“I gotta get outta here!”
The black, grey and brown four week old tabby surveyed every rung of the white cage, eyeing the top tier with eager anticipation.
“Mama goes up there all the time! I wanna see!”
“Cheeerupp!” Mama Ripley flopped down on her side. It was time for a visit the milk bar. Food first. Then, back to the cage and escape.
The five kittens of assorted sizes and colors piled up on the sleek black mother cat, climbing all over her and each other to get to the precious milk.
“Mine!” “No, MINE!” “Get off of me!” The mother’s eyes stared off into space waiting patiently for calm to descend. Now and then she winced as little teeth pulled at her nipples.
Parker, the tabby, found a cozy spot next to his brother, Dallas, also a tabby. Sister Ash, the largest of the brood, lumbered over to her spot and kneaded gently with black and white paws on her mother’s side. Delicate white-faced Newt kept nosing in, frantically trying to find her place at the milk bar. The smallest, black-faced Bishop, found the nipple nearest to her mother’s chest.
Soon the cage was filled with the trilling of soft purrs, heavy breathing and groups of little paws, kneading back and forth in a rhythmic pattern. Mother Ripley sighed and closed her eyes in contentment.
Soon however, her stomach began to rumble with hunger. Lifting her head, Ripley rolled to her feet, scattering startled kittens everywhere on the floor. Dallas and Newt shook their heads and curled up on each other, falling asleep in an instant. Ash soon joined them, wrapping her warm body covered with volumes of black, gray and white fur around the pair. Bishop was content to be alone, sleeping in a ball in the corner. Parker eyed his mother. Was she going up to that mysterious place again?
Ripley gazed at the second tier of the cage and jumped up, a chirp escaping from her mouth. Parker’s quick eyes followed, observing the underbelly and paws of his mother whose head was buried in a bowl. He heard the chomping of food and soon saw his mother in another box, scratching the bottom over and over again.
“What is she doing? Is she eating? Why is she scratching? I wanna see!” Parker was tingling with curiosity, his eyes growing blacker by the second.
Finished with the scratching, Ripley jumped back down to the lower portion of the cage. The thump of her landing roused her family and the air was full of high-pitched mews.
She settled in the midst of the balls of fur and placing her paw securely over Parker, began to bathe him vigorously. Parker wiggled and squirmed under the scratchy tongue, even daring to kick his mother gently with his hind legs. He had something else on his mind.
Finishing with Parker, Ripley turned her attention next to sleepy Ash. Seizing the moment, Parker sprang into action, startling his brothers and sisters who eyed him with annoyance at disturbing their sleep. He wobbled over to the side of the cage, pitching back and forth on tiny legs. Placing his two front paws on the fifth rung, he pulled himself up and stood tall. The others, wide awake now, watched in wonder, eyes turning from blue to excited black.
“How do I do this? Hmmm, if I place this paw here and that paw there …” And soon the tiny kitten was scaling the wall.
The noise of his climbing work up Ash from her stupor and she began resist her bath. Ripley secured her to the ground with her paw to finish the job and caught sight of Parker out of the corner of her ever-watchful eye. She watched him climb higher and higher and began chirping at him.
Parker reached the forbidden second tier and quivered with excitement. What wonders lie in this place? Looking down he saw the eyes of his brothers, sisters and mother, all fixated on him, giving him a strange feeling of power. At the same time, he became aware of just how high up he was and became a little frightened. That feeling soon passed as he explored the strange smells in the bowl and all that gritty stuff in the box. Climbing inside, something stuck to his feet, making walking a little uncomfortable but no matter. This was all just too exciting!
Ripley sat up straight, a piercing look in her yellow eyes. Chirps turned to meows coming deep from within her throat, rising in volume as she grew more alarmed, and annoyed, with her errant boy.
Parker heard his mother calling but continued to explore. “Not just yet,” he thought.
Ripley was standing at attention now, face turned upward. “M-u-u-u-r-r-r-ow, m-u-u-u-r-r-r-ow!” she called in persistence.
Parker observed his mother for the first time and when he saw that piercing look he thought better of exploring and decided to come back down. A thought then struck him: How? Getting up was easy. Getting down … can I climb down? Should I jump? But it’s such a long way down …
Ripley kept calling … time to take a chance … Parker took a deep breath and took a flying leap. Crash! Down he fell into a heap of wide open eyes, tangled legs and tails. Fortunately Ash was just below him and broke the fall with the sheer volume of her fur. She turned on her wayward brother and hissed at him.
The other kittens, now fully awake, quickly recovered and began to play, poking at balls, springs and other toys.
Parker turned to join them but soon found himself under the firm arm of his mother who bathed him with great vigor. “Ouch!” he thought, squirming again under that rough tongue. But in the back of his mind he remembered the wonderful space just above him, the thrill of the climb, the intoxicating smells and knew he’d be scaling the walls again very soon. Even if his mama didn’t approve.
Click to Tweet & Share: “Peter” Parker, Spider Cat! (from the adventures of Ripley’s Kittens) http://wp.me/p2D9hg-mi
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