It was mid August on a hot summer day when Katniss awoke from her nap and proceeded to stretch as far as she could while yawning so wide that one could almost count the number of teeth she had. She then laid back down and looked around her cage hoping that someone might come over and keep her company. But, all the other cats were busy with their own tasks. Even her own cat friends did not feel like entertaining her.
Of course Katniss did not know that she herself or anyone else around her were cats. To her, everyone she saw, herself included, were furry, sometimes fluffy things. Meanwhile, humans, in Katniss’ mind, were thought to be giant things that often patted her behind her ears or back. She didn’t know a lot about the petting giants, but she did know that they often took other furry things away and never returned them.
It took her a while to realize that it wasn’t a bad thing — that in fact, those giant things were actually giving the furry things a better life. They were taking them out of their cages and giving them more freedom than they had ever had. Katniss also noticed that there were tests that the other things had to go through. They were let out of the cages and were allowed to roam free while the giants watched and observed their behavior. However, not all cats passed the tests, usually only about half of them were allowed out of their cages for good. Katniss watched the testing process hundreds of times, but not once was she ever allowed to participate in it. At first it confused her.
“Perhaps I am not behaving as well as I should be while in my cage” she said to herself.
So for months she was on her best behavior, never begging for more food or even clawing up her bedding. But no one ever noticed her. Soon the other cats began to shun her afraid that if they hung out with her they too would not be allowed out of their cage. After months of being on her best behavior Katniss eventually just gave up. No one ever noticed her, no one really cared.
She soon found herself constantly at the back of the cage curled up trying to sink into the ground, wondering why was she ever placed in this cage? Why was she abandoned at this miserable place? Perhaps maybe she didn’t have a specific kind of cuteness that the petting giants wanted. Yet to her, Katniss seemed like a kitten everyone would want to adopt. Her coat was brown with streaks of tan and orange, she even had a small orange spot on top of her head. Her face was small and round with small eyes that would normally make anyone want to melt. She was even able to roll over on her back with her paws up in the air like a dog ready-to-please anyone who walked by; yet, no one bothered to glance over at Katniss.
More months continued to slowly pass by as Katniss struggled with her feelings of abandonment, until one day a family of four entered the building. To Katniss this was the usual routine: a family enters, chosen cats are taken out of their cages for testing, the family adopts the ones they like and leaves without even glancing over at Katniss. But this time it was different, other cats were picked out of their cages like normal, but the family did not have any particular attachment to any of the tested cats. The family continued to look at some of the other cats until one of them noticed Katniss. One of the petting giants asked to hold her, and Katniss was taken, for the first time, out of her cage and placed in the hands of a petting giant. To Katniss this was strange and new which scared her since this had never happened to her. She barely even knew what to do and a flood of new emotions entered her mind.
“Are these giants actually considering me?” thought Katniss, “How on earth was I picked from the dozens of other furry things?!”
As the family continued to take turns holding and petting her Katniss hardly knew what to think! All she knew was that whatever they were doing, she liked it. Soon she found herself making a noise that she had never made before, it sounded something like a soft purring noise. Whatever the sound was Katniss continued making it for the giants as they continued to hold and pet her. The family did hold some other cats but they continued to pick up Katniss again and again and again until finally they took her home.
The ride to Katniss’s new home was a scary one. First she didn’t even realize that she had been adopted. All she really knew was that the petting giants liked her and then all of the sudden it went dark. She knew she hadn’t gone blind for she could make out two other furry shapes that were close to her. Katniss could also see light coming through a small hole. Second, her body kept bouncing around, she couldn’t control it for, whatever she was in, was constantly moving. But then all of the sudden it stopped and light poured in where Katniss could see that she was in something brown that had a rough feel to it and above her was a petting giant reaching down to pick her up. She was home, but little did she know a pair of dark green eyes watched from afar as she and her friends entered their new home.
