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Dahlia Tells AllAfter the horrible tortures we experienced on our first day at the Shelter, none of us were in much of a mood to trust those awful humans. But Dolly convinced us to give them another chance.

They really are nice, Dolly told us. They just had to do all that awful stuff because there are so many cats here and it would be Game Over for all of us if we all started getting sick.

What’s Game Over? I asked.

Never you mind, said Dolly. There are things that younglings like you don’t need to know just yet.

But DOL-lyyyyyyyy …, I begged.

I’ll tell you later, she said with a harrumph as she curled up in her favorite sun puddle for a nap.

Well, of course, we were kittens, so we got caught up in a rousing game of Batty-Paws and I promptly forgot what I had been so desperately curious to know.

I’d also lost count of how many naps it had been since my brothers and I had been deposited in our lonely metal cage.

But one day, our whole world changed.

The Shelter Human came into our room, as she did every morning, but this time we could tell something awesome was about to happen. And I was right!

“You guys are busting out of isolation today,” she cooed as she picked us up one by one and tickled our chins. “Everybody’s gonna go crazy for you, I can tell, and you’re gonna find homes in no time at all.”

But what about Dolly? I cried. I want to be with Dolly, and I’m not leaving without her!

“Aww, what a cute kitty,” she said as she put me on the floor and ruffled the fur on my head.

How dumb are these humans, anyway? I wondered. Can’t they understand anything?

I ran between the Shelter Human’s legs and scaled the door as quick as my little paws would carry me … until I got to a part of the door that was all smooth and I couldn’t get my claws in anywhere.

Dolly! Dolly! I cried. Hey Dolly! Look at me! Look at me, Dolly! Hey, Dolly!

You foolish kitten, Dolly sighed as she squinted at me from her perch on the counter. She tried to act annoyed, but I could tell she was smiling under all that fluffy fur.

Well, before I knew it, I found myself sliding backwards down the door and I couldn’t do a thing to stop my descent, no matter how hard I tried. When I hit the floor, I assumed a graceful and dignified pose and immediately began grooming an ear. And the Shelter Human started laughing!

The cruelty! The horror! And just when I’d started trusting those Shelter People again …

“Come on, gang,” the Shelter Human said as she scooped the three of us up. “It’s out to the lobby with you.”

The lobby? Did that mean I’d finally get to snuggle with Dolly?

Not if the Shelter Human had had her way, it wouldn’t have. She tried to shove all three of us into another cage — an even worse cage than our lonely room because it was open to the world on four sides! — but I squirmed out of her hands before she could toss me inside, ran up the counter, and crammed myself into the soft fleecy bed where Dolly was resting.

Save me, Dolly! I cried. Please? I don’t want to go in another cage!

Fine, she grumbled. She laid an enormous paw on my neck and pushed me down onto my elbows and haunches, and then she started licking me all over my head. Oh, it felt so good! I hadn’t been licked like that since my mama-cat had gone away. It was paradise! The purr that rose in my throat reverberated throughout the small lobby.

The Shelter Human turned to look at me, her bizarre round eyes wide with surprise.

“So, Dolly, you like little Blackie, do you?” she said. “Well, okay. I’ll let you two hang out together for a little while. ‘Specially since it seems Blackie likes you, too.”

Blackie? Really? Couldn’t they have come up with a more creative name for me? Surely they could see that as an extraordinary and mythically marvelous feline, I deserved a much more elegant and regal name than … Blackie.

My brothers didn’t fare much better. The Shelter People had decided to call them Inky and Shadow.

But I haven’t even told you the funniest part about our experience with the Shelter People! You’ll have to wait till next week for that!

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