Copyright © 2011 Ilan Herman
All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.
Hanna ran into the living room, blue eyes wide with joy. “Look, Daddy, look what I found in the woods.”
She hugged a small gray and white cat with thick fur and light green eyes. The cat waved its bushy tail and looked up at Hanna who giggled. “She purrs really loud. She’s so sweet. I want to keep her.”
Tim chuckled at the sight of the freckled faced girl hugging the cat against her cheek. “I’m not sure we should. Someone is probably missing her. Besides, I don’t know the first thing about caring for a cat.”
Biting her lower lip while her eyes teared up, his daughter whispered, “But I love her.”
Tim sighed and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Okay. She can spend the night and then we’ll see.”
Hanna held out the cat. “Hold her. She’s so soft.”
Tim hugged the cat—softer than a stuffed toy, her dense fur hid how thin she was. She purred and looked up into his eyes.
“Her name is Cookie,” Hanna said.
“That’s the perfect name for her. Let’s go to Rite Aid and get her some food.”
Hanna jumped with joy. “And toys…and treats…and— ”
“Hold on, Hanna, we may not keep her, remember? Also, you’ve been sleeping at Mom’s a lot lately, so guess who gets to care for Cookie.”
That evening, after she’d eaten and displayed her expertise with a litter box, Cookie played with a strand of yarn that Hanna wiggled above her. The cat arched her back and jumped high in the air, like she had springs inside her paws. Hanna laughed and rolled on the carpet.
Tim delighted in his daughter’s happiness for a while, and then said, “Time for bed.”
“I’m not tired.”
“Please don’t start that now.”
Hanna grabbed hold of the cat. “Can Cookie sleep with me?”
Tim thought for a moment, and then said, “Okay.”
Later that night, while Tim lay on his living room couch and watched the news, Cookie jumped onto his stomach. She purred while pawing his chest, and then rested on his rather opulent belly.
He smiled. “Comfy? Hanna kick you out?”
Cookie looked up at him and purred. Tim stroked the bridge of her nose. “You can stay on my belly.”
The midnight hour passed and Tim was tucked into bed reading, when Cookie jumped up on the bed and purred. He gently placed the cat on the carpet. “Nice of you to drop in, but you can’t sleep here. I’m a restless sleeper. I could crush you by mistake. And your purring will wake me up. Rule number one: no sleeping on my bed.”
Cookie curled into a ball and slept on the rug by his bed and didn’t bother him for the rest of the night.