Paws and Effect

Dahlia Tells AllI was pretty worried when I accidentally almost revealed the secret of my opposable thumbs by opening the refrigerator and spreading out a buffet for Siouxsie, Thomas and myself. But fortunately, some amazing things started happening on the farm and Mama got too distracted to think about how I might have gotten into the fridge.

It all started late one night, long after Mama had fallen asleep and was purring quietly under the covers. I woke up because the moonlight started shining on my head, and, of course, once you wake up you have to use the litterbox!

Well, anyway, as soon as I took care of my business and hopped up on the kitty tower to observe the movements of the mice in the grass below, I noticed that the goats were being pretty noisy.

“Pa-a-ain,” one of them muttered in a low voice. “Pa-a-a-ain.”

“Pa-a-ain,” another replied.

I sat up straight and cocked my ears toward the goat shed. Was I going to have to wake Mama up? I wondered. Why are they in pain?

“Pa-a-a … oomph!” I heard. Then there was a tiny thud and a chorus of cheerful, chuckling bleats.

A few minutes later, I heard the tiniest, cutest little squeaking “Mih-ih-ih! Mih-ih-ih!”

Well, now I was really curious! I jumped onto the bed to wake Mama up so she’d let me out and I could find out what’s going on.

Unfortunately, Siouxsie noticed me first. She poked her head up and scowled at me. “Don’t do it,” she growled. “Just … don’t.”

“But Siouxsie! What’s going on down there? All the goats are saying weird things and there …”

“It’s kidding time.”

“But I’m not kidding! I want to know what’s going on!”

Siouxsie sighed. “Kidding. As in, goats having babies. Goat babies are called kids.”

“But I thought human kittens were called kids.”

“Just curl up and go to sleep, wouldya? Jeez!”

I decided reluctantly that since I couldn’t get outside, I might as well take a nap. After all, tomorrow was going to be a long day of exploring!

And the next morning, I took off for the goat shed as soon as Mama opened the door. And when I got there, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were a bunch of tiny little goatlings! Some of them were standing on shaky legs and poking their mothers’ udders to get some milk, and two were still soaked with mom-juice and lying down on the wet hay. “Co-o-old,” one whispered. The other one didn’t talk at all.

I quickly made my way through the forest of legs (and sharp hooves!) to the collapsed goatlings and I started licking the quiet one’s nose and face. “Meh-eh,” it groused.

One of the mama goats turned around and saw me next to the limp little creatures, and she trotted over and butted me with her head! Fortunately she was the one without horns. But still, the whole experience was terribly humiliating. All I wanted to do was help!

And even after she pushed me away from the poor goatlings, she still didn’t do anything to help them. They just lay there getting colder and colder. I felt so sad because I knew these babies were going to die unless a human came along soon. Just as I was about to run and get Mama, Barking Man came around the corner.

“Barking Man! Barking Man!” I cried pacing back and forth in front of the goat shed with my tail waving in the air. “The goatlings need your help!”

It didn’t look like he’d heard me. This was going to call for more serious measures. I ran in front of Barking Man, risking the possibility of getting punted like a football if he didn’t notice me and accidentally hit me with one of his giant boots. But the babies needed to be saved. “Barking Man! Hey, Barking Man,” I meowed in my sweetest voice. Finally he bent over to pet me (he petted me as if I was a dog, rubbing my fur both ways!) and he noticed the unmoving blob of white and brown near the edge of the pen.

Mama and Lightning the baby goat

Mama snuggles Lightning, one of the goatlings I saved. Look how sloppy he is!

He quickly swept up the two half-frozen goatlings and brought them into the house, where he and Screaming Woman went to work saving their lives.

“Oh, please. You don’t have to thank me,” I said as he stepped inside. “Jerk.”

Mama joined Barking and Screaming in their efforts to save the little babies. When she wasn’t at work, she spent a lot of time at the Big House helping Barking and Screaming to milk the goatlings’ mother and bottle feed the kids.

I was still opening the refrigerator on a pretty regular basis, but Mama didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to that with goats to save and seeds to plant and geese to fend off. And those babies … well, they grew up into the most adorable little goats, and once they got big enough, they enjoyed coming to visit Mama and me at our little apartment.

See the rest of the story | Next chapter >

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