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Queen Jack, the Humbled
Nicole Starleigh Yeager
I'm a cat. My
name is Jack. I am Queen of my home and my human
regards me as such!
Interesting way to start off a story, huh?
Anyway, enough about me. As anyone would know,
there are three breeds of cats: the Insiders, the
Outsiders, and the Free-goers. I'm an Insider,
which means I stay cooped up in the house most of
the time. Outsiders rarely come inside -- they do
better outside. Free-goers come and go whenever
they please, in or out of the house. That's the
life. I think, deep down inside, I really am a
Free-goer. I just have to convince my human of
I'm a beautiful, gray, long-haired, female cat...
with a boy's name. Hmpf. What they say about humans
is true: they really are dumb. My human thought I
was a boy!!! I think I would do much better with a
name like... Dominique or Sassy or something
elegant like that. You know, Cleocatra, or
I lived with my human for about a year in this
quiet, old house with lots of grass and trees all
around; there were birds to prowl and friends to
play with. Noah was my favorite. He was an orange
tabby cat. He wasn't allowed to come inside the
house a whole lot, though. My owner adopted him as
an Outsider. He was so much fun to play with! He
taught me how to sneak out of the house and escape
to the Outside for a day. I didn't do that all the
time, just once in awhile when I couldn't stand
being around the humans anymore. I mean, really, a
cat could go insane trapped inside the walls of a
house all day!
At first, my human was angry with me whenever I
came back from one of my little excursions, but
after awhile, I had her trained to the point where
she would just welcome me back and ask if I'd had
fun that day. I never stayed out very long. A cat's
bladder is only so large. Noah told me I should
just use Nature's litter box, but I just couldn't
bring myself to go to the bathroom out there with
all the dirt and bugs around. Besides, what if
someone saw me?
Speaking of having her trained, I think I've done
fairly well raising her so far. All I have to do is
look at the faucet and she turns it on so that I
can get a refreshing drink. She even turns it off
when I'm done, too. I greet her at the door when
she comes home from wherever she goes during the
day just to make her happy, but what I really want
is dinner. It works like a charm, I rub against her
leg, scurry over to my food dish and clink my name
tag on the metal bowl... voila! Dinner is served.
She plays with me whenever I want her to. Well,
except in the mornings, when she's only half-awake
and before she gets into the Torture Chamber. I
don't know what possesses her to do such a thing.
She puts me in there every once in awhile and I
hate every minute of it! I get all wet, then she
covers me with this stuff that bubbles up, and then
she pours water all over me!
She wraps me in a towel afterward, but it doesn't
matter because I hate being wet! I just give her
the Silent Treatment for awhile. Well, at least
until I get hungry. She's a smart one, she is. I've
discovered this. It's like she knows when I just
want something and when I really do feel like
sitting with her. She's quick, too. Before I even
get to the sink, sometimes, she'll leave the water
running for me.
Anyway, enough about the past. I'm incredibly
infuriated with her at this point in time. Or,
well, I was a few days ago, but I've started to
come around. The things she did to me deserve no
forgiveness! But, I'm going to be the bigger cat
and let her slide... as long as she meets MY
First of all, I thought she'd abandoned me. I
walked around the house for days calling for her,
but she never came! I looked everywhere: behind the
couch, under the stairs, in the closet... I even
braved searching the Torture Chamber - but she
wasn't anywhere! The other human that lived there
just came and went as usual. She seemed normal. She
spoke to me a few times, only to say, "Don't worry,
Mommy's coming back for you as soon as she's ready
for you." What was that supposed to mean? How long
would I have to wait? When will she be ready for
me? I imagined myself old and decrepit, lying
lazily in the windowsill when she finally came
I leaped onto the windowsill several times each
day. I looked out into the driveway... no, her car
was not there. I meowed a few times, but she still
did not come. I felt a lump in my throat and
started to cry. She wouldn't just leave me, would
A few nights ago, after she spent a few days
emptying our room of all the boxes she had
cluttered in there, she came back. I sprang from
the windowsill to the dark floor (it was very late
at night) and ran into the kitchen, nearly
colliding head-first with the front door as she
walked in. "Mom! Mom! You're home!" I meowed.
She ignored me and turned on the light.
"Mom! Mom! I'm so glad you're back!" I meowed
She still ignored me. Her friend was with her. I
knew this friend. They called her Jo. Jo said hi to
me. But Mom didn't.
