On a cold winter night during the stressful holiday time, Whiskers, the cat, ran away from home.
“My family doesn’t miss me,” she somberly twined. “Mother is busy cooking a feast. Father is entertaining guests. Their twin sons are glued to their phones. And Milo, the dog, is chasing his tail.”
Feeling neglected, Whiskers believed, “They probably never wanted a stray kitten like me.”
Whiskers visited Misty Birman, her feline friend from the park. “Can I dwell in your apartment?” she formally asked.
Misty was welcoming but laid down her rules. “No meowing, hissing, or purring—you must abide by these while staying with me.”
“My family gave me my freedom to do whatever I wanted,” Whiskers remembered.
After a day, Whiskers joined the crazy cat lady. She was messy and cranky, never cleaning the litter nor taking the cats for a grooming massage. With her many cat friends, she was not welcoming at all. The lady poured a large bag of food into a bowl. With every cat pouncing on it, Whiskers could not get a share.
“My family raised me clean and made sure I was well fed,” Whiskers remembered.
Nowhere to go, Whiskers wanted to join the strays in their cardboard homes. They were meanly unwelcoming and hissed, “Go search your own box far away! If we find you near our territory, we will make you pay!”
“My family provided me shelter and a cozy cat bed,” Whiskers remembered.
Yearning for her family, Whiskers wandered the neighborhood and came across her missing cat posters taped everywhere. She expected them to be oblivious to her absence, but even Milo was worried, sniffing for her here and there.
“Tis a holiday miracle —Whiskers has returned!” they thanked the lords.
“Never leave home again,” mother scolded in relief, tightly hugging her.
Whiskers’ thoughts had wandered her astray, but her experience in the wild, unforgiving world made her realize she was never neglected. Happy to be blessed by a loving family, she no longer considered herself a stray.