The Nine Lives of the White Spotted Cat, Book 1

In 1919, a black kitten with a white spot on his flank was born near a small town. A year after his death, a cat who looked almost exactly the same was born, and a year after his death yet another cat was found. This happened nine times. Was it one cat, living out nine lives? Or nine separate cats? Could it be proof that cats really do have nine lives? It all started in 1919...

Puma had a mostly normal life at first as a kitten. His mother taught him and his sister to hunt and climb trees, just like any other cat. But his life is shaken when a mysterious white cat from his mother's past begins stalking his family, appearing everywhere like a ghost. Puma seems to be the only one to notice. Why won't this cat leave them alone? And what happens when he finally attacks?

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4. The Crooked Tree

Suddenly Rose had all the energy in the world. She needed water and now she knew where she was and where she could get it. She made a mad dash towards where she saw the tree and bounded up over several hills before she stopped for a few seconds. Even then, she kept on going at a good pace, though not as fast as before and not running. She didn’t even feel the aches, the pains, and the tiredness in her legs. Finally after about ten minutes she was there. She stared up at the tree. Then she began to follow the road beside her as she had before.

    She only went on two minutes before she found a puddle. She lapped greedily at it, stopped to take a breath, and then lapped again. Now that she had gotten the water, she needed something to eat. She looked at the trees all around her and she didn’t even have to look to find a fat squirrel nibbling something on the ground. She didn’t worry at all about making sure she was quiet enough, just bounded up quickly and clumsily and pounced on the squirrel. She sort of wondered if the squirrel was deaf, but then she thought of the other one she had caught so easily the other day and decided herself that the fat squirrels were probably just stupid.

    Rose had already made up her mind that she would live in or near the town. She had already known from the last time that if she followed the road she would soon be there. She’d had bad experience with towns before, but after where she’d been it sounded like heaven. There would be fat squirrels everywhere she looked that would be too stupid to notice her stalking, and all those humans wouldn’t live there if wasn’t any water. For that, she could tolerate people. Not only that, but humans frequently kept cats as their own, so there were likely to be other cats in the town and she was hoping to find a mate.

    Rose decided that instead of living in the town she would just live close. Though there would probably be more water and food there, she wasn’t sure she was quite comfortable living in town just yet. Instead, she would see what it was like living near first, just to get used to all the people and all the extra side effects that came with living in there. She went on the down the side of the road, and every pawstep, the farther she went, she saw more trees and fat squirrels. Eventually she came to the house with the bush where she had slept, and where she had seen Snowball. She didn’t know how far his territory extended, so she gave the house a wide berth. Luckily she did not see Snowball.

    She knew that she was getting closer to the town when she saw carriages and people passing by more frequently, and soon she came to a place where she decided to stop. The area was thick with trees, and of course, fat, stupid squirrels, which were a perfect source of food.

    It was late afternoon and the sun was still high in the sky, but continuing to descend when Rose decided to settle down and rest. She climbed up a tall tree, but rather than climbing to the tall, outer reaches of the tree, she settled on a low, wide, strong branch and began to sleep.

 

It was dark when Rose awoke and chose to hunt. From where she was on the branch, she could see a chubby squirrel at rest in a hollow in the trunk of the tree. She climbed up stealthily toward it, and scooped it out with her paw. The squirrel was awake abruptly but had no time to escape before she gave it a fatal bite to the neck, and carried it down to where she had been resting on the tree branch. She ate it and then went back to sleep.

    Rose woke back up again at midmorning. She decided that it would be a good idea to explore her new territory and decide how big it would be, and see if there were any cats other than Snowball nearby. She stood up sleepily and yawned. Then, she bunched up her muscles and leaped down out of the tree gracefully on her paws. Even though she had landed nicely on her feet, it had still kind of hurt her paws, and she decided that next time she would find a different of getting down other than jumping. Walking in the opposite direction of the road, Rose looked at her new place. There were many trees, and she could see several fat squirrels scampering over all the branches. She went further, and for a while that was all she saw. Large trees and fat squirrels. As she explored, she scratched and made claw marks on many of the trees to claim the area as hers.

