Between the Lines

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Chapter 12

“What happened to your leg?” Claire asked.

“Oh, I was playing with Max, and he got a little overstimulated, and went into attack mode,” Keeley said.

“The cat? That looks pretty bad. Are you sure it’s a good idea to keep him? He seems kind of vicious.”

“It looks worse than it is. The vet said it’s pretty common for cats to get overstimulated. I just need to be aware of his signals, and stop playing before he gets too excited. I’m not giving him up,” Keeley said firmly. “He’s a great cat.” She didn't mention that he had attacked the paint brush, and the mop when she was using them. He seemed to think anything that moved was fair game. Now she just had to remember to keep him away from

Claire and Lily exchanged glances, obviously thinking Keeley had a screw loose, but she didn’t care. You didn’t give up on things just because they had a bad habit or two. No one was perfect. She loved Max, and as long as he wanted to, he was staying with her.

“Well, at least you no longer have to worry about anyone claiming it,” Lily teased. “No one else would put up with the little terror.”

“You do realize that you’re supposed to be the boss of the cat, not the other way around, don’t you?” Claire added.

Keeley let them amuse themselves at her expense, but she was thinking to herself that just because she let Max do pretty much whatever he wanted to, did not make her the wimp they seemed to think it did. At least she hoped not.

“What have you been feeding him? He doesn’t even look like the same scrawny little fur ball anymore. He’s huge.” Kira laughed as she bent down to scratch Max’s ears, which he graciously allowed, beginning to purr loudly, and rub his head against Kira’s leg.

“I know,” Keeley said, feeling a pang of guilt. “He is getting pretty big. But when he meows for food, I don’t have the heart to refuse. He was so hungry and skinny when he first got here. Be careful he doesn’t scratch you. When his tail starts to twitch, that means he’s had enough.”

The vet had told her she thought Max was about a year old. How long he’d been a stray, there was no way to tell, but it did not take him long to establish himself as the reigning monarch of the household. Besides the cushion on the porch, his favorite places to indulge in his many daily naps were the back of the sofa and on top of the kitchen cupboards. It amazed Keeley that such a big cat could jump so lightly and effortlessly from the floor to the countertop and then to the top of the cupboard. He landed soundlessly, and once up there, he would choose a spot, lie down and close his eyes. Sometimes his head or his feet would be dangling over the edge. At night, he would follow Keeley upstairs, and leap onto the bed. He would then walk to the exact middle, turn around a couple of times, lie down with his bushy tail wrapped around his body, and there he would stay until morning. Keeley was grateful she had bought a large bed so that she had enough room to squeeze in around him.

At her request, Daniel had made a cat door so that Max could come and go as he pleased. Daniel liked cats, another characteristic in his favour, and Max tolerated Daniel. So far he hadn’t attacked Daniel, probably because Daniel did not walk around in bare feet. Max made good use of the cat door, spending a large portion of the day outside. Usually, he could be found napping on the porch, and as far as Keeley knew, he didn’t leave the yard. She supposed he’d had enough adventures before he got there, and was now content to stay home. She hoped so, anyway. She would miss him terribly if he decided to move on to another adventure.

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