter.

“Want my advice, son? Go back to your humans. You don’t belong out here, and frankly, I can’t understand why you’d choose to leave home.”

“But what if they are mad at me?”

“If they’re the type of people you say they are, I doubt it. They’ll be overjoyed to see you.”

“Do you want to come with me? I’m sure they’d welcome you as well.”

Solomon shakes his head. “Thank you, but no. I’ve lived this lifestyle for too many years. Besides, I don’t have a lot of time left. I’m only six years old but living in the wild takes its toll. You can go home and live a long and healthy life as an indoor cat.”

My decision is made. “Thank you for everything, Solomon.”

“You take care of yourself, Cruz.”

I leap over the creek, then scurry through the underbrush. The only animal I encounter is a porcupine, returning to its den after a night of foraging. When I reach the house, lights are on. Joan and John are awake. I go to the door, scratch on it, and meow loudly.

Joan opens the door, and I hurry inside. She scoops me up in her arms.

“Cruz! I’m so happy to see you. Please don’t ever leave us again.” The tears in her eyes make me feel guilty.

Upon hearing the commotion, John rushes into the room. “Hey, little buddy. Welcome home.”

I purr in contentment.

They take me into the kitchen where bowls of fresh food and water await me. Any ideas of them being angry over my leaving were soon vanquished. My cat tree, bed, and toys are all still here.

Later, after they leave for work, I curl up in the middle of their bed for a long nap. Never again will I complain about boredom. I have a good home with everything I need and the love of two wonderful people.

I’ll take this over the great adventure any day.

Short StoryAdventure
13

About the Creator

Joan Hall

Joan Hall writes mystery and suspense. Her writing is often inspired by her love of music. She likes full moons, cats, classic rock, and small-town life. Connect with Joan at https://joanhall.net

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights

Comments (11)

Sign in to comment
  • Jacquie Biggarabout a year ago

    Good thing the adventure didn't turn into a big misadventure! Cute story.

  • Michele Jonesabout a year ago

    Nice story, Joan. I have often wondered what my girls talked about all day, or if they planned an adventure.

  • John W. Howellabout a year ago

    I love cats, and I think you captured thoughts of Cruz very well. I'm glad he decided to go back home. An excellent story, Joan

  • Mae Clairabout a year ago

    That was a wonderfully heartwarming story, Joan. I believe it was likely inspired by true events. I'm sure you were beside yourself with worry. I'm so glad Cruz made it home safely!

  • Robbie Cheadleabout a year ago

    Hi Joan, a delightful story.

  • Priscilla Bettisabout a year ago

    Joan, this story is so sweet! I'm smiling as I type this. Somehow I think this was inspired by a true-life event.:-)

  • Gwen Planoabout a year ago

    Such a sweet story, Joan. Well done. ❤️

  • D.L. Finnabout a year ago

    Heartwarming story, Joan :) So glad he made it back safe!

  • Testabout a year ago

    A lovely kitty coming-of-age story! I can relate to preferring boring over adventure at times. Nicely done, Joan 💕🙂

  • Staci Troiloabout a year ago

    I was so worried about the little guy. I'm glad he had a safe adventure but am delighted he made it home. Great story!

Find us on social media

Miscellaneous links

  • Explore
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Support

© 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.