The Best Christmas Present Ever
A long time ago, two little cats found a new home. Before that, a man with heavy boots used to come from time to time and kick them about. Then he would leave a bit of food and go away again. Tam, a handsome tabby, took most of the food so his sister, Smoo, did not grow well, and became very timid.
When they were almost a year old, and still quite small, a man and a woman came and took them away from this cruel treatment. By then, Tam was lame in his back legs, and his back was a strange shape because of all he had endured. Smoo looked only half grown; she too had a slight limp. For a while they lived in a small wooden house with other cats, and the woman came often to give them food and love. They didn't quite know what to make of it.
One day the woman brought two visitors with her and the new people took the cats out of the cat house. Their new home had lots of places to hide, food to eat, trees to scratch and best of all, cushions to sit on in the sunshine. Slowly, the two cats settled down. Tam was a charmer; one look from his big green eyes followed by his loud purr, and just about anyone would make room for him on their lap.
But Smoo, the little tortoiseshell, stayed silent and timid. She couldn't believe she had her own bowl of food, couldn't get used to not having to hold back all the time so she didn't get a biff on the nose from the tom, or a kick from a boot. She spent a lot of her time outdoors. Most of all, she liked to sit in a tall cypress tree which hid her well.
After three or four years, the cats had grown and filled out, though Smoo would always be dainty. Most of her teeth had fallen out because of what she had gone through, and she was still silent. Never a purr or a mew escaped her. Tam was a big cat with strong shoulders and determination which made up for his poor hind legs and humpty back. Their coats shone and grew thick, and they had their own territory.
It was Christmas time, and they were enjoying the delicious smells and tastes in the kitchen, looking forward to the family leaving the huge kitchen table when Mum would give them turkey scraps.
The time came; the kitchen was quiet apart from Mum pottering about, getting their dishes and cutting up their very own turkey meat. They drooled a bit, and batted each other with their paws in anticipation.
Then the dishes were set down, and they ran, tails ram rod straight, to start their Christmas meal. He guzzled, scoffing the lot in great mouthfuls. She paused a moment, looked up from the dish at Mum, and then... she mewed. Quite quietly, but definitely a sound came out. Mum wiped away tears of joy with her apron; Smoo had found her voice at last.
It was Mum's best Christmas present ever!
Sue Tordoff, writer and editor, wrote Pets' Tales for the Keswick-based charity Pets' Lifeline. It is a collection of stories about animals who found life and hope through the efforts of Pets' Lifeline's dedicated volunteer workers.
Price £2.50 (Plus 30p Postage & Packing) - all 250 pennies of this goes to Pets' Lifeline.
Contact Sue Tordoff at: E-mail
Pets' Lifeline is a registered charity, number 518593.
4 Crosthwaite Gardens
Copyright: Sue Tordoff (www.georgemackaybrown.co.uk)