To Katniss her new home was amazing. She could play in the sun, she was constantly being petted and fed and she had two other furry things to play with. Her play area was a large lawn of which at first Katniss was utterly terrified . However, soon she was pouncing on it as if she was trying to capture a lizard who was getting away. That was during the daytime, at night she and her other two furry friends, who were also adopted, were placed inside a small house and were fed special food that made her wish it could always be night time.
At first the petting giants kept Katniss and her friends in a somewhat confined area to play in, but as the months flew by Katniss was soon able to do whatever she pleased — she could even leave the property or climb trees as high as she wanted. Katniss’s other two furry friends consisted of a male and female. The male had a black coat with patches of white, or as humans call it, a “Tuxedo cat.” This one had a large build and often liked to chase something that always seemed to be attached to him. Her other friend was completely grey with a small build but legs that gave her the ability to jump so high up in the air it could almost touch the top of a rose bush.
Katniss and her friends often liked to stay out as late as possible before they were called home. None of them exactly knew their names, but they could tell by the sound of their owner’s voice which cat they were calling. For the male, his call sounded deep and full while the call for the grey female sounded more high pitched as if the giants were calling so loudly that their voices began to break. For Katniss her sound was a more soft and gentle sound.
A year had gone by since Katniss had been adopted into her new home. By now she had grown into a larger cat with beautiful but sometimes fierce eyes and a glowing coat. In fact, she often looked like a young lion cub stalking her prey when walking in between the bushes. She and her friends have had many adventures over the past year.
One time they found a large fence in the backyard of the giants home and decided to climb it. Little did they know that waiting for them on the other side were two very large furry things. Yet, these two furry things were nothing like anything that Katniss or her friends had ever seen before. They were large, tall and loud. All Katniss could hear was a very loud but short yelp coming from these things and there faces were so close to one another the hair on Katniss’s back quickly stood up straight and her tail fluffed up to twice its size. All of the sudden Katniss let out a noise they she had never made before, it was nothing like her usual purring noise, it was a sharp hissing sound.
However, this noise seemed to keep the large things somewhat at bay for as soon as she made it they backed up a few inches where Katniss thought she saw a pair of dark green eyes from a distance looking at her. But she was so busy with the loud furry things that she didn’t think twice about it and she and her friends climbed back up the fence, back to safety. Meanwhile a pair of dark green eyes continued to watch them. That was probably the biggest adventure that they had, but of course they had lots of little ones as well — such as trying to kill a snake or mouse, but they did that so often it soon became routine for them to catch it, kill it, and then drop it off at their giants’ front door.
One day Katniss decided to wander farther away from home than she had ever done. Her home was located on top of a tall hill and just east of it was a long creek that, at the end of it, slopped up into the golden hills. Katniss and her friends had explored this creek several times but never into the hills. This time, Katniss was determined to go up there by herself. The walk along the creek was a pleasant one, there was enough sun to keep her warm next to the cool river, but enough shade to keep her from overheating.
Katniss was making her way towards the golden hills around sunset when she came across a pathway she had never seen before. Since darkness was ascending fast and the golden hills were still a few miles ahead, she took this new found path to see where it led. She continued on this path for a few minutes but found nothing particularly exciting about it. It was full of tall weeds, sharp branches and random pools of water. Katniss was about to turn around when all of the sudden, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move. The tall weeds began to rustle from a few feet away and continued to rustle closer and closer to her, and then, silence. Katniss crouched down low, her eyes alert and her tail growing in size. It was hard for Katniss to see since the sun had nearly set, but she could make out a pair of dark green eyes.
She continued to stare at the eyes in wonder while her body slowly began to rise, ready to attack whatever came at her. Then, all of the sudden, the pair of green eyes let out a loud noise that sounded like a cross between a growl and a snarl. The sound was so loud and frightening that Katniss jumped up in the air out of fear and began running not knowing which direction to go. She ran and ran and ran when out of no where a sharp branch caught her stomach and tore her fur and skin almost to the bone. Katniss didn’t stop to look at it for her adrenaline had kicked in so high she kept running until she finally found her way back to familiar ground.
