It’s never easy being a stray. Especially during the cold time. Shelter from the elements becomes scarce, and prey becomes even scarcer.
Most strays are weary of two-leggers, but during the cold time…
…A stray will take any hand-outs they can to survive.
Sadly, sometimes that little bit of two-legger kindness just isn’t enough.
I never really knew this stray. I first saw him hanging around my territory the night I had returned from the cat heaven with my spotted queen and wished to mate, to find him stinking up my favorite mating place with his smells.
Had I known then that he was in such a poor situation, maybe I would’ve felt worse for chasing him off my territory that night, but a cat’s duty is a cat’s duty. Who knows how many times he cheekily snuck back to use my comfy place as shelter against the cold stuff since then, or to find my wrinkly one to take pity on his empty belly…
…But it still wasn’t enough.
Always so wary of two-leggers before, the stray seemed calm now, and approached the dark two-legger readily, even though he suspiciously smelled of dead things and didn’t have so much as a treat in his hand.
This stray, who was far too wild to ever let the wrinkly one do something so bold as to pick him up, let alone pet him, was easily lifted into the dark two-legger’s arms.
He seemed so ready for just a little warmth and comfort.
The dark two-legger pulled out a nice-smelling plaything, and started teasing the stray. I could tell he desired the plaything quite badly, but somehow I just knew… that would be the last thing that stray was ever going to chase.
I howled into the night, trying to warn the stray, “Don’t play with the plaything!”
…But it was too late. The stray lept into the air after the tossed plaything…
…And then was gone.
My mate’s two-legger was there, keeping a cat’s hours that night. She looked exhausted and ready to mew at any second.
All I could do was yowl my condolenses into the cold night for the stray that didn’t make it through the cold time, thankful that I had such a good home, and my mate and my kits were warm and sleeping soundly with full bellies in comfort.
Something seemed to pass between me and my mate’s two-legger in the quiet moments that followed. Somehow, I think we both knew it was best to keep this from the wrinkly one. It was for the best she had slept soundly that evening… Her old heart probably wouldn’t have been able to take it.