I didn't know what was going on. She packed up my
bowls, cleaned out my litter box, and gathered all
my toys. She even grabbed my Feel-Better-Box out of
the cupboard! (The stuff inside that box always
makes me feel better.) I started to worry a little.
I was curious that everything in our room was gone,
from the dresser to the clothes to the table by the
window that I always sat on and even the pillow
that sat in the corner of the room for the past
Mom finally said to me, as she walked right past me
and didn't even look at me, "Jack, it's time to
go." Then Jo picked me up and carried me out to
Mom knows I hate riding in her car, it's bumpy and
awful and you can't even look out the window
because everything flies by you so fast that you
just get dizzy and sick. "Keep that Feel-Better-Box
handy!" I meowed. "You better hope I don't get sick
in your car!" I was starting to become spiteful.
After all that time and she couldn't even say hello
to me? Not even one little pat on the head?
The ride wasn't too long, lucky for them. We got
out of the car and stood in front of the tallest
house I ever saw! It was so high I couldn't even
figure out how to get to the roof! Jo let Mom open
the big door and then there were stairs -- lots of
stairs. I tried to get down to investigate, but Jo
wouldn't let me. I was a little miserable about
that. I let her know it, too.
And of course, Mom scolded me and threatened to
have me declawed. Okay, Mom, point taken.
Once they stopped climbing the stairs, Mom opened
another door. Inside this door, they finally put me
It was a strange place, so I was on my guard. There
were strange smells and there were familiar
smells... then I saw them. There were all the boxes
from our room! What was going on here? I sniffed
around and investigated for about a half hour and
found something else that I didn't like... that
little terror Jo called her kitten. Jill (yes, Mom
and Jo planned it to work out that I, Jack, and the
kitten, Jill, had cute names - something about a
poem or something) had been to our house a few
times... and I made it VERY clear that she was not
welcome in MY territory.
I was ready to go home. I ran over to Mom and pawed
at her. "Let's go home!" I meowed. "Take me home
this instant!" I pawed my way up her leg and looked
at the door.
Mom just laughed at me! "This is our home now," she
said to me. "So get used to it. And you'd better
learn to get along with Jill, too!"
Hmpf! I see how it is! There were a lot of people
in the new place, all moving boxes and pushing
furniture. Our couch was there. And there was my
recliner, too! Over in the corner by the door that
I couldn't see out of...
This was too much too fast! I ran to the back of
the house and found more of Mom's boxes shoved into
this room... the smell was very familiar, so I
crawled behind a few of them and cried myself to
The next morning, I discovered that Mom put my
litter box in the bedroom for me. I guessed she put
it there because there was no other place to put
it. They had boxes everywhere! Lazily, yawning, I
made my way to the litter box when I heard that
wretched kitten squawking from another room. Oy,
what hell this was going to be.
Looking around, I found Mom lying on the floor. She
had no bed yet, just a pillow and some blankets.
Hmpf! Rip me from my home where I was comfortable -
where I was QUEEN! And plop me down here in the
midst of strangers and pandemonium - and another
cat to boot - I was feeling a little bit
I stood right NEXT to the litter box - not in it -
and did my business. I was confident that Mom would
get my message.
Ohhhh... did she ever! I think my hind-quarters
were sore for five days.
Anyway, I gave Mom the Silent Treatment as well.
She didn't seem to acknowledge it, though. She just
kept saying to me, "Deal with it, Jack, this is
your new home." I didn't want to deal with it. I
missed the big house I had before... now I only
have five rooms, and when I figured out the big
window was really a door, I discovered I was afraid
of heights... I was going to be trapped in this
dung hole! With that wretched, wretched Jill!
Jill would not leave me alone. She was a juvenile,
only a few months old. Myself, well, I was about a
year old. At any rate, she was a holy terror!
Always sneaking up on me and pouncing on me and
mussing up my beautiful gray fur! And then when the
little cry-baby would whine if I swatted her away
they yelled at ME! Jill would sit there and snicker
as I retreated to my corner in Mommy's room. I have
never been so humiliated in my life. Mom would pay
As the days went by, more and more of the boxes
were unpacked and more things appeared in the new
place. It really was starting to look and feel like
home... but I wasn't going to let Mommy know that!
I still wanted us to go back home. I made it very
clear I wanted NO interaction whatsoever with
Mommy. If I wanted something, I just waited until
Jill wanted it, too. Then we got it from Jo.
I was very pleased that my ignorance seemed to be
getting to Mommy. She deserved every minute of it!
She stopped talking to me before bed, she stopped
greeting me when she came home from wherever she
went during the day, and she would sit and stare at
me, but I just kept on ignoring her. It was
working. She needed to realize I was not happy
where we were.
