A short story in which we learn from Treacle that humans don’t have fur – well not really.
Humans Don’t Have Fur
Treacle’s Attempt At Storytelling
“And then they take off their fur at night before they go to bed!” Treacle finished triumphantly, to roars of laughter from his audience.
Six cats are sprawled in the sunshine on the cover over the cat garden listening to Treacle, a gray tabby cat.
At one year old, and having had a number of health problems, Treacle has been awarded the honor of being allowed in the house from an early age. He is now one of three cats that live indoors part-time. Two others, Stevie Mouse who can’t see perfectly and Emmy who has epilepsy, permanently live indoors. The other 14 cats live outside, in and around the beautiful cat garden.
Treacle’s brother Rolly, a darker tabby, is wiping his eyes, crying with laughter, laying on his back with his back legs twitching. His sister Ella, a pale tabby and cream color is poking him, also crying with laughter.
Trying to catch his breath, Rolly interrogates Treacle further.
Shock That Humans Don’t Have Fur
“Are you trying to tell me humans don’t have fur? Because they always look covered in something to me,” said Rolly. “No,” replied Treacle, “they take it all off when they go to bed and they put it all on again when they get up in the morning.” This statement was greeted with snorts of mirth from the listening cats.
“They have fur on the top of their heads though,” said Moonboots, a petite gray and cream cat, who was sitting on the kitchen window ledge listening to the banter.
“Ah yes,” said Treacle, but they also have hair between their …” At this point there was a very loud ‘Harrumph’ from the roof above. Looking up, the cats could see Malteser, a ginger, brown and white cat, and at nine years old the oldest of the cats. He was gazing down at Treacle.
Malteser Takes Over The Situation
“Discretion is the better part of valor, old chap,” said Malteser. “Some things better left unsaid and all that.”
“Oh!” said a crestfallen Treacle. It had never occurred to him that there were some things best left unsaid. His mouth always opened and stuff came out anyway. Then he remembered when Stevie Mouse had lectured him when he laughed out loud at Emmy’s epilepsy. Perhaps there is something to be said for thinking before speaking.
Tell Us A Story Uncle Malt
Ella piped up, “Uncle Malteser, you have never told us how you came to live here.” At this the cats started murmuring. Niblet, only four months old, had been sitting quietly with her brother Monk and her Mother Scruffy, all gray and white tabbies, listening to the big cats laughing and joking. Her little voice piped up, “Oh a story that would be lovely Uncle Malt.”
Sighing, Malteser got up and climbed down from the roof, descending backwards carefully, using his claws to climb down a wooden pole onto the cover of the cat garden. The cats all looked at him expectantly. “Well, it is something of a story,” he said.
The Unexpected Happened
“I wasn’t born here,” said Malteser. “I lived in a house a long way away with my Mother and my sister Lucy and my brother Giacomo. We were very happy. Then, when we were six weeks old, our owner grabbed the three of us and put us in a cage. The last time I saw my Mother she was crying and running after us but she was left behind.”
This information was met with a deathly silence from the cats, as the mood changed quickly from merriment to sadness.
“We were taken in a car and driven a long way. Lucy was sick on the journey. We were all so scared. Then our owner stopped the car and got out our cage. She took us to a pile of rocks and opened the cage and shook us out below the rocks. She got back in the car and drove off and we never saw her again. We were just dumped like rubbish.”
Ella started crying, Rolly put a paw out to her saying, “There, there Sis, you know it has a happy ending because look, here is Uncle Malteser to tell the story.” The two kittens were snuggled into their Mother for safety, peeping out from behind her. Treacle swallowed very loudly, then cleared his throat and said, “This is a horrible story Uncle Malt. What happened next?”
“Well,” said Malteser. “I tell you, we were terrified. We didn’t know where we were or how to look after ourselves. After all, we were only babies, smaller than you, young thing,” he said, gesturing at Niblet. “We cried for our mother because we were hungry and we hid in the rocks overnight in case something attacked us.”
“Move on to the good bits Uncle Malt,” said Moonboots gently. “You are really scaring the babies.”
