Children’s Story

The Littlest Kitty in the Box

by Dee Dee Williams

© 1998, All Rights Reserved

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The littlest kitty in the box looked up at her mother and asked, “Mama?”

“What is it little one?” the littlest kitty’s mother replied.

“Is today the day we go with you? The day we leave the box?” asked the littlest kitty.

“Yes little one. Today you will see where we live. Today you are old enough to meet your grandmother and your aunts. And if we are very lucky, you will meet the Lady. That is why I am fixing your fur just so,” her mother said proudly.

The three curious kittens looked at each other, then at their mother and asked, “Mama, what is a Lady?”

“She is the nice human who feeds us when we can find no food. The one who gives us clean water, and allows us to live under her porch,” their mother answered with musical love in her voice.

Again the three kittens looked at each other. They still did not know what a Lady was. They did not know what a porch was either, but they wanted to know.

For weeks they believed the cardboard box was their home. Then one day the kittens’ mother told them the cardboard box was just for now, not forever. It was only a place to keep them safe while they were very little. Soon they would be big enough to leave the safety of the box.

Her black and white kitten was the biggest. Every night he dreamed about what was outside of the box.  Her middle sized kitten was dark gray with very, very fluffy fur. So fluffy that no one noticed she had six toes on each paw.  The littlest kitty was black, except for a smudge of white fur on her nose. She believed the world was wonderful. She never gave a thought to dangers beyond her box. She was too busy being happy.

When she finished fixing their fur just so, she smiled and touched their noses with hers, one at a time. Then she leaped out of the box, and with little effort stood on her hind legs while pulling down on the edge of the box. Slowly it began to tip. Once the box was on its side they easily walked out onto the cold hard floor. A floor their mother called a garage.

“The floor is cold Mama,” said the fluffy kitten. Her mother just smiled at her.

A hole in the wall near the garage floor was their door. The three kittens followed their mother through the hole out into the bright sunshine. She knew they would need time to adjust to the light, so she stopped. The three kittens sat with their eyes squinted shut. Slowly they opened their eyes. Ready to move on they began rubbing against their mother, purring all the while.

When their mother was sure it was safe, she led them on. They traveled through a garden where an old calico cat sat staring into the yard. The mother cat saw the old calico cat and said, “Hello Mother. I brought the grandchildren with me today.”

The old calico cat raised her head and looked at the three kittens. The kittens gathered behind their mother to hide. Only their little heads stuck out as they watched the old cat. When the old calico cat stood, she scared the kittens. She was very big and her name they learned was Grandmother Cat.

Grandmother Cat, the only calico in the yard, never smiled but felt it was her duty to have something to say about everything. She cleared her throat, and in a serious voice advised, “Better start the training right away. They must know how to take care of themselves soon.”

Then Grandmother Cat leaned closer to her daughter and whispered, “Your littlest one is a runt. This one will always need help and can have no useful purpose.”

“I know mother,” the kitten’s mother whispered back, “but I do not think about how small she is. Something deep in my heart says, ‘This one is special and needs your help. Take care of her.'”

She smiled down at her littlest kitty. The littlest kitty tucked her head down and rubbed the top of her head against her mother.

The three kittens jumped when a human voice began calling, “Mom? Mom where are you? Dotty, Brother, Silk,” the voice kept calling. From all sides of the yard the kittens watched as other cats ran towards the big house beyond the garden.

Speaking to Grandmother Cat the kitten’s mother said, “Mother, the Lady is calling us. Do you think she will feed my young ones too?”

The kitten’s mother and Grandmother Cat walked side by side towards the big house. The three little kittens followed close behind. “We will see daughter, we will see,” Grandmother Cat replied.

Many cats sat near the big house looking at the Lady. The kittens were out of breath and very excited. “So that’s what a Lady is,” the three whispered to one another.

Then the Lady talked to the cats. None of them knew about what, but that did not matter. What mattered was that she talked to each of them. And she gave them each names. It had taken each of the cats time to learn their names, but they all knew the name the Lady gave them.

The Lady came down the steps and the cats backed out of her way. She held a container and one by one made a pile of food for each cat. When she got close to the cat she called Brother she saw the three frightened little kittens. “Well isn’t this a surprise. Brother is a mother!” she said laughing at her silly mistake.