Let me just TELL you about how horrible Jill the
kitten was. I was blamed for everything she did!
All because her mommy, Jo, spoiled her and said
that since she was so young, she couldn't have been
the one doing anything wrong. So, Mommy always
reprimanded me. I was getting frustrated.
For example, Jill would dig her dirty claws into
the corners of the couches - and since neither Jo
or Mommy ever saw her do it, they only heard it,
Mommy believed Jo when she said that Jill never
ever scratched the furniture before, so it couldn't
be her. Yep, you guessed it. I got scolded and more
often than not - a smack on the rear. That really
smarts, you know. My temper was rising.
I got in trouble when Jill knocked the smelly-good
bottles over in the Torture Chamber and they
spilled out into the bottom. It was my buttocks
that was smacked when the food dish was flipped
over and she played hockey with all the little
pieces. I was me who was yelled at when Jill yanked
all the wires out of their places behind the big
moving picture box. And it was my face they held
close to the bag of catfood with little teeth marks
in it... why wouldn't Mommy believe that IT WASN'T
Then I overheard Jo talking to Mommy one day as
they put Mommy's brand new, enormous bed together
in her room. She said, "Jack's just rebelling
because you moved her out of her home. She'll snap
out of it." Snap out of it? Snap out of what? I
wasn't doing anything! Yes, I was angry because I
really did want to go back home, but I was a Queen!
Queens never stoop to the levels of that rat, Jill!
I was beginning to miss the things that Mommy and I
used to do together: cuddling on the recliner and
watching TV, playing tag throughout the rooms, the
cool, refreshing drink I got when Mommy would turn
on the faucet in the bathroom sink for me... She
hardly ever even talked to me anymore - not that I
was talking to her either - but I sort of missed
our conversations. And sleeping on the floor in the
corner wasn't quite as comfortable as my old spot
back at home in her bed...
I knew what I had to do. I wanted Mommy back, but I
didn't want her to be mad at me or thinking I had
developed uncivilized habits or anything. I had to
catch Jill in the act... a plan was slowly forming
in my head. Jill may have been a little more sneaky
than me, but I was a little bit smarter than she...
I talked Jill into chewing a hole in the corner of
the catfood bag. She wasn't going to go for it, but
I said, "They wouldn't have left it on the floor if
they didn't want us to help ourselves!" And since
she had such a big appetite anyway, she was more
than willing to jump at the chance for a snack.
She started gnawing on the bag. A few moments
later, I meandered into Mommy's room and stretched
out a paw to her leg. Mommy looked at me. Happy to
see that I finally wanted her attention, she moved
to pick me up, but I turned tail and pranced into
the hallway. I stopped and looked over my shoulder.
"What do you want, Baby Girl?" Mommy asked me.
I looked in the direction of the closet and back at
Mommy. I opened my eyes as wide as I could. "I know
something you don't know," I thought, slyly.
Curiosity got the better of her, as I'd planned,
and she ventured out of her room to see what I was
trying to show her. As soon as her feet moved in my
direction I ran to the closet door where Jill was
busy gnawing away on the corner of the catfood bag,
and sat my little butt down and waited for Mommy to
get there and see her.
"Jillian!" Mommy scolded so loudly that Jill jumped
twice her own height in spook and ran head first
into the horrid suck-things-up-off-the-floor
machine. Mommy quickly caught her and shoved her
face up next to the hole, then gave her wicked
little rear a good cuff. Victory! I couldn't help
but smirk as Jill cried out and ran to Jo's room,
where I heard Jo say to her, "And what were you
Mommy even knelt down in front of me and stroked my
soft fur. I realized just how much I'd missed her
touch. She began to speak to me in the soft,
comforting tone I knew from home. "I'm so sorry,
Baby Girl, I had no idea it was really Jill all
along. I should have known you wouldn't have been
that misbehaved... although I'm still not happy
about the little accident next to the litter box
Before I knew it, I was purring. I was purring for
the first time since we came to this new place.
"Never again, Mommy! I promise!" I stood up to
daintily sashay my whiskers across her soft, fair
cheeks. Her smile made my heart swell. The Silent
Treatment would end, I decided. Mommy picked me up
and we went into her room and cuddled on her brand
new bed. I watched over her while she dozed off
into a little nap. I was actually happy, cuddled up
there with her. If I had to share the rest of the
place with Jill, at least I had Mommy's room. And
at least I had Mommy.
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