By Madison Brown
The front door slams and jolts me from slumber. I uncurl and raise my head. What mortal dares to awaken me?
Ah. It’s my Human, Tricia. She takes off her wet rainboots in the entryway and hangs up her jacket.
“Hello, Mr. Fluffers!” she says in the annoyingly high voice reserved for me and me only. “How’s my little kitty?”
Human crosses the living room to the rocking chair where I lie. “Hey, that’s my seat.”
Ha. Her delusion amuses me. Everything in this house is mine. But I let her think she has some dominion over our dwelling place.
Human picks me up, sits down, and sets me on her lap. I’m miffed that she didn’t ask my permission before moving me, but the warmth from her body is rather nice. I settle in and purr to let her know I approve.
Her fingers find the spot between my ears and scratch it. The touch is pleasant until she presses a little too hard. I bat at her hand, claws out. You displease me, Human.
“Ow. Moody today, are we?” Her hand moves to my back and strokes it gently.
I close my eyes, and we rock awhile. I’m almost asleep when Human stands up and tucks me under one arm. I squirm. She did not ask me if I wanted to be moved.
Human wraps both arms around me to stop my wriggling, and we head into the bedroom. “It was rainy earlier today, but I think it’s cleared up now. Let’s let in some fresh air, shall we?”
I meow my consent.
Human heads to the window, pulls back the drapes, and opens it up, letting a ray of sunlight—the precious Light Beam—spread across the carpet. I’ll have to bask in its warmth after Human puts me down.
But Human does not put me down. Instead she carries me through the bedroom into the bathroom. “Okie dokie, Mr. Fluffers. It’s time for your bath.”
I did not approve this, Human, I meow, but Human ignores me and turns on the bathwater. I try to writhe my way out of her hold, but she grips me tighter and lowers me into the bath. I shrink away from the liquid. Human, release me!
She doesn’t. My feet touch the water, its cold gooeyness lapping over the pads of my paws. I flail my limbs, claws out, trying to escape Human’s grasp. She cannot make me take a bath.
My claws hit their target—Human’s soft arms. She shrieks and releases me, and I dart out of the tub and across the bathroom. I glance back at her, reveling in my success. She has no control over me. I am quick. I am cunning. I am—
Pressure explodes in my head as I hit the wall, having missed the doorway by inches. I shake my head to clear away the dizziness, but Human’s hands are around me before I can redirect my course. I yowl, clawing at everything as she drags me toward the tub. My claws catch the hand towel hanging on the wall. Human tries to pull me away, but I won’t let go. I will not touch that bathwater.
“Come on, Fluffers!” Human yells.
And she swats my bum.
How dare she?
I spring out of her grasp again, using the towel to pull myself up onto the bathroom counter. Soaps and toiletries tumble to the floor. Human growls in frustration and steps toward me.
I place a paw on a bottle of mouthwash as a warning to Human. If she comes any closer, I’ll throw it off the counter.
She freezes, then reaches a cautious arm toward me. “Mr. Fluffers, don’t you dare.”
My ears twitch. Don’t test me, Human.
She takes a step forward, and I fling the bottle to the floor.
“You’re such a brat, Fluffers!” Human jumps back from the leaking mouthwash bottle. I use the distraction to my advantage and race toward the doorway. I make it out of the bathroom, but Human’s footsteps thud close behind me.
The Light Beam on the bedroom floor catches my attention, and my eyes follow it up to the window. My escape! I leap up on the windowsill and out, narrowly avoiding Human’s lunge toward me. Freedom!
I glide toward the ground, feet poised for landing. But instead of meeting grass, they meet something wet and cold. It splatters my paws, my eyes, my whiskers. The more I try to scramble away, the more it spreads. Coating my fur. Thick. Gloppy. Brown. Gross.
“Aw, did my wittle kitty jump straight into a mud puddle?” Human appears beside me and scoops me into her arms. “That’s what you get for being such a pill.”
I utter a moanful meow and let her carry me inside. I must look a disgrace—my beautiful fur, caked in mud. Human takes me to the bathroom and lowers me into the tub. I don’t resist. The brown stuff tastes awful, so there’s no way I want to give myself a bath.
But next time Human tries to bathe me… I won’t make it so easy for her.