    It wasn’t long before she came to a stream. It was about four feet wide and shallow, but more importantly it was filled with fish. There couldn’t have been more than a square inch of space where she couldn’t see any fish. Now not only would she have the easy to catch fat squirrels for food, but she now had the option of fish as well as a good water supply. She bent down to take a sip. She immediately spat it out. It wasn’t the best tasting water she’d had before. She sipped again. She tasted it for a few seconds, and then swallowed it. It still didn’t taste very good, but it would do. Rose followed the stream for a while until she decided how much land she wanted. She wanted at least part of the stream. Rose would’ve made her territory as big as she could, but she wanted her territory to be a place where no other cats came, and she couldn’t keep other cats out or keep control of it if it was too big. And of course, she could always venture outside her territory.

    In the end, Rose decided to end her territory several feet from where she had first come from the pond, and around 100 feet wide. She made claw marks on the trees to claim them as her’s.

    Rose went back to the tree from where she had started and climbed up to the same branch and took a long nap, tired from the exploring. She awoke at about midday and was hungry. This time, instead of jumping down from the branch, she chose to climb down. She guessed it would be safest to go down feet first, facing the tree trunk. She rose and crawled across the branch and gripped the trunk with one paw, then the other, and then her hind paw, but then stopped in fear. Even though she knew that she could land on her feet, she was afraid of falling and didn’t like the idea of having her back facing out, unable to see anything but the tree. For a moment she almost got her other paw onto the trunk, but then panicked, whirled around and ran down the tree head first, landing clumsily on her side. There hadn’t been many trees where she used to live and she had hardly ever climbed any at all, so she didn’t often have to worry about what to do when it was time to come down. But now she lived in a place filled with them, and she silently resolved that she would eventually get the hang of getting down trees.

    Rose didn’t know how to catch fish, but she didn’t want to live off of squirrels, so she decided to give it a try. She ran for a while, then walked until she got to the stream. The fish moved fast, but there were many of them. Most of them were about as long as her tail, some longer. The first thing she tried was standing about a foot away from the water and trying to hook one with her claw. They were too fast. She tried several times, but every time she failed. She got closer to the water, hoping to have a better chance of getting one if she was closer, but she cast a shadow on the water. All the fish passing by either shrank away from the shadow or moved even faster when they passed it. She didn’t even bother trying to catch one that way.

    She leaped over to the other side to try to catch one again. But the sun was at the top of the sky, and even from the other side she still cast a shadow in the water, and the fish passing by did the same thing they had done when she was on the other side. Frustrated, Rose jumped into the water, which went about halfway up to her shoulders. She tried several times to catch one, but they simply moved too fast, especially now that a cat was standing in the water. She tried running through the water, against the current and against the way the fish were moving, but it was too strong and she slipped and was submersed in the water. The fish swam past all around her. She forced herself to her paws, and leaped out of the water. She was sopping wet. She shook out her fur, but water still clung to her. Dripping and wet, she went back to the tree where she had spent most of her time. By now she had given up her hopes of catching a fish. At least for that day.

    “Did you go for a swim?” The voice startled Rose when Snowball walked out from behind a tree. Rose snorted. “I fell, that’s all,” she muttered, embarrassed staring at the ground. Snowball looked at her, amused. Then Rose remembered: this was her place now. Snowball had no right to be there. “Hey! Get off my territory!”

He looked at her in mock confusion. “Why?” He asked, with an edge to his voice.

“This is my territory now.”

    “I was just going to stay here for a few minutes, maybe catch a fish, you know, since you obviously can’t.”

    Rose had had enough. She lashed out at him with her front paw, but Snowball dodged her and gave her foot a small bite. She hissed, and then raised her other paw and scratched him hard across the nose. He winced and backed away. “A little harsh, don’t you think?” He said, obviously still in pain from the scratch. He looked at her. “Do you have a mate?”

    “No. And I don’t want one. Go away!”

    Snowball looked slightly hurt. He ran away without a word.

 

Rose went on with her life in her new territory for several weeks. She hadn’t yet learned to catch a fish, but everything was going just fine, and she only had to chase away one cat from her territory, and she didn’t see Snowball at all. However, she wanted to find a mate, and she knew Snowball wouldn’t be it. One night, one thing made her decide to leave her territory and go to the town. She heard the caterwauling of a tom.






 

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