Author’s note: I wrote this children’s story a few years after we adopted Jet and Goliath. Jet died nearly nine years ago at age 14, and early this morning, Goliath died at age 20. This is posted as a tribute to these wonderful, loving felines, along with some photos of the real Jet and Goliath.
The day Jet and Goliath went to their forever home started out just like any other day. It was a Monday, not that the cats knew—or cared—that it was so. In Charge came to feed the felines at the Siamese Cat Rescue Center early in the morning, just like usual.
“Hello, my kitties,” said In Charge. “How are you this fine day? Hmmm?” “Meow, meow,” replied the cats, who really said, “Food, food!”
In Charge fed and watered each cat, letting the integrated ones out of their cages to roam around the converted garage. As soon as her cage was opened, Jet immediately ran up the fake tree into her hut at the very tippy-top. From there, safe and secure, she could observe the comings and goings of the other cats.
Another day spent hiding, thought Jet with a sigh. Jet had had her front claws removed, which made her feel particularly vulnerable around the other cats, especially the females. I wish I was less of a fraidy-cat, but there you have it. Every time I try to mingle with the rest of the girls, it’s always the same. They call me “fraidy-cat” and make fun of me because I’m small and get easily startled. If they had lived with those two ferocious bow-wows, they would have been fraidy-cats, too.
On the other side of the garage, Goliath plaintively cried from his cage as In Charge approached with his daily dose of medicine.
“Hi, there fellow. How are you doing today? Feeling better, are we?” asked In Charge as she tilted his head back and tossed a pill down his throat.
Yuck, thought Goliath. These pills taste gross. He flicked his tongue to get rid of the taste and meowed his displeasure. He twisted his head, rubbing the green bandana around his neck against the cage door. The bandana indicated that he was not ready to play with the other cats. Every cat had a seven-day period of cage-confinement at the Center before he or she would be allowed to mingle with all the other felines.
“Good boy,” said In Charge, as she scratched behind his ears. “Only a few more days before you’ll be off the pills and feeling much better.”
She closed the cage and moved on to take care of other cats. Goliath meowed after her. “Let me out, let me out. I want to explore! I want to play!” he said, but the other cats ignored him and followed In Charge around the room as she cleaned out litter boxes.
A little later, Tapping Fingers came in to say hello to the cats. “Hello, my pretty cats. How’s the day treating you?” he asked, petting a few felines before retreating upstairs to sit at the bright box and make clicking sounds with his fingers on a flat board with raised squares. Some of the cats came upstairs with him and talked to him while he tapped. “Do you like the computer, my lovelies?” Tapping Fingers would say, pausing to play with the more adventuresome cats when they approached him.
The other cats quickly went about their daily routines: eating, sleeping, looking out of the windows, playing, chasing dust mites. With more than 30 cats in residence, there was always something going on. The pedigreed felines would break off into their “high society” group while the mixed-breed cats would band together. But when visitors came, it was every cat for himself. Visitors meant that some lucky cat would be going to his forever home, that place where he or she would be king or queen cat, the top banana. Every cat at the Siamese Cat Rescue Center secretly wished that the next visitor would pick him to take to his forever home.
That particular Monday, someone knocked on the door in the early afternoon and when In Charge answered, the cats closest to the door heard her say, “Hi, and welcome. Come on in and see the cats.”
“New Scents, New Scents!,” shouted those cats, as they scampered back to tell the other kitties. “New Scents!” New Scents meant that a visitor had arrived, one who would hopefully take a lucky cat to his or her forever home. Oh, the anticipation! The friendliest cats immediately began their campaign for attention.
“Pick me,” they purred, rubbing up against the legs of the two New Scents. “I’m cute, I’m fun, pick me!”
In Charge began her standard tour, explaining to the two New Scents about the center and then moving around the room to explain each cat. The couple went halfway around the room before the male New Scent spotted the all-black Jet hiding in her hut.
“What about that one, way up there?” he asked In Charge, his voice sounding rather froggy.
“Oh, you mean Jet, of course,” said In Charge. “Jet has been with us for a while and she’s low-woman on the totem pole, which is why she’s stays out of the way. She’s seven years old and a pure-bred Oriental Short Hair. Quite a lovely cat, really, but a little on the shy side. I think she would do really well in a house where she was the only cat or only female cat.”
