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?


14. The First Eight Days

The next few days were uneventful as life quickly started becoming routine in Puma’s new, hopefully temporary home. He would usually get up very early, just like the woman, called Florence, did. The first morning he was awoken at dawn by the rest of the family finally getting up, but he soon took an interest in what Florence was doing up earlier than everyone else.

    It was his third morning at the house and though he hadn’t really warmed up to them, he was getting used to being with the family and his caution around them was becoming lesser and lesser. At least, he hadn’t warmed up to most of the family. By now he’d grown somewhat fond of George, who somehow always seemed to know the right place to scratch him. The other boys proclaimed that they wanted nothing to do with such a wimpy little kitten, that they had more manly things to do, but their parents noticed each of them casting interested glances at Puma when they thought no one was looking. Rebecca was just jealous of how much the cat liked her brother. It wasn’t that she couldn’t pet him and scratch him behind the ears. George had just done it first, and frankly, after watching her fistfight her older brother Puma was scared of what would happen if he made her mad.

    Puma wasn’t afraid to follow Florence into the kitchen that morning. Paying little attention to him, she entered the room. She began opening small doors and taking out containers, pouring some of the contents into other containers, and then putting those into larger bowls with other ingredients. He wished he could see what was happening to the things in the bowls as he stirred them together with a spoon, but he was on the the floor. Soon it started smelling really good in the room and he became hungry.

    Continuing to watch with interest, Puma waited in excitement to see what would happen next. He saw as Florence chopped things, mixed them, and finally heated the them. Dawn light filtered in through the window, and it wasn’t long before he heard the rustlings of the rest of the family getting up, the complaining groans of the older children who wanted to stay in bed. At a large table in a room next to kitchen where Puma hadn’t yet been, Florence brought the prepared food to the table and set it plates and silverware as he wondered what they would be used for.

    He soon learned when the family filed into the room, one by one and each took their chairs. The food was passed around until everyone had some on their plate, and Puma watched hungrily as they ate. Rebecca, wanting to gain the cat’s favor, put some meat in his food bowl and placed it on the floor in front of him. It quickly disappeared.

    After the family ate, they would go off to different rooms and would come out looking different than before, tidier and not so unkempt. Not knowing anything else to do, this was a time when Puma would usually stretch and groom himself. Next he would go to a piece of furniture and sink his claws into it, scratching it the way his mother would on trees. All of the family would then leave for awhile, except for Florence who stayed home. She would busy herself doing many things all around the house. Starting with the kitchen, she would put away the remains of breakfast and sweep the floor. Puma would often try to eat up some of the crumbs from breakfast, but the lady was quick and they were usually swept up before he had much of a chance. When the broom would get too close to him he would be scared away anyway. Though he couldn’t see it very well, he would watch with fascination as she washed the dishes and jumped, startled, when the occasional drop of water would fly out. She would sweep the rest of the house, and he sometimes chased after the broom, other times he scurried away. After that, Florence took a feather duster and dusted all the furniture. This was Puma’s favorite part. Though she would never do this on the few days the rest of the family was home all day, when it was just the two of them she would often hold it front of him and let him bat at it and play with it, or lift it up to see how high he could jump to get it. Sometimes she hid in another room, just a tip of the feather duster within his view, disappearing and reappearing, teasing him. He would crouch the way his mother taught him to catch squirrels, and soon lunge at it.

    Puma didn’t quite understand why she had to dust and broom everyday. Living in a house with four kids was messy. After her cleaning was done, Florence would go to the kitchen and begin making more food. Puma would watch, and soon the rest of the family would come home and eat, and he would be given food as well, usually pieces of meat from the table. It looked and tasted very different from the squirrel or occasional fish meat he used to eat, but he quickly became used to it.

    The family would leave them again, and Florence would once again pick up after their meal, sweep the floor, and wash the dishes. Sometimes after this she would use what Puma thought was a very interesting device, which he soon learned was a sewing machine. Every time she used it, he watched as her feet moved up and down on the pedal, repeatedly, never tiring. She would pass fabric through it, as a needle moved up and down over top of it. When the fabric came through the other end, it would have a perfect line of neat, precise stitches. Looking at the clothing of everyone in the family, he saw those same stitches in various places, as well as on blankets and pillowcases on their beds. He realized that these things were made by Florence.

    After this she always went straight back to the kitchen, once again making food. The family would come back and eat, and Puma would be fed again. Afterwards, Rebecca grudgingly helped clean it up, sweep, and wash the dishes with her mother. “Why do the boys always have to make such a mess when they eat?” she would complain.     

    Puma often took naps at various times during the day. It was usually after he ate, while Florence was cleaning up from the last meal. After dinner he always slept on George’s lap, who would gently set the kitten down on the chair when it was time for him to either go to bed himself or do something else. Puma slept most of the night, but sometimes got up lurked around the house. There was one thing he always did at night, though. There was a piece of furniture next to a window at the front of the house that was low enough for him to jump up on, and he would sit there, looking out it. Planning his escape, he imagined what it would be like to see his mother again once he found her. But there was one small detail that always got in the way. He had no idea where he was. He had no idea where the trees he’d lived were, or how to get there. Where would he go if he escaped? Puma was lost.


There was one day besides his first two days there that all of the family was home the whole time, even if some of them would be outside for awhile. This particular day, Florence and Rebecca worked almost the entire day at something that Puma didn’t really understand the point of. They would have a large tin tub in their kitchen filled with hot water and a bar of soap broken into pieces, which made it whitish colored and bubbly. A washboard was placed in it. One at a time, Florence took a piece of clothing from a huge pile and soaked it in the soapy water, then rubbed it vigorously against the washboard for quite some time. Once she was finished, she handed it to Rebecca, who passed it through a wringer, squeezing a lot of the soap and water out. She rinsed it in a second tub the same size as the first, making the water a little bit soapy. Taking it out of the water, she was about to stand up and do something else with it, when her mother said, “Not yet. There’s still soap on that. Wring it and rinse it again.”

    After each garment was rinsed properly, Rebecca took it and dipped it in a pot with a mixture of boiling water and starch. She barely held it with just the tip of her index finger and thumb, to get as close to having the whole piece of clothing in the water at a time without touching it and burning herself. After that she took it outside to hang it to dry. “Don’t let that drip on the floor!” Her mother snapped.

Sometimes when she was dipping it her fingers got too close and she burned them, and every time she was so startled that she accidentally dropped the garment into the water and starch. She dipped her fingers in a bowl of cold water to relieve the burns. “Clumsy child!” Florence muttered every time. Next, to get the clothing out of the water without burning herself again, she had to use tongs and it was very difficult to hang them that way once she got it outside.

The two of them continued like this for hours, and soon Puma got bored and tired and went to take a nap. And that was how Puma’s life with the family was for the first eight days.


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