Peep was unbelievably happy. The Mommy would be home in three days. She’d even talked to the Mommy on the phone last night, and she’d said it herself! She said she couldn’t wait to see her Peep and hug her and kiss her and drag her under the covers. Peep was happy about all of it except the dragging her under the covers part. She still didn’t understand why the Mommy liked doing that.
She wandered around the house looking for things to do to help clean up. Daddy had done a lot yesterday, and the house looked a lot better. With the cats help, there was no dust to be found anywhere on the floors. It looked so good. Not finding anything to do, she decided to check on Ginger and the kittens. She’d been so busy yesterday that she’d only spent a few minutes with them.
The scene in the spare room was bedlam. Ginger was hauling one after the other kitten back into the box. “They just don’t want to stay in here anymore, and they’ve discovered they can use their tiny claws to grip the box to get out. Help!”
“I’ll herd them back towards you, Ginger, and you can grab them when they get close.” Peep approached one of the black and white kittens who looked at her and yelled, “Monster!”
“Just ignore him. LT taught them that word, and they use it for anything except me, and even then sometimes I’m Mommy monster.” Ginger was amused, but just barely. She looked so tired.
“This looks so difficult, Ginger. Has LT been helping you?”
“Thank the Higher Cat, yes. Yesterday he spent some time helping you clean, but other than that and his own sanity breaks, he’s been in here helping. I do think it’s time to take them home, though. When my owner comes today, I’m going to tell her that.” Ginger sighed, hoping that she’d come soon.
“How will she understand you, Ginger? Daddy doesn’t seem to understand us much of the time, especially if it’s not something obvious.” Peep looked very doubtful.
“Oh, she’ll understand it when I grab a kitten and put it down at her feet!” Ginger sounded very sure of herself, and having heard that plan, Peep agreed.
“Now you just need to get through the time until she comes. Would you rather me help, or get LT in here?” Peep was willing to stay, but figured that Ginger might prefer LT, particularly if they’d be leaving, and LT wouldn’t get to see the kittens until they became outside cats.
“I think he’s had enough of a sanity break. Please do get him for me. I do want him to have as much time with the kittens as possible before I leave. I doubt my owner will allow him in the house to see them. That’s the only thing I don’t like about going home.” Ginger grabbed the brown tiger and plunked him back in the box.
It was a moment’s work to find LT. He was lying just inside the trees, his head on his paws. He looked rather sad. “Oh, Peep, did Ginger send you to get me? I think it’s time to get back inside. She’s talking about taking them home, and I’m going to miss those little guys.” He got up and made his way into the house.
Peep decided that while she was out here she’d check on the turnips. The soaker hose was still on in the garden, and the soil around the plants was delightfully moist. It smelled heavenly, and the tomatoes were so large and ready to eat. They even smelled good to Peep, and she was a carnivore. She carefully looked near each of the pebbles they’d placed in the garden, and was happy to see tiny green shoots just poking through the soil near three of them. Good – they were on their way! By the time the Mommy would even think about leaving again, they’d have full-size turnips here to keep her busy.
Peep sat and watched the turnips grow until she heard the Daddy’s truck come in, followed by another car. Uh oh, she thought. It was probably Ginger’s mommy, come to take her home. I’d better get inside for moral support.
Indeed it was Lettie, and Peep was in time to see Ginger deposit a kitten at Lettie’s feet. “Oh, Ginger, does this mean it’s time to take the kittens home with us? I’d so love that if it’s okay with you, dear. In response, Ginger went and got another kitten while LT kept an eye on the first one. “Jay, do you mind if I take the box that they’ve been sleeping in? I’ll wash the blanket and bring it back tomorrow.”
“Not a problem at all, Lettie. And you might want to let them keep that blanket for a while, as it might be a link between the place they have been since they were born and your house. It might make them feel more comfortable.” Jay was personally a little relieved to have the kittens go home. It wasn’t that they were that much more work, he’d just worried that something would happen to one of them and he’d feel as though he was responsible.
Accompanied by Ginger and LT, Jay carried the box out to Lettie’s car and placed it in the back seat. Ginger promptly jumped into the car and then the box. She settled down and told the kittens that they were going to go for their very first car ride and to be ready for adventure. LT jumped in for a minute and gave Ginger a cat kiss. “I’ll come and see you later today, Ginger – around sundown. Try to get out then. I’ll be looking for you.” He jumped out of the car and ran to the trees before anyone could see his shining eyes. He didn’t think cats were supposed to be able to cry, but he felt like he would cry any minute now.
Lettie closed the back door of the car, and Jay handed her Ginger’s dish and the remaining cat food. “Oh, no, dear. You keep the cat food. It’s just my thank you to your kitties for letting my Ginger and her kittens stay.”
Jay decided not to argue. He had a lump in his throat, and just said that he hoped they’d all do well.
As the car drove out of the driveway, they all heard a muffled howl from the direction that LT had gone. Jay walked out that direction, and found LT crouched in the dead leaves. He stroked LT, and then picked him up and carried him into the house. Jay put the cat on the table, and stroked him while talking to him gently. He told LT that he’d probably miss Ginger as much as he, Jay, missed Mary Rose when she left. The difference was that he’d be able to see Ginger soon, and hopefully the kittens would be allowed out of the house soon. Jay didn’t voice his fears that they’d be given away before they were deemed old enough to go outside. LT was miserable enough as it was and there was no need to add to it.
After a while, Jay picked LT up again and walked into the bedroom. He put LT down on the bed and lay with him, stroking him gently. “I used to do this with you, LT when you were just a kitten, and now look at you. You’re a grown cat with kittens of your own, and you did a marvelous job helping Ginger with them. Now let me take care of you for a little while.” LT settled down against the Daddy’s stomach and both drifted off to sleep.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Slater - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/2368667356/