Two new arrivals.
Lucy tugged at Salty’s paw, the huge snow leopard smiling at
“it’s okay Snowy,” he said gently, “I’m not going to harm you.” Snowy took Salty’s left forepaw in both of hers.
“Thank you Salty,” Snowy replied, feeling her chest tighten. Her eyes wide with terror, Snowy was suddenly gripped by a spasm of coughing. Burying her face in her paws, Snowy struggled to breathe deeply, her coughing fit racking her whole body. Snowy’s breath wheezed in her throat as she gasped for air.
“I thought I’d got on top of this!” snowy said, trying not to cry, as she knew crying made things worse. Salty cupped both his huge forepaws over Snowy’s nose and mouth