I have been in this stupid place for months now. It's called a pound and I suppose it's where pets return to their owners or gain a new one. Or, in my case, get one. I am a normal cat, nothing special about me. My fur is fluffy and grey with spits of white and my nose is sprayed with black dots. My tail curves in a question mark sometimes and my gold/yellow eyes are always alert after living on the streets. My mum abandoned me and one of my sisters once we learned to walk. We found it great fun until my sister slipped on a stormy day down a muddy trench and into a lake. A passerby noticed as she slid and rescue groups found us quickly. My sister had died when she hit the waters and they found me cowering in a bush, trying to keep dry. They took me here and wouldn't let people touch me, not sure if I was okay. They call it "quarantine". After several visits in a carrier to a white room with strangers who poked and prodded me in white covers they let me out to roam with the other cats but it was too late. I'd already lost my kitten cuteness. I try and try over and over but everyone's always distracted by the little ones. The other cats are nice to me and the volunteers love me, but no one loves me enough to take me home. I heard it from Rose today that some animals are taken out back but are never seen again. I overheard one of the women saying it's my turn tomorrow so of course I'm frightened. So far it is only young humans who visit so the kits are leaving. I just sit here, purring and meowing as loud as I can which is really pretty quiet. Finally a man notices me! He looks nice, gentler than the men and children, even more than some women. He's tall with medium-length blond hair and violet eyes that glance over at all the cats and eventually come to me. He freezes and smiles at me, crouching down to my level. His voice is soft like mine as he calls over a worker to ask if I may be pet. After gaining permission he unlatches my cage, not knowing as much to stand on front of the entrance. I don't try to jump out like the others. I just sniff his hand, lick it, and head-butt it with a rusty purr.
"You're quiet," He whispers, picking me up gently and I sprawl happily over his shoulder, "Just like me." He sits now and I lie in his lap, happy as can be. He smells like outside but I'll worry about that later. He calls the worker over again and asks about me.
"That's Leek." She says and he tries not to cringe at the name. "We've had her for a while after her mother left her and her sister slid into a lake." My purring falters and he notices, stroking me again to try to calm me.
"How very sad! Well... my girlfriend is looking for a pet. How does she react with the other animals?"
"Like an angel! She's an amazing cat, sweet to everyone and everything. I bet once she gets an owner, she'll protect them with her life. Do you have another cat at home?" The man laughs deeply and it sounds natural for him.
"Not exactly. I think I'll take her." He picks me up and carries me out of the room as the workers ready a carrier for me. A woman hands him some paperwork.
"Name here please." He shakes his head at the others, signing in big, loopy things that I can't understand.
"No need for a crate. I'll carry her." I snuggle into his warm shoulder and he holds me close, giving back the pen and paperwork.
"It's lucky that you came sir." Replies the owner, checking it over thoroughly. She puts it down, staring at him with brown eyes cold and hard. "She was about to be put down."
"And why is that?"
"Well, no one was taking her and we needed more room." He holds me tighter as if he's afraid to lose me and walked outside. The warm sun feels different now that it's not only through a window. Its warm seeps through my pelt like my mumma's tongue used to. My nose is twitching like crazy. So many new scents parade through my muzzle that it's almost overwhelming. He takes me into a big cage-thing and places me gently on the leather next to him, his door closing with a quiet puff of air. He seems considerate of me. I lie down to show him I'm all right, watching him carefully.
"I'm Matthew." He says, the world suddenly flying past us. I don't pay it much mind. I'm more amazed by the circle he has his hands on. "Your mother's name is Holly and I'm sure you'll love her. Just leave enough attention for me, yeah?" He chuckles and I meow to answer him. He blinks and looks over at me, his amethyst eyes wide in amazement. After blinking once more he turns back to watch ahead of us. "Can you understand me?" I meow again. And he reaches over, smoothing a small cow-lick on my head.
"Good. She'll love you." Pretty soon the sun starts leaving and the feeling of movement goes along with it.
"We're here." Laughs Matthew, his face grinning happily. He scoops me up into his strong arms and puts a blanket over me. Even though I don't know what's happening, I somehow trust him not to harm me. I can feel movement again and soon enough, I hear a woman's voice.
"Mattie! Where have you been?!" Her sweet and sing-songy voice sounds anxious and the affection in her tone is practically dripping. A thick Welsh accent clouds her words, but somehow she's easy to understand
"Sorry l'amour. I was out getting something for you." He strokes my belly secretively under the blanket and I try not to purr.
"You didn't have to Tiger!"
"I know sweetie. But I did anyways." He removes the blanket and I look at the woman with a happy meow. Her eyes are exactly the same as mine.
"Oh my gosh! A kitty?!" She rushes over and runs her fingers through my fur. She watches me, her brown curls falling into her pale and freckled face. She turns to face Matthew, her lips pressed together and tears budding her eyes. "Matthew!" She puts me down gently and runs over to him, wrapping her pale and slightly muscular arms around him. "Thank you! I love you!" He pulls her close and she touches their lips together.
"I love you too." He says after a few moments, putting their foreheads together instead. She wiggles her nose against him with a smile and lets go, picking me up again. I snuggle close to her, already attached to her like she is my mother.
"What's her name?"
"Oh my. That won't do at all." She picks me up, stretching me up to touch noses. "How about Leif instead, luv?" I lick her nose and she laughs, putting me down on the ground between them. I start to bathe and then get up, rubbing against her legs with a purr. Then I go to Matthew, sitting on his foot. He looks down at me and smiles warmly.
"One last thing for her to see before she explores." Matthew looks at him confused and then laughs, walking off quickly. I meow after her and he picks me up again.
"Sorry, he's not a cat. Please be kind." Momma gets back soon, a mound of white fluff engulfing her hands. She puts it down in between her and us and Matthew puts me down. The fluff is curled on the floor and I wander over to it cautiously. Momma laughs nervously and Matthew watches. I reach it and give a sniff, jumping back as it moves. Its head perks up and bead black eyes watch my every move and I dance back, batting at it gently. The round ears tune to me and, before I know what's happening, we're curled together and he's licking me.
"Leif, meet Kuma." Matthew goes behind Momma and wraps his arms around her waist as they both watch, smiling and joining in in unison: