Peep awoke on Tuesday feeling refreshed and brave, if a bit hungry. From the sounds of the birds, it was still early morning, so Peep peered carefully out the door to make sure the Mommy wasn't in sight before she headed over to the house to bed for some breakfast. She was pretty sure that Tippy would let her eat some of her food, and since the coast was clear Peep headed for the back porch.
She didn't get halfway across the back yard before a smallish dog ran at her. "Intruder, intruder, intruder," howled the dog at the top of his lungs. Terrified, Peep streaked for the porch as fast as she could run, yelling for Tippy as she ran.
Tippy poked her head up from the chair she sleeping in, and said, "Oh, hi Peep. Bucky, this is Mary Rose's kitty. Don't bother her, and she's not an intruder."
Bucky immediately sat down, and looked sheepish. "How was I to know, Tippy? No one told me that Mary Rose brought her cat with her. I think she would have told me, at least!"
"That's because Mary Rose doesn't know Peep is here. She's a stowaway. Peep wanted to check out where Mary Rose was living. Now, please introduce yourself and be polite about it!" Peep was amazed to see this half-grown kitten bossing a grown dog around. Bucky politely introduced himself, and asked if there was anything he could do for Peep, because any friend of Mary Rose's was a friend of his.
"Some breakfast would be nice, if you don't mind. I realize that someone may have to go a little short, but I'll try to eat just a little bit." Peep's stomach belied what she said, growling loudly.
Giggling, Tippy said, "Bobbi always puts out lots more food than any of us needs. Help yourself. The bowl will get filled up again as soon as she notices it's anywhere near empty." Peep ran to the foodbowl and gobbled down as much as her stomach could hold. She then settled on the floor below Tippy and began to groom.
"Can someone show me around today? I'd like to meet the horses, since Mommy loves horses. Are there other animals here too?" Peep had recovered quickly from her scare, as Bucky was now sitting and looking at her adoringly. He was obviously nothing to be scared of.
"I'll show you around," Bucky announced. "No one knows this place as well as I do. There are some other animals, but they're mostly indoors. There are birds in the room next to Mary Rose's but no one pays much attention to them. We're not allowed to play with them anyway, because we might eat them by accident. Then there are the indoor cats...."
"I told her about them, Bucky. I think she mainly wants to know about the outdoor folk. You might want to introduce her to the groundhogs, but she has to promise that she won't chase the baby ones. The groundhogs are friends, not food." Tippy gave Peep a stern glare, so as to make her point.
"I've never met a groundhog, but I've seen them around. Even the little ones are nearly as big as me by now, so I don't there is any chance that I'll try to eat them. The only things I chase much are frogs, and the occasional mouse. That's mostly for sport. I kind of prefer the food that comes in cans and bags, rather than fur. Much less messy." Peep tried to look earnest, so that Tippy and Bucky would trust her. Just then, she heard the Mommy's voice, so she hightailed it back across to the play house.
"Good morning Tippy, Bucky! How are you this very fine day?" Mary Rose was dressed for work, and holding a cup of coffee. She started to sit down, but Peep's movement across the yard caught her eye. "What was that? I would have sworn I just saw a little black cat running to the play house." She shook her head. "Jay says that Peep hasn't been seen since I left on Sunday, but that couldn't be her, could it? You two would let me know if Peep was here, wouldn't you?" She reached down and scratched Bucky's head, and then gently fluffed the fur around Tippy's ears. Both animals stared at her in silence. "Or maybe you wouldn't. Oh well, I'm sure Peep will turn up." Mary Rose gulped down her coffee and headed into the house. "I'm off to work for the day. See you tonight!"
Once Mary Rose's car drove away, Bucky ran to get Peep, telling her the coast was clear. He led her off towards the paddock and the horses. Peep admitted as she approached the fence that although her Mommy had a horse, that she herself had never been around horses, as the horse didn't live with them. Bucky considered what to do, and called, "Cocoa, will you come over here please?"
A somewhat shaggy small pony ambled towards the fence. "Good morrrrning, Bucky. Who is your frrriend there?" Peep had never heard horses talk before, and was surprised to hear him.
"Hi, my name is Peep, and I'm visiting here, just for the week. My Mommy is staying here, her name is Mary Rose. Have you met her yet? It's very nice to meet you, Cocoa." Peep wanted to make a good impression, so she was as polite as possible. She walked up to the fence, so that she was mere inches from Cocoa's nose.
"Of course, I've met Mary RRRRRose. She's quite a horse person, isn't she? A proper good woman, she is. She told me how much she misses herrrrr animals and her husband. I didn't think she'd bring any of them down with herrrr, though." Cocoa lowered his head so that he could look closely at Peep. "I must say, you arrrrrre a lovely young cat, Peep."
Encouraged by the compliment, Peep actually slipped through the bars of the fence and entered the paddock. Cocoa reached over and whuffed into Peep's fur and then gently nudged her with his nose. Peep was startled, but it felt rather nice, actually. Cocoa's head was still down, and Peep turned and wreathed herself around the horse's muzzle to return the gesture. She wasn't sure that a horse would appreciate being groomed by a cat, and thought this would be the best way to express her appreciation of the little pony.
Bucky said from outside the fence, "See, Peep, Cocoa isn't a bad sort, right?"
"I never said he or any of the horses were, Bucky. I just was a little nervous, never having met a horse before. Especially since Rudy came to live with us after the grey horse stepped on her." Peep shuddered at the memory.
"Ohhh, none of us have everrrrr stepped on any of the cats here, Peep. We trrrry to be verrrry careful around the small animals and small people. They come here to see us and take carrrre of us, and we know that we can't step on them or knock them overrrr." Cocoa ruffled Peep's fur again with her nose, and Peep bravely reached up and licked Cocoa's muzzle. It didn't taste very good, but Peep didn't want to say anything.
Some of the other horses came over to see what was happening, and before Peep knew it she was in a nine way conversation with the six horses, pony, Bucky and herself. She found the horses to be quite polite, but very different in personality from each other. They chatted about their families and backgrounds until a truck pulled up and a woman jumped out and started unloading bales of hay. Bucky took that as a cue to leave, and led Peep back towards the house.
"You know, Peep, it's probably better if you don't spend too much time on the porch during the day. Some people are home, and you don't want to be found out, do you? Why don't you grab a snack, and I'll go back to the play house with you and we can talk or explore a bit. There are great places to explore around here!" Bucky seemed to have decided to be her guide for the day, and Peep was fine with that, even if he was a dog. She had a bite to eat and the two headed back to the play house, where they chatted and finally napped for a bit. As she dropped off to sleep, Peep decided that if Mommy couldn't be home for the summer, this was a pretty good place for her to be.
Photo courtesy of Nikki Tate - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikkis_pikkis/537409025