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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dill

To be or not to be...in the Outclaws - Part 4



“Hi Bernard! I’m Otis and this is Pudding,” Otis said, gesturing to her companion. “We know your mom. She sent us to find you.”

Bernie examined both of the mature cats. He looked down. “I miss my mommy and my brothers and sisters. But I’m hungry!”

Otis took a long look at Pudding. “See, he was starving.”

Pudding shook his head in agreement, “yeah, that makes two of us.”

Bernard ran up to Pudding and cuddled up next to the fluffy, puffy feline. “Thanks for rescuing me. You can call me Bernie.”

Pudding edged away from the black and white ball of fur. “Well, technically we didn’t rescue you. It was those canines next door. We will deliver you home.”

Otis said, “First let’s eat something before the journey back.”

She opened the screen of the house. They all slipped inside the white five-bedroom home. During lunch, one of the human’s friends stopped over to pick up a package. The friend, a handsome man in a suit, watched Pudding closely as he delicately ate his Rachel Ray brand food that Otis shared.

They hung out for a few hours. When Otis human woman came home, the cats overheard the man asking about Pudding.

“You didn’t tell me you got a new cat, Chelsea,” the man said. “He’s a butterscotch butterball.”

Chelsea said, “I didn’t. They are friends of Otis. I think Otis is running a kitty mafia or something.”

The humans laughed but Pudding was curious.

“does your owner’s friend have a pet?”

I don’t think so, why?

Maybe I should be his first cat.

After that, Bernie and Otis observed while Pudding puffed out his chest and galivanted around the man named Seth.

“Maybe this cat needs a new home.”

“Most of them are wild though,” Chelsea said.

“I don’t think this one is,” he said.

Pudding pumped up the charm.

“It’s too bad I’m gone all the time, who could change the litter box?” Seth said, as he stared at the ceiling.

Pudding understood and decided to shoot his shot.

He ran to the bathroom and sat on the porcelain throne. After a few minutes, Seth came in, curious and following the animal. Pudding looked him dead in the eye and carefully flushed the toilet.

“What!!!! This cat is amazing!” Seth screamed, as Chelsea ran to the guest bathroom. “He’s already trained. He’s already trained.”

“I wonder if he’s lost?” Chelsea asked. “I have never seen a cat use the bathroom before, let alone a wild cat.”

The two humans met one another’s eyes. They were planning something. Years of friendship meant they were on the same page with any future shenanigans.

“We can put up a poster on Facebook and see if he’s missing,” Seth said.

“Good idea!”

The friends gathered up their technology portals to send Pudding’s visage into the void of social media.

After little prompting, Pudding modeled for several photos for the gram and the Facebook. He took every moment to show how serious he was about being adopted. He was a natural.

“You seem to fit right in with my human,” Otis said. “I can’t believe you already have someone wanting you as a pet. Domestication bodes well for you, my friend.”

Pudding nodded. “I just hope he likes me. I usually save the bathroom trick as a closer, but this guy could be on a plane tomorrow. He smells like money.”

“Maybe you are right. I think Seth is a good friend to Chelsea. He’s always buying her the best gifts.” Otis said.

Pudding found a mirror and was practicing kissing his image. This cat was poised for success.

“You have to understand though, Pudding,” Otis said. “You will be in the same situation I am if this works out with Seth as your new owner.”

“And what situation is that?” Pudding asked, coming close to talk to Otis.

“We are supposed to be joining the OutClaws. And part of joining the OutClaws is swearing loyalty and fidelity to everything that is wild.”

“Ok, so what’s the problem?” Pudding said. “Maybe we just don’t join. I mean, I will have what I need if this works out.”

Otis waited to respond. She took several laps of water at her bowl, trying to find a way to show Pudding what she meant about her predicament.

“You are mistaken, Pudding,” she said “You have a gift, actually many gifts…”

Pudding nodded along as she said that he had many gifts. He clearly agreed.

“But you can’t just hide your light under a bushel…” Otis said. “You have to share it with the world. And you have to help others. That’s how we can honor our gifts, by sharing them.”

Pudding seemed doubtful as he sashayed in the mirror. He enjoyed the mirror he had sorely missed out in the barn with the wild cats.

“I guess, but I don’t even think Sora and Bones will miss me. I am not the type of cat they need,” he said. “I don’t even think they’d mind.”

Otis shook her head, “It doesn’t matter, but I think you are wrong. I would mind. I NEED you, Pudding. We can do so much together if you help us. You said earlier that you knew how to work the computer. Is that true? Did you learn the ways of the human?

Pudding affirmed his knowledge by walking over to Chelsea’s laptop and booting it up. “I even know how to start accounts online. That’s my signature move once my human went to sleep.”

“See! I bet Sora and Bones would love to know that we could take the OutClaws global! But first, we have to figure out how to be a part of it and live the life we want to live...inside.”

The two cats laid on the plush sectional of the house, hashing out a plan to secure their future. Pudding typed a few words on the home screen, found the Microsoft Word app and within minutes was printing off a document that could make this a win-win.

A few hours later, Pudding and Otis knocked on the barn door at the headquarters of the OutClaws. Bones answered.

“Hey Sora! Look what the cat dragged in,” he said, smiling a gap-toothed grin. “Fresh off your first successful rescue case. Congrats on Bernard.”

“Thanks, Bones.” Pudding said, batting his lashes. “His name is actually Bernie. We had help from a couple…”

“A couple what?” Sora asked.

Otis jumped in. Help from Kenny and Larry was off the books and very controversial.

“A couple friendly pets, no one you know,” Otis said. “But you are welcome. He was a good kitten and I’m sure we will see him soon.”

“So, come in and relax after your long day,” Sora said. “You earned it!”

Pudding started walking to his favorite beam. He jumped up, but with the weight of the day and his girth, he didn’t quite make it. He fell to the floor, landing just elegantly enough. “Ooops, guess I’m a little more exhausted than I realized.”

“It’s fine, Pudding,” Otis said. “We don’t want to get too comfortable. We have a proposition for you two.”

Sora and Bones surveyed the two of them and seemed confused. Otis pulled the freshly printed paper out of her bag.

“This is the OutClaws oath. You can read it, or we can read it, but it essentially says that Pudding and I can live with humans and still be a part of the OutClaws. We don’t choose wild or free over a home. We choose both.”

Sora was shocked. She sat back on her hunches. Her face bunched up in worry.

“But our freedom means everything to us!” Sora whispered.

Bones went to Pudding “Did you agree to this, Puddin’?”

“Agree? I wrote it and typed it myself. Can’t you see I used my signature Comic Sans font in pink?” Pudding said, proudly displaying his paws and licking them in anything but humility.

“Honestly, Sora. It doesn’t bother me if these two babies need a mommy and a daddy to tuck them in at night. As long as they adhere to our mission of helping those in need.”

Otis interjected, “And we do...but one other thing. We help any animal in need. Not just cats.”

Pudding smiled. “Yeah...that means dogs get help too. If that’s an issue then…”

Bones, “It’s not. It’s fine. Welcome to the club.”

Sora was tearing up. “I just..it’s all so sudden.”

Otis hugged Sora. “I know Sora. You created something beautiful. This is going to take us even further. Your vision but with the best there is. And with Pudding’s skills...we’re going global.”

Pudding nodded, “I’m going to need an intern though...I have a lot of needs.”

The four huddled together, then signed the oath with red paws on the paper. “E pluribus Unum.”

“So, who’s going to tell Kenny and Larry?” Pudding asked as he punched his paw in the air. “Those guys rock.”

“Who’s that?” Sora asked, still uneasy with all the newness of the situation.

“You’ll see…”

#

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