CHAPTER 2

SETTLING IN AS PETS

Two moons had waxed and waned.

Stolly tickled Runty's face with his whiskers to wake him from a cat nap. "I dreamed of her again," he mewed.

catsoup ch02 v01"Who?"

"Mama."

''She'll be fine." Runty yawned.

Stolly sat on him. "I miss her," he said.

Runty stood and stretched. "We could go and find her."

Stolly shuddered.

Runty head-butted Stolly. But Stolly wouldn't play. So Runty poked his tongue in his brother's ear instead. An ear clean always cheered him up.

Footsteps approached. In a panic, Stolly squeezed into the gap between the wall and the washing machine.

June placed two bowls of biscuits a few paw-steps away.

"Yum yum," said Runty, cracking a biscuit between his sharp teeth.

Stolly's tummy rumbled. How he longed to dig his nose into those delicious biscuits. Hey! Runty had finished one bowl and was eating from the other. "Save some for me," he mewed.

But Runty kept eating!

Then June's scary eyes were upon him. Stolly backed up behind the washing machine.

But June leaned over and grabbed him by the scruff of his neck. "I won't hurt you, you silly thing," she said.

Stolly wriggled and hissed while June pushed him into the cage.

Runty ran up to his brother and pressed his nose against the metal. Inside was a bowl of Stolly's favorite sardines, a bowl of water, a blanket, and a poop tray.

"No more spitting, okay?" said June, poking her gloved finger through the mesh.

Stolly hissed and spat.

"That's rude," said Runty.

"I want Mama," wailed Stolly.

"June is our mama now."

"She doesn't smell nice."

"She feeds us, and keeps us warm and comfortable."

"She's not furry. I want my real mama," mewed Stolly, clawing at the cage.

Night and day, he dreamed of how he could escape.

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