New Scents continued their tour, dismissing the kittens as too young and the rambunctious cats as too jumpy. Then the female New Scent spotted Goliath. “What about this one?” she questioned In Charge, her voice sounding musical.
“Goliath just came to us seven days ago, which is why he has not been integrated with the other cats,” In Charge replied. “I think I can let him out, if you would like to see him.”
“Oh, yes,” said the female New Scent. “Please do.” Goliath echoed that by meowing, “Let me out! I want to smell and play and run.”
Goliath scratched at the cage door as In Charge opened it. “Here you go, fellow,” she said. “Out you go.”
“Oh, he’s unusual,” commented female New Scent. “Is he Siamese?”
“Partly,” In Charge said. “He’s a mixed-breed with Siamese—that gives him his blue eyes, gray ears and tail—and snowshoes for his white stockings. Goliath is also polydactyl, which means he has six toes on each of his two front feet.”
“Six toes! Wow,” said male New Scent.
“So I got twenty-two toes, what’s it to you?” Goliath said, rubbing up against female New Scent’s legs and getting a good scratching behind his ears for the effort. “I wish everyone would not be so quick to point out the extra toe thing. Does that get old. Why can’t somebody like me for my personality instead of my six toes,” he groused.
“At least people like you for something,” replied another cat. “Maybe you’ll get adopted soon because of your toes. That ain’t a bad thing, you know.”
“Let’s go over the house to see some other cats,” suggested In Charge, as she finished her garage tour. “I keep some of the older ones over there.”
The New Scents and In Charge left the garage and trouped over to the main house. As they were leaving, Goliath began to explore his new surroundings. “Free! I’m free at last,” he triumphed, sniffing the other cats, the floor, cages, food dishes.
Jet watched the New Scents leave, feeling a bit hurt. I thought those New Scents were interested in me, she said to herself. But I guess not. The girls are right—nobody will want a fraidy-cat.
Just when the cats began to settle back down, the door opened and In Charge brought back New Scents. “We’d like to take a look at Jet, if we could,” said the male New Scent. In Charge told them she’d try to get her out of her hut. Jet began to tremble as In Charge approached.
“Fraidy-cat, fraidy-cat,” chanted the other cats as In Charge reached up to chase Jet out of her hut. “Fraidy-cat.”
Jet bolted from the hut and flew across the room to her second-favorite hiding place, inside the fake tree hollow. She shivered as the New Scents cautiously approached.
“She’s beautiful,” said the female New Scent. “She’s so small, too.”
“I think she would do really well and if you wanted another cat, Goliath might be a good match for her, because he’s very laid back,” In Charge commented, carefully watching the New Scents’ faces to see which cat they were interested in. “I’ll leave you alone to decide. Just come on upstairs when you do,” she said as she left.
The New Scents stood in the middle of the garage, looking at all the cats mewling about their feet. “Take me!,” purred a seal-point Siamese. “Take me,” panted a playful kitten. Jet huddled in her hut and waited resignedly for the New Scents to pick a cat and leave. “They’ll never pick me,” she thought, a bit terrified at the possibility of going with strangers even to get away from the teasing cats at the center. Goliath roamed about, investigating the surroundings and sniffing the other felines. He hadn’t given the New Scents much thought, since he had so many other things to think about, like what was over in that corner, as he hurried to have a look-see.
Female New Scent said to her companion, “Well, which one are you thinking of?”
Male New Scent pointed in Jet’s direction. “I like the small black one hiding over there.”
“She’s pretty,” agreed Female New Scent. “But what about this one?” gesturing toward Goliath. “He’s certainly interesting. Imagine—six toes!”
“He’s friendly, all right,” replied Male New Scent. “I’m still partial to the dark one.”
“And I really like Goliath.” The two New Scents stood for a moment, thinking. “Can we get them both? I worry about one being lonely while we’re at work all day,” she said.
“Two? Are you sure?”
“I think that would be good,” said Female New Scent. The New Scents turned and walked up the stairs to talk with In Charge. Jet trembled in her hiding place, hardly daring to believe that she might be chosen to go to her forever home. They seem nice, she thought. Not loud at all. Maybe it will be okay to live with them. Goliath still romped about getting acquainted with the other cats.
Some time later, just when the cats had almost forgotten that In Charge and two New Scents were upstairs, the trio came back down. New Scents went out of the door and In Charge cautiously approached Jet’s hiding place.
