The wind howled and angry water poured down the valley. Underground, in a storm drain behind a high-rise, Mama Mao and her two wild kittens crouched on a narrow ledge.

Runty watched as the water massed and swelled. "We're going to drown," he mewed.

catsoup 01A whisker away, two fast-pedalling rats swirled by, squeaking with terror.

Stolly buried his head under Mama Mao's warm belly.

Runty bumped along the ledge to the struts of a broken iron grid, the only exit.

"Come back!" cried Mama Mao.

But the exit was clear. Surely they should leave? Run into the country park. Find a hollow tree to shelter in.

A torch beam sliced through the thick darkness above.

Runty tensed.

Footsteps. Coming closer.

Runty froze.

A strong light flooded his sky. He couldn't see a thing.

Then a rasping sound: metal against metal, and a burst of fresh air.

Before Runty could dash away, something grabbed him.

He snarled, clenched his claws. But OW! The something grabbed his tail and lifted him out of the drain.

"Help, help," he cried.

Mama Mao yowled.

The big hand dropped Runty into a cage and a human face hovered. All lips and teeth. It was the girl who sometimes left biscuits.

Runty cowered in a corner, hissing.

"You're so skinny," said June.

Another face peered down. Smiled too. The girl's mama?

Runty shrank back and the two humans moved away. Driving rain pelted his back.

There! That rasping sound again. "Ouch," cried Runty, as something landed on top of him.

It was Stolly! Runty nuzzled his warm wet fur.

"Where's Mama?" cried Stolly.

There was a fearful growling and Mama Mao leapt out of the drain.

June lunged at her.

"Mama!" the kittens wailed.

Mama Mao hesitated for a moment.

Then bolted towards the trees.



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