8 Lives Left

Jen Jeffrey: 8 Lives Left

 Rusty: Hello, my name is Rusty and I am a reddish-yellow male cat with a silky fur coat. My mom Jen doesn’t seem to appreciate the glistening hair that flows from my body when I walk. I was found in the cornfield and I still like to go there when I am let out of my outside room attached to the house they call a sunroom. I am sort of skittish, but I am a warrior lion when my parents aren’t watching me.

Pepper: Hi, I am Pepper. I am too pretty to be a male cat, but I swear it’s true. I am a male cat even if my fur is so fluffy that even I can’t stand it. My parents have it shaved down to my inner coat so my mom doesn’t sneeze and cry (but I think she is just jealous because I have more hair than she does).

I admit it does feel softer now and I get more lovin’ than when I look like a ball of fluff.

Rusty: Whenever Pepper gets his haircut, it freaks me out and I don’t know who he is. He looks like a skunk and I have to make sure he’s my brother.

Pepper: What I am about to share with you now should never happen to a cat! All I can say is it is a good thing we start off with nine lives. You see… my brother and I have to share our parents’ attention with two beasts on a leash. We still don’t know why dad calls them ‘our brother and sister’ – they look nothing like us. They have long legs, long tails and skinny butts!

Rusty: They creep me out because they always have a wide, goofy smile on their face (the girl one they call ‘Sweetie’ licks her chops a lot whenever we are around). Dad tells mom that our ‘siblings’ can’t be around us, but she tries to be a peacemaker and will introduce us from a distance so they will get used to us. Oh, I know she holds their leash firmly so when I feel like being a lion, I parade in front of them knowing they want to eat me, but she won’t let them.

Pepper: Rusty is just a rascal, but I know better than to play with them now. I just wanted the beasts on a leash to like me. Everybody likes me! I am so cute and adorable and people can’t help but to love me.

Rusty: That’s because you don’t take no for an answer. You play “pretty-cat” and you are so gullible. You even ‘come’ whenever mom and dad call you.

Pepper: Purr…you’re just jealous. Anyway… I learned my lesson. I had never been that close to the sniffing beasts until that awful day.

Rusty: Pepper is such a pushover. He thought those beasts would just lavish him with kisses and play with him. My brother doesn’t have the brains that I do. I knew what they could do and that they really aren’t “our brother and sister” but hunters who want to eat us. Pepper thought if he played pretty-cat that he would win them over.

Pepper: I – I just don’t understand it. Nobody has ever been able to resist me. Dad and mom were always careful to keep the beasts on the leash far enough away from us and I wanted to show them that those skinny-butt creatures would love me if given the chance. When dad was outside putting away the big water saucer for the winter, mom had the beasts on a leash and stopped to talk to dad. She didn’t see me hiding under the bushes and I knew that it was my chance to show the beasts how cute I was without mom jerking their leashes back.

And then… the next thing I knew I was in the big one’s mouth! The smaller one was barking at him and mom started screaming. Dad did too. After I lost one of my lives, that big old beasts let go of me. Mom pulled them back and I ran for my eight lives and jumped up on the outside brick of the bedroom window sill. Dad tried to come for me and I automatically learned this really cool thing I can do with my mouth… I sounded like a snake! I had never really used this power before.

Yes, I know that snakes aren’t half as cute as me, but I needed to be tough like my brother Rusty. I needed to let everybody know I did not want to be touched at that moment. That was unlike me. I didn’t like who I had become. Losing one of my lives scared me so bad, that I think I am more cautious now. I finally let dad check me out to make sure I didn’t have any holes in my body.

Rusty: Yes, my brother was very lucky. He is so naïve that I guess the lesson was good for him. But as for me… well, I still like to play with those dumb ol’ beasts. After all, I am sly, cunning and very smart. When mom is walking them, I know just when to slowly wiggle passed them and it drives them nuts!

The girl one smacks her lips and her tongue nearly hangs down to the ground, but I know mom won’t let her get me. I am not stupid like my brother and go up to their gaping, smiling, drooling mouth. I am a pretty cool cat and I never show fear. The way I do this is by pretending I am not scared, though I get the tails shakes. I don’t use my snake voice or me-growl at them because my mom would never let them snatch me.

I realize that when she talks to dad she doesn’t pay as close attention (and that is why my dopey brother lost one of his lives) so I am smarter and I hide when I think there is danger.

Pepper: If you are so smart Rusty, why did you just lose one of your lives today? Don’t lie, I can tell! Your halo is brighter!

Rusty: Okay, okay…. yes I lost one of my lives today, but it wasn’t because I was dumb enough to walk right up to the beasts and play pretty-cat! No sir. I was being a lion! I was in the woods behind the back yard keeping watch. I was being sneaky and quiet.

The larger beast on a leash was hunching in tall weeds nearby when all of a sudden the smaller one that licks her chops lunged into the woods were I was hiding! It was so quick and unexpected. My mom had her eyes on the large beasts telling him he was a good boy. He left such an odor behind his behind… I don’t know why she thinks he is so good. I tried to use my invisible shield but it wasn’t working – the girl beast had me in her mouth and …I lost one of my lives.

My mom screamed at the girl beast on a leash until she spat me out. Mom scolded the beasts and took them back to their side of the house they call the garage (that is much bigger than our side, I might add).

Even though my brother and I both lost one of our lives in the same week, I still remain unafraid. In fact, I loathe the beasts. It isn’t right that they get fed first and they get the bigger outside room of the house. They are not warrior lions and they do not hunt the land to protect our home from little invaders.

I am still not sure why they are even here at our home. But I know it is my job as Lion King to watch over the land. The beasts on a leash won’t get in my way again.

After a cat loses a life …he is all the wiser.

Rust (the lion) picks on his brother, Pepper
Rust (the lion) picks on his brother, Pepper

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