Once home, Katniss did not address her wound until the following day, but by then it had stopped bleeding and to her it was fine and she had already forgotten about the incident. However, the giants soon found the wound after holding her and decided to take her to the vet and leave her there until she recovered.. Katniss did not realize she was only going to the vet, she thought she was going back to the pound, for the ride to the vet seemed all too familiar. The darkness, a small hole allowing light in, the bouncing, all made Katniss wonder if she was going back to the pound.
Once inside the building Katniss continued to see similarities between this building and the pound. The grey floor, the cages, the people using false voices, and the other animals. She was first inspected by other giants that she did not recognize as her own, and then they began stitching her wound. Afterwards, she was placed into a cage by herself which gave her flashbacks to when she was last in a place like this. She quickly began to wonder if she was going to ever leave this cage. Her petting giants gave her another hug, petted her for a few minutes and then, they were gone.
Soon after they left, Katniss became depressed just as she once was a year ago. She was confused, angry, and disappointed in herself for thinking that anyone would actually want to keep her. Not long after she had been left, Katniss’s routine came back. Sleep, eat, stretch, boredom, sleep. The boredom that Katniss had, left her to continue contemplating her abandonment and why. Katniss thought she had been the perfect cat, she was small, cuddly, affectionate and always came home when called for.
Yet somehow with all that she had done, she found herself back in a cage with no one to play with. She missed her two furry friends and often wondered what they were doing this very minute. She thought of all the mice, rats, snakes and moles she had caught and proudly left at her giant’s door. Time seemed to go by so slowly and Katniss continued contemplating everything that had happened to her. And just when she had given up hope of ever being happy, her giants came back.
Once again Katniss was transported back home where she received a warm welcome from her two furry friends. Yet, while she was happy to be home Katniss still felt betrayed and angry at the giants for placing her back in a cage. She had spent her entire child life in a cage, and now she had lost what appeared to her to be an eternity in a foreign cage. No matter how much petting or food they gave her, she never fully trusted them anymore. She stopped bringing her prized animals to the front door, rolling over for them to pet her, or even allowing them pet her as much as they used to. Nothing could make things better, she still felt unloved. She spent a week at home before something completely new entered her mind.
“What if I ran away?” she thought, “they clearly don’t care about me the way I thought they did, so they probably wouldn’t miss me at all.”
All week long Katniss continued thinking about this new plan. There were many things to plan: where would she sleep, what would she eat, and where would she even go? For Katniss, the answer to the last question would be the golden hills. She had still not been up there and the hills were long and wide so she was sure there would be plenty of mice to catch and places to keep warm. Just as long as she stuck to the known trail and made it up there by dusk, Katniss was sure she would be fine.
So, she finally decided to go through with these plans and leave in five days. She made sure she filled herself full each remaining night while still home and spent plenty of time with her friends. During those last five days they went on dozens of adventures. They caught their usual mice, rats and so on, they even explored some new paths that led them to some beautiful and quiet places. Finally the fifth day came and went, and it was time for Katniss to leave.
It was early in the morning when the giants let the cats out of their little house that Katniss left. She made sure she filled herself with some food and water before leaving and watched her friends wander off into the distance before turning and leaving herself. It was a gorgeous day for Katniss to walk and she soon found herself no longer thinking of her old home, but looking forward to roaming the golden hills free from disturbances. She made her way along the creek weaving in and out of the weeds that surrounded it. It took her all day before she reached the bottom of the hills and by that time she was ready to eat. Realizing that if she wanted to make it up the hill she would have to eat something first, she retracted her steps in search for some food. After finding the food she needed, Katniss headed up into the golden hills.