With a closer looked she saw the littlest kitty. “Oh my, look what a little thing this one is. You watch carefully for this one, this one is special,” the Lady said to the kitten’s mother. The kitten’s mother did not understand what the Lady was saying, but something felt good about how it sounded.

When the Lady saw the white smear of fur on the littlest kitty’s nose she said, “That looks like a smudge on your nose little one, so I will call you Smudge. Hello my little Smudgy girl.”

The littlest kitty didn’t know why she felt the way she did. When the Lady called her Smudgy girl, it tickled in her tummy. It was a good feeling and she felt happy. 

The Lady looked at the bigger black and white kitten and said, “I will call you Patches for your black and white patches.

“And this very, very fluffy kitten I will call Fluff.” The Lady was the only one who noticed Fluff’s six toes. “Would you look at those front paws. Six toes on each one,” she said.

Happy with her choice of names for the kittens, the Lady returned to her task of putting down their food. When she got to the last pile, she smiled at Brother and said, “I suppose we need three small piles too.” So she made three little piles at the very end. Then she turned and went back into the big house.

The kitten’s mother said, “Here are your piles of food, children.”

The kittens sniffed the food and found that it smelled good. So they ate the new food.

Grandmother Cat said, “I see the Lady is as blind as you are daughter. She has put a pile of food out for your runt.”

“Yes mother, I hoped she would,” said the kitten’s mother. She was so pleased the Lady could see how special her runt was.

The cats ate busily. Some stopped to study the kittens and make comments to one another. One by one the kittens took their turns meeting the aunts. One of the aunts had two kittens as well. She could not wait for them all to be old enough to play.

Finally the food was gone. The three kittens and their mother played for a long time in the Lady’s backyard. Their mother even walked them around the big house and showed them where they were allowed to go. Then she showed them where they would live when they were a little older… under the porch. At last they knew what a porch was. It was a day of learning.

The sun was going down and it was time for their mother to take them back to the box. Three sleepy faces followed her back through the hole in the garage and into the safety of the box. That night the kittens dreamed about their new world.

The next two weeks passed quickly. The kittens learned new things every day. Spring was beautiful and the kittens were old enough to live with the family under the porch.

The littlest kitty quickly learned the ‘way of the cat world’. The bigger and stronger cats got what they wanted first. No matter how hard she tried the bigger cats always took her pile of food. The littlest kitty had to share with her brother Patches, or go without food at all. Patches liked the littlest kitty and knew his mother was very fond of her. So he helped her whenever he could. The littlest kitty loved her brother Patches.

Every day the littlest kitty’s mother wondered how long she could keep her little one safe in a world where size was so important.

One day the littlest kitty asked her mother, “Why do the other cats say I am just the runt? Why do they make fun of my size and steal my food? Am I different from the others?”

The littlest kitty’s mother sighed and said, “It is all part of the ‘way of the cat world’ my little one. There is a biggest in every group, so there must also be a littlest in every group. Whatever the other cats say about your size, I know it does not matter. I know how special and important you are. You may be my littlest kitty, but you have a great purpose.”

“What great purpose?” asked the littlest kitty.

“Well to start with you give me great joy. The way you tuck your little head and snuggle up to me,” she said tickling her littlest kitty until she squirmed. “The way you find happiness in everything you do.”

The littlest kitty’s mother lowered her voice to a whisper. “I will help you to be quicker and smarter than the others. We will find a place that is only big enough for you, a place you can run to and hide. I will help keep you safe until you find where you belong. Until you have found your special place.”

“I love you mother,” the littlest kitty answered, rubbing her head against her mother. The littlest kitty made her mother so very happy.

Soon winter was upon them. The days grew short and the air became cold. The cats grew their winter coats, even the littlest kitty. Every day the Lady would come. Just like every day before. Now was the time of year they needed her help the most.

The Lady watched the other cats steal the littlest kitty’s food and felt sad. She knew the ‘way of the cat world’. She knew outside cats needed to be able to take care of themselves. She knew life would always be hard for the littlest kitty.

But she also watched the littlest kitty win hearts. She had won the heart of the Lady with her cute little wiggle. She would do her little wiggle and head tuck for her brother and he would share his food.

