Tuesday, 27 January 2009 - 3:02 pm

The kid and the cat

We’re back on track today.  Everyone is feeling better after a good night’s sleep and a hot breakfast.  We didn’t splurge on the food as much as we did yesterday, but it was still good to feel that weight in my stomach.  Even Masterson and Sally ate better. 

Our packs are heavy with cans and bottles, but that’s okay.  At least we know we’re going to eat for the next little while.

Our number has grown again.  Sometime in the night, there was a noise in the kitchen.  None of us thought anything of it, but in the morning, Nugget had a little ginger cat in her lap.  I can’t imagine what the poor thing has been surviving on, but it shared her breakfast hungrily today.  She was smiling as the little raspy tongue licked bean-sauce off her fingers – I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen that expression on her face.  She was solemn even when we were all feasting yesterday.

Sax told her off and tried to take the creature away, but she wriggled out of his grasp.  She hid under a table, hugging the cat to her chest, and refused to come out.  The cat seems to like her; it didn’t panic or fight once.  Perhaps it knows that she’s protecting it.

Sax wasn’t the only one who wanted to get rid of the cat.  Thorpe pointed out that we can’t afford to feed it, and he’s right.  Sharing one breakfast is one thing, but our supplies are terribly finite.  I think I’m too soft-hearted; I didn’t want to leave it behind.  I don’t want to leave anything alive behind.

It was Ben who went to crouch down by the table and talk to Nugget.  I was getting in everyone else’s way, trying to stop them from just tearing the kid and her cat apart.  As if the little girl hasn’t been through enough already.

He explained to her that we couldn’t feed the cat.  That it would be cruel to take it with us when we couldn’t give it food.  We couldn’t spare extra for it, so it was kinder to leave it where it was already finding its own meals.

Nugget hugged the cat in close and just stared at him.  It was a few long seconds before she nodded, before she let him know that she understood.  We all went to stuff our packs with everything from the store cupboards, and eventually she put the cat down and came out.


Seems that the cat didn’t like our plan, though.  The damned thing’s been following us, trotting along at the heels of the group.  When we stop, it follows Sally and Masterson up to the rest of us, and then just sits down and watches.  As if it’s bringing up the rear, or keeping an eye on our laggers.  Thorpe tried to shoo it off a couple of times, but it just blinked at him.  It’s a determined little beastie.

It’s here, now, in this garage where we’re taking shelter for the rain and the night.  Curled up with a little girl who snuck it titbits, I’m sure.  With us whether we like it or not, whether we feed it or not.  I can live with that.