It All Turned Out Okay In The End
“Humph,” said Malteser. “Well, in the morning we were pretty desperate I can tell you. Then a miracle happened. We could see a house a little way away and a man came out, in his fur (the cats laughed), and started feeding a group of cats that had gathered near some food dishes. We were making a lot of noise and the man was looking to see where we were. Then a woman came out of the house. The man spoke to her and she immediately started calling kitty sounds, obviously trying to attract us to them. Lucy and Giacomo didn’t want to move, but I knew this was our only chance. I said, ‘come on, follow me, what else can we do?’ and we ran forward. The lady immediately picked us up and kissed us and took us indoors. We knew we were saved.”
Ella let out a big sigh and the other cats were murmuring to each other. “Thank goodness you were brought here Uncle Malt,” said Moonboots. “This is a lovely place to live.”
Niblet stuck her little face out from where she had been hiding behind her Mother. “Uncle Malt?” she said. “Yes young thing,” said Malteser. “There were three of you, now there are only you and Aunty Lucy. What happened to Uncle Giacomo?”
“You are getting ahead with my story, little one,” said Malteser. “I will tell all eventually.”
We Found Our Forever Home
“The first thing that happened when we got indoors was the lady, now our Mummy, fed us and we used the litter box to show her we had been brought up properly. Our Mother would have been so proud. The man, now our Daddy, went and bought a huge cage and Mummy put a bed in it, a litter box and some toys and we stayed in there safely.
“The resident cat ‘Bluebottle‘ was not too keen on us, I have to say, so Mummy wanted to introduce us gradually. Bluebottle would sit and hiss through the bars at us. But over time that stopped and she gradually accepted us as we became part of the family. Mummy bought us lots of toys and we had a fine old time running around the house and playing together. Once we had all our vaccinations and vet visits completed we were allowed to play outside and so we did.
History Repeated Itself
“All was well until the following year. Mummy was gardening and she could hear tiny kittens meowing. Sure enough, someone had dumped five six week old kittens at the top of our drive. Mummy collected them and then managed to find homes for them all. Luckily, that is the last time that happened. It is the only time I have seen Mummy really cross.”
There Is No Need To Dump Animals
“Was she cross with the kittens, Uncle Malt?” asked Niblet, totally captivated by the story.
“No, young one, she was cross with the horrible person who dumped them. It is a sad world when people dump unwanted animals. There are places that will take unwanted kittens and anyway there are things that can be done to prevent having kittens.” said Malteser.
“Like what?, asked Niblet innocently. Moonboots interrupted quickly, “Your mother will explain that to you when you get older Nibs, you don’t have to worry about things like that now.”
Several other cats had now joined the group to listen to the story. Lucy sat underneath the oak tree watching her brother Malteser tell their story. And Tweedledee and Tippy sat under the table in the cat garden. “But what about Giacomo?” asked Moonboots gently.
What Happened to Giacomo?
Malteser coughed a few times. When you are a cat with asthma all this talking can be a bit much. “Move ahead five years and the three of us were very happy living here with all our cat friends,” he continued. Giacomo loved kittens and he would have loved you two little ones. I remember him now, playing with kittens in the fig tree and curling up asleep with them, watching out for them.”
“One day Giacomo wasn’t feeling too well. It was obvious he had a problem so Mummy took him to the vet for a check up. It looked like there might be a problem with his heart and Mummy had to take him back to see a specialist after the weekend as this was a Friday. Now, Giacomo was always a pig headed chap! Mummy had to keep him indoors over the weekend. But he wanted to be outside and play with his mates. So he escaped and Mummy couldn’t catch him. He ran off into the woods and his heart gave out and he died.”
Ella was crying again. Rolly rolled his eyes at Treacle and snuggled up to her. “Don’t be sad young thing,” said Malteser. “He died doing what he wanted to do and he didn’t suffer. Giacomo lives all the time we remember him. And he had a lovely life living here.
Life Goes On
“Anyway,” Malteser concluded, “that has nothing to do with the fact that our humans don’t have fur. And I am hungry! Anyone joining me for some snacks?” Malteser got up and headed towards the feeding bowls. He was immediately joined by Lucy who said, “Nice work bro,” as she brushed against him. He gave her a rueful smile. As Treacle walked past Malteser smacked him on the head. “That boy needs work,” he muttered with a smile.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound, an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!