“My poor Smudgy girl, it is so hard to be little. I wish you could come inside my house and live with me,” the Lady said. But she knew the world of outdoor cats was different than the ones that lived indoors.

With the change to winter the weather got worse and the Lady worried more and more. The littlest kitty was always catching a cold. The Lady would come out in her winter coat calling, “Smudgy girl, where are you?” Then when the littlest kitty came out, sneezing and eyes running, she would put out the piles of food.

One day Grandmother Cat said to her daughter, “I think the Lady feeds us more frequently because your littlest kitty needs her help. But, she did not feed us yesterday. Where is your littlest kitty?”

“She is very sick mother. She does not get enough food. No one is willing to help me keep her warm at night. My young ones are always pushed to the outer edge of the sleeping circle. So they are always cold,” the littlest kitty’s mother sadly replied.

“Daughter, you once told me your littlest kitty would have a purpose. The Lady likes her. If we are to survive the winter, we need the littlest kitty’s help,” Grandmother Cat said sounding worried. “I think I have a plan.”

The very next day things were quite different. When the Lady appeared the other cats became quite excited and roamed around the yard speaking to one another. The Lady had no idea what they were doing, but the littlest kitty’s mother knew.

“Quick, someone look under the porch,” Grandmother Cat called out.

“She is not here,” replied one of the aunts.

“I found her!” another cried out.

When the Lady saw the littlest kitty, she smiled. “Oh, hello, Smudgy Girl,” she said. “I am glad to see you.” And then, as usual, she gave each of the cats a pile of food.

From then on the other cats did not bother the littlest kitty. She was even allowed her own pile of food. But the littlest kitty’s mother was sad. They were using her littlest kitty. Using her to beg for food from the Lady.

To make things worse, her little kitty’s sneezing and runny eyes were not getting better. This cannot be the only purpose for my littlest kitty, she thought.

One day the littlest kitty’s mother witnessed an amazing sight. The Lady was talking to her littlest kitty, like always. The littlest kitty was doing her wiggle for the Lady, like always. Each day, little by little, the Lady had talked more and gotten closer to her little kitty.  Today the littlest kitty let the Lady pet her! The littlest kitty’s mother held her breath. Petting the littlest kitty made the Lady smile even bigger than usual. Somehow the littlest kitty’s mother knew she had nothing to worry about.

The outdoor cats never allowed the Lady to get close enough to touch them. Usually they ran away when she got close to them. Then something else happened. Something the littlest kitty’s mother did not expect. The Lady picked the littlest kitty up in her arms and took her inside the big house.

The littlest kitty’s mother did not know the Lady worried about the littlest kitty too. She did not know the Lady knew the littlest kitty needed her help. But, somehow, she knew that, from now on the littlest kitty would live safely in the big warm house. No one would steal her food. And no one would care about her size.

Come dinnertime, Grandmother Cat came looking for her daughter. In a very worried voice she asked, “Where is the littlest kitty? We cannot find her. How will we get food from the Lady?”

The littlest kitty’s mother just smiled a knowing smile. “I guess we will just have to survive without her mother. I do not think my littlest kitty will be back,” she said.

All of the cats, except for the littlest kitty’s mother, gave up waiting for the Lady as the sun went down. But, the smiling lady did come. She came and sat on the steps. She and the littlest kitty’s mother sat looking into each other’s eyes for a long time.

At last the Lady said, “I have taken your littlest kitty into my house. The world of cats is not kind to little ones like her. But this little kitty is special. She is so sweet and so little. She needs my help to stay healthy and safe. You do not need to worry about her ever again.”

The littlest kitty’s mother did not know what the Lady was saying, but was sure the littlest kitty had finally found where she belonged. The littlest kitty’s mother had been right all along. Her littlest kitty was very special.

The littlest kitty had found her special purpose. Her special purpose was just being herself, a happy and loving little kitty.

Before the Lady returned into the big house she put food down for all of the cats. She would always put some food out to help them, but as outdoor cats they needed to take care of themselves, and did not really need her help.

That day the littlest kitty began her new life with the indoor cats. This made the Lady happy. It made the littlest kitty’s mother happy. Best of all, it made the littlest kitty happy.

THE END

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