After an exhausting day full of walking, Katniss found a tall oak tree with a wide trunk that had a small opening at the bottom that was large enough to fit her, and decided to spend the night in it. The next morning Katniss woke up early and set out to explore the vast hills. The land was covered in golden pieces of wheat and tall oak trees with their shadows stretching far and wide. This newly discovered land was amazing for Katniss — she was able to explore as much as she wanted without being disturbed or called home. She roamed all over the place and found all kinds of birds, rats, and thickets.
Often times when Katniss did not make it back to her hole in the tree she would end up sleeping under the stars, which she loved (even though she was more exposed) because she could stretch without being confined by the smallness of the hole. One day Katniss had wandered so far from her tree that she found herself lost, yet somehow she wasn’t worried. She just kept on moving eager to find and experience new things. She wandered around lost for hours when she began to have a deja vu experience. Everything she saw looked familiar, the trees, the paths, the random patches of grass, and suddenly she realized her old home was right around the bend.
Temptation crept over Katniss to go and spy on her old home, it had been sometime since she had left and she so badly wanted to see what they were doing now. Perhaps they made some changes, maybe they even replaced her with another cat. Without really realizing it, Katniss began slowly walking on the paved road towards her old home. Before she knew it, she was at the bottom of the driveway looking up at her home she once belonged to. Finally deciding to investigate the house she quietly and quickly crept up the hill and began watching.
Finding a secure hiding place where she was sure no one would find her, she sat down and stared at the back of the house. She couldn’t see very well into the house but she could make out the giants figures moving around inside. All of the sudden she saw her “Tuxedo” friend walking up to the door and begging for food. The door opened, and there were the giants. They picked him up and brought him inside for a few minutes before the door opened and let him back outside. Katniss was once again tempted, tempted to go down and say hi, to say that she missed him dearly and to come away with her. But she knew that he would never leave, he loved this place too much. Once upon a time Katniss did once love this house, but that changed.
Katniss continued watching the house until evening. She saw the “Tuxedo” cat a few more times as well as her grey friend. They spent a few hours laying in the back yard soaking up the sun. A few times they began chasing each others tail and eventually pouncing on each other. Katniss missed those chases, she was always able to get a hold of their tails no matter how fast they ran. Soon it was completely dark outside and it was time for Katniss to disappear once more. But as she turned away she heard someone call out a familiar sound. She turned to see the giant’s calling her home. Katniss recognized the sound immediately. Her stomach began turning in knots.
“Are they actually calling me home?”, she thought, “I thought they no longer cared for me!”
Katniss continued to listen to the giant call out for her, but she did not move, she didn’t go running to them. After a while she convinced herself that it was just her imagination and that maybe they were calling home someone with a similar sound. Deciding not to do anything Katniss went away, but she resolved that she would return the following evening to see if they called for her again.
Katniss returned home every evening listening to see if they called her for a week. And every time she did, she heard them call her home. And suddenly it hit her, they never stopped loving her, for some reason, unknown to her, they placed her in the pound, but they did come back for her. Katniss began thinking over everything that had happened to her, her horrible childhood and then the wonderful life that was given to her.
All of the sudden she could feel herself slowly moving towards them. The more she moved the faster her walk, she was almost out of the clearing, to go and jump into their arms, to forgive them and never leave again. When suddenly a pair of dark green eyes appeared. The eyes moved closer and closer and closer to her until Katniss realized that the pair belonged to a slightly larger brown furry object with streaks of white.
Before she knew it the thing was on top of her trying to bite her. Katniss quickly let out a snarl and began clawing it trying to escape. She began to get the upper hand when suddenly she felt the fury things claws from both paws sink deep into her. Before she staggered back she was able to give a good swipe to the beasts face, causing it to run away. Once it was gone, Katniss was so weak she could barely drag herself back towards the giant’s house. Yet, somehow with all the hope she had of returning back to her home she managed to drag herself to the giant’s front door where they received her with open arms.