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Tue, 25 Aug 2009
A Cat to Remember, a short story by Violet Wilkins.

JAIMIE'S JUNGLE-BOX

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 A Cat to Remember
By Violet Wilkins
This story had been slightly abridged by omitting a few paragraphs
Illustrations are by by Chin Oi Tow


Yusuf was too upset to say anything. His teacher waited till he had stopped crying and then patted him on the shoulder and said she hoped everything would turn out all right...

"Meow, meow." The weak cry came from a drain at the side of the street just as Yusuf was passing by. He stopped and listened. The cry came again: "Meow, meow."

Yusuf looked into the drain. A kitten, thin, gray with dirt, and very wet, looked up beseechingly at him. Yusuf reached down into the deep drain, picked the kitten up, and set it on the boards that covered half the drain. It just stood there, looking very forlorn. "Poor little Puss," said Yusuf, "come, I'll take you home with me."
Yusuf's mother was not happy about the kitten. "You know, Yusuf, we've applied for a flat. You know that the regulations there forbid pets and that we can't take the cats with us. Already we have three of them to worry about when we move. How can we find four people to give them homes? It won't be easy, let me tell you."
But Yusuf begged so hard to keep the kitten that his mother finally gave in, with the warning: "But it won't be for always. Do you understand that?"

Yusuf promised that he himself would find a home for the stray when the time came. He fed it and then cleaned it. They were all surprised when they found that the kitten-Puss they called it-was snow white. Her eyes were a beautiful blue.

As the months passed, Yusuf grew fonder and fonder of Puss and pushed out of his mind the thought of moving to a flat. Perhaps they'd never get a flat, and he would be able to keep his pet.
Puss grew into a handsome creature with long silky hair and a fine straight bushy tail. She was not at all like their other three cats, which were short-haired and had kinks in their tails. Yusuf loved hr more than he had ever loved any of the others.
There was great excitement when the family found that Puss was going to be a mother. They fussed over her and talked often of Puss and the kittens she was going to have.
It was quite a shock to Yusuf one day when he returned from school to find that they would soon be given a flat. What would become of Puss? What about her kittens?

His parents had to speak firmly. Puss definitely had to go. They'd take her to the RSPCA, where they'd look after her and find homes for her and the kittens when they were born.

Yusuf listened but couldn't say a word. He felt like crying. He wanted to scream out that they couldn't take Puss away from him.

That night he tossed and turned in bed. When he finally fell asleep, he dreamed that Puss was in a cage meowing to be let out. She cried so sadly that he put his hand out to pet her and felt something soft. . . . He awoke. Puss was in bed with him, meowing quietly. Yusuf thought she knew about having to go and was trying to say that she wanted to stay with him.

Puss had never got into his bed before. She had always stayed in her straw bed in the toolshed when she was not prowling around. His mother would be annoyed if she knew, for she did not like the cats sleeping on the beds.
Snores were coming from the other rooms. Quietly Yusuf got out of bed, picked Puss up, and tiptoed to the front door. He opened it slowly, not making any noise, and put Puss out, whispering: "You be good now, Puss, and go to your shed."
Puss looked at him, hesitated, and then walked toward the toolshed.


         On the way back to his room Yusuf glanced at the clock. It was a little past five. His mother would be up soon to cook breakfast. It was almost time for him to be up too, as he had to leave early for school. The school bus picked up him and his sister at seven.


He lay in bed thinking of his pet and wondering what he could do. Perhaps someone in his class at school would take Puss. All the children who had seen Push had wanted her. But would they still feel the same when they knew she was going to have kittens? Well, he'd ask them, and if they said no, he'd have to think of something else. Puss must not be taken away to some place where he'd never see her again.

His eyelids began to droop. Just as he was dropping off to sleep the idea came to him. Of course, his grandmother's old house! It had been vacant for more than two years. If nobody wanted Puss, that was where he would hide her. No one would ever think of going there.

Yusuf slept through the alarm that woke the finally. His sister, Tina, shook him till he got up. He was still drowsy, and she said: "Hurry, it's nearly half past six. You'll make us late for the bus." Tina kept on complaining that they would be late, but Yusuf was finally ready to minutes before the bus arrived.

Posted 13:23

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