“Now, Jet. Be a good girl and come down from there. It’s time to go to your forever home with these nice people. They’re going to love you and take good care of you.” In Charge used her most soothing voice as she gently picked Jet up and carried her to a plastic pet carrier.
“There you go, let me get your blankie,” In Charge said. Each cat had his or her own knitted blanket that stayed with them in their nighttime cages and went with them when they were adopted. In Charge put Jet’s blue blanket in the carrier with her and carried her to the door.
Jet meowed plaintively, “Where am I going? I’m scared, can’t you see? Don’t make me leave!?” forgetting for the moment her desire to have a forever home in her terror of change.
In Charge carefully placed Jet’s carrier in the back seat of the New Scents’ car, which was on to cool it down from sitting in the hot sun. Female New Scent turned from the front seat and began talking to Jet. “Don’t worry, Jet. It’s okay. Everything will be okay.”
Male New Scent took a cardboard pet carrier and followed In Charge back into the garage. In Charge quickly found Goliath and placed him in the pet carrier. Goliath immediately began butting his head against the flimsy top of the carrier in an effort to get out.
“Let me out,” he cried. “I don’t want to be in here! Let me out I say!”
As Male New Scent transported the cat from the garage to the car, Goliath continued his attempts to get out. In Charge followed with Goliath’s medicine, Jet’s hut and last-minute instructions for the New Scents.
“I thought Jet might like her hut,” she said. “She spent so much time there and I thought it would help her make the transition. Just put it someplace high, like on top of a bookcase,” In Charge advised.
The New Scents said good-bye and thank yous to In Charge, shut the doors and drove away with Jet and Goliath mewing in the back seat. But the car had only traveled a short way when Goliath succeeded in poking his head out of the carrier and wiggling his way free.
“He’s out,” said Female New Scent. “Well, put him back in,” Male New Scent answered. “I don’t think we can make him stay in the box,” she said. Goliath thought, That’s right. I’m not going back in that box, either. You can’t keep this cat down.
“He shouldn’t be loose in the car,” Male New Scent pointed out.
“I’ll hold him,” compromised Female New Scent, reaching behind her to grab Goliath. He settled happily on her lap, content for the most part to lie there while she stroked his fur. “Purrrr. Purrrrr,” he murmured, and Jet heard him say “Ahhh, this is the life. Attention is all mine.”
The long journey continued. New Scents talked to both cats periodically. Goliath tried to explore the car, but Female New Scent restrained him when he did. Jet expressed her anxiety every once in a while with a loud “Meow.”
Soon, the New Scents stopped the car. Male New Scent got out and walked around to get the cardboard carrier out. Female New Scent stuffed Goliath back into the carrier and then picked up Jet’s carrier and hut before following Male New Scent up a winding sidewalk. Two-story brick buildings lined the walkways. Goliath butted his head against the carrier’s top, eventually peeking out through a slit.
Finally, the New Scents opened a door, walked down a hallway and paused before another door. “We’re home, kitties,” exclaimed Female New Scent as Male New Scent unlocked the door. Goliath and Jet waited in anticipation as they were carried inside.
Once the door closed, Male New Scent released Goliath from his cardboard cage and Female New Scent let Jet exit her carrier. Female New Scent picked up Jet and Male New Scent grabbed Goliath and they showed the cats where the food, water and the litter boxes were.
Then they put the cats down and Jet bolted away, running from room to room, looking for a good place to hide. She spotted a bed and quickly ducked underneath. Goliath immediately ran about, sniffing. “Free at last! I’m free at last!” he shouted.
Later, when the New Scents had gone to sleep, Goliath trotted up to Jet and asked her what they were going to call New Scents, since they weren’t new scents anymore.
“How about Froggy Voice for Male New Scent?” Goliath asked. “Okay,” Jet agreed, then hesitantly volunteered, “What about Sing Sing Voice for Female New Scent?”
“Sing Sing Voice?” Goliath parroted. Jet sniffed, “Her voice does sound like music to me.”
“Okay, okay. Sing Sing Voice and Froggy Voice it is.”
“What do you think of this place, Goliath?” Jet ventured timidly.
“I think it’s going to be a good Forever Home,” Goliath answered emphatically.
Jet nodded. “So do I.”1