A Tabby New Year

By Rachel H Grant

Irina walked slowly through the old house, brushing her wanton dark curls from her face, brown eyes glowing with fervent fire.  The creak of ancient floorboards sung a story beneath her feet, the beat of time sending shivers up her legs. Old pipework groaned, a poem of the passage of life. The new house was medicine to her soul, a powerful place in which to finish her novel.

Her beloved tabby cat Tabitha had peacefully passed away only weeks ago. The novel would be a celebration of her life; the story of a cat lover and sanctuary manager who learned to talk to cats, using the ancient language of telepathy.

Walking down the stairs in time to its creaks, Irina suddenly stopped. She could hear a cat purring. Irina hunted through the house. However there was no cat. An imagination on fire, that was all.

That night, Irina awoke abruptly, jumping as if she had heard a shot. She had felt a cat kneading the blankets next to her. She turned on the light. Nothing there.

Over the next few days, a pattern formed: distant purrs and night-time kneaders. Never a cat in sight. Was the house haunted by a feline soul?

It was New Year’s Eve. Irina sat alone but not lonely, her fictional characters chattering in her head, a strange solace. Absent-mindedly she moved her hand to stroke Tabitha, and then stared at the empty spot on her lap as tears finally formed in her eyes.

Then she heard it, punctuating the quiet atmosphere of the house like a drum.

A miaowing coming from her bedroom. She ran upstairs. However, despite searching the entire room, including removing all boxes from the wardrobe, there was no cat to be found.

That night, Irina again felt a cat kneading her blankets. This time, she did not even bother turning on the light.

On New Year’s morning, a crimson sunrise greeted her. As she set the coffee machine to go, Irina turned round in soul-slapping surprise. Someone – something – was scratching her back door.

Nervously, she opened the door. A large tabby cat confronted her, marching in as though he lived there. Irina smiled. Was this her ghost? But how could he have hidden from her?

Irina named him Zac. Despite attempts at advertisement, no owner materialised. Her local vet scanned for a microchip, but there was none. He was hers, and how her heart hiccupped with joy at the prospect of keeping him!

The midnight miaows, nightly kneading and distant purrs all disappeared. In their place, a real live cat had claimed her heart and secured his food dish.

Irina finished her novel. She typed the last line, then bounded down the stairs, Zac in tow. Time to relax. Zac curled on her knee, as a crimson sunrise shimmered in her chest, rays of celebration in her heart.

In Irina’s office, the computer keyboard lay lifeless, until one black whisper fell on the letter T. A sound of purring whispered in the room, and then all was silent. The room was empty. An old soul lingered for one minute longer, eyes glowing with supernatural gold. Then it was gone.

Downstairs, Irina’s smile was stuck on her face like a stamp. She thought of the last lines of her book, and wondered whether she should reword them. “A love of a cat endures long after their death, like a a sun that can never burn out. Feel that love, and you will never be alone.”

A stray draft tousled her hair, then was gone. Zac slowly licked her hand. Peace claimed the house, like a cloud of serenity, raining down silence. Irina closed her eyes, contentment caressing her heart. It was a new year, time for the ghosts of yesterday to go home. New days would come, and with them new dreams. Zac began to purr, a song for tomorrow.

A tabby cat with green eyes
MabelAmber on Pixabay

Magic Kitten

Noah lay in bed, tears rolling down his cheeks, a heavy stone turning in his heart. This was his first Christmas without Cheetah, his much adored Bengal cat. He had written to Santa asking for a kitten, however his mother had informed him that Santa did not give out living animals as gifts, and in fact no one should, as Christmas gifts may end up in an animal shelter after only weeks or months. “A cat is for life, not just for Christmas,” she intoned solemnly. “Besides, we will get you a kitten in the spring.”

However for once in her life, his mother would be proved wrong.

Noah awoke to feel something moving next to him. He stifled a scream, his six year old body quivering, his ginger curls standing in electric shock.

Tentatively, he opened his eyes.

A white kitten lay curled up before him, deep yellow eyes begging him to play.

Noah giggled. Had Santa really brought him a kitten?

white kitten playing with a Santa hat
StockSnap on Pixabay

A piece of paper lay on his bedside table, with lyrical old-fashioned writing like a missive from the past. “Love him like a glittering jewel, his feline power is beyond priceless.”

And so began a fifteen year relationship of fun and frolics. He named the kitten Miracle, as that is what he was and always would be.

Noah’s Mum was speechless. Had her husband bought the kitten without telling her? However, she quickly resigned to the presence of the new feline.

Noah grew in confidence and hurtled feet first in to a new happiness. Miracle lit up his heart like an inner candle of joy. He began a new hobby, football, and in-between practice spent happy hours with his cat.

Little did he know, that Miracle really did suit his name. He was a magic cat, chosen by Santa just for Noah. Every time Miracle looked in to Noah’s eyes, he imparted deep and ancient wisdom. Noah grew in more than just size, as maturity and magic magnified his mind.

The football hobby eventually turned professional; Noah had realised his dream. However, the day after his first record-breaking goal, the sixteen year old Miracle died. He had delivered his mission; Miracle had helped Noah grow in to the man he was and the man he would become. Miracle had furnished a new future, just as Santa had hoped and had foreseen.

Noah became famous, a pin up poster boy for young teenage girls. At the pinnacle of the young man’s stardom, dark times threatened to devour the planet. War whispered on the horizon, world peace as frail as a one hundred year old piece of paper.

It was during this period that Noah delivered the speech of his life during a routine TV interview.

“I have a heart to hope, and a soul to cry. Let’s choose the tears of friendship, and scrub out sobs of war and terror. Let’s choose peace over war, let’s create a paradise not a graveyard. Let every man and child, everywhere, live to see the sunset rise again in the pinks and reds of a brave new dawn. Let’s leave our children a better, a safer, a more peaceful world. Let’s begin now. Alight the flames of love in your heart, look at your brothers and sisters, feel their pain, share their hopes and fears.  Remember we are one, one human race, one planet. The future is ours to set free. Set it free to be reborn like a phoenix from the flames, set it free to deliver happiness and health to all, set it free to pulse to the quiet drum of peace. Banish the dismal drums of war forever. The future is ours, it is ours to mould like clay, let’s become master potters and mould the world we really want to see. Let peace perfume our world, a fragrance for the future of all time. Let love light our souls. Let compassion calm our rage, and empathy erode our divisions. It is time to stand united. It is time to say, enough, no more. It is time to create a paradise right here on Earth.”

sunset over the sea
Public Domain Pictures on Pixabay

Noah’s speech went viral. His message struck a chord at the heart of each nation, and the people knew a fresh hope.

Father Christmas watched with a silent smile on his lips. He had chosen Noah well. Miracle had performed his purrful magic to perfection.

However there was no rest for Santa. It was time to choose a magic Christmas kitten for yet another child. Santa’s smile grew wider.

Charlie turned over in bed, excited for Christmas Day, wishing it were here already. As he closed his eyes, a whisker fell on his pillow. A ginger kitten sniffed his hair, and curled up in the arch of his legs. Charlie would awake to a new friend … and the world would one day know a new leader. A man with the love of a cat colouring his soul. A leader with the innate instinct of a cat, and with feline secrets in his heart.