Catboy

Catboy by Eric Walters Page A

Book: Catboy by Eric Walters Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eric Walters
Tags: book, JUV002050
was a recipe for renewed infection.
    I gave Hunter the medication the way Dr. Reynolds had shown me. I ground up the pill until it was a fine powder and sprinkled it inside a piece of chicken. Hunter was, as I had always suspected, partial to chicken.
    In the junkyard, he’d always been hesitant to take the food I threw him. I knew he was nervous about taking food from people, but I liked to think he wanted to leave it for the kittens or he was too proud to take handouts.
    Of course, none of those were issues for King. He would eat anything thrown his way and swat at any cat that got in his way.
    It was reassuring to see Hunter’s foot getting better. There was no swelling anymore—or at least none I could see. He was putting weight on it too. In fact, he was doing so well he’d even taken a swipe at me when I got too close.
    â€œI don’t blame you for having an attitude,” I said to him.
    I really couldn’t blame him for anything—not the hissing, glaring, distrust or wanting to take a shot at me. He’d woken up in a cage in our apartment and was probably still in pain. I didn’t want him to be angry with me any more than I wanted him to be afraid. Over the past few months, I thought we’d developed an agreement. Not a friendship, but at least an understanding that I wasn’t trying to harm him, and I was a good human. “I’m going to come a little bit closer now.”
    I moved toward the cage. His eyes burned with intensity and then faded to a soft glow. He wanted to see what I had. He associated me with food as well as imprisonment. I was sure he smelled the chicken in the container I carried.
    â€œYou’re looking good today. How’s the foot feeling?”
    He didn’t answer, although he looked like he was giving my question some thought.
    I bent down so I was at eye-level with him. He stayed in the center of the cage instead of retreating into the far corner. Maybe he’d finally come to realize I wasn’t going to hurt him, I was going to feed him.
    I held a piece of chicken out. His ears perked up and he let out a soft, plaintive cry, as if he was asking if the food was for him.
    â€œOf course it’s yours,” I said. “Do you see any other cats around here?”
    Instantly, I felt bad. Of course there were no other cats. Hunter was by himself because I’d taken him away from his family, his colony.
    â€œYou’ll be back soon. I bet they really miss you.”
    The other cats were probably missing him and wondering where he went. Did they feel abandoned? Were they worried or were they grieving? Had they sent out a cat search party to look for him? And what about the cats who depended on him for food? Were there kittens going to sleep hungry because Hunter hadn’t brought anything for them?
    I knew King was “the king” of the colony, but I thought Hunter was the glue that held it together. Without him, things wouldn’t be the same.
    Hunter let out another little cry, louder this time, as if he was chiding me for forgetting who the chicken in my hands was for.
    â€œSorry,” I said. “I got distracted. Thinking.”
    I leaned closer to the bars, and Hunter did the same on his side. I carefully extended my hand, putting the piece of meat up to the bars. Hunter put his mouth up against the cage and gently took the chicken from my fingers. I smiled.
    Unbelievable. In three days he had gone from wanting to scratch out my eyes to eating from my fingers.
    If he’d come this far in three days what would happen if I kept him with me for a week or two? Could he become more than a cat in a cage? Could he…?
    I stopped myself. Of course he couldn’t. I knew that. It’s just that the apartment wasn’t as lonely when he was here.
    I lay on my belly with my face pressed against the bars. I pulled out another piece of chicken. This one was filled with the medicine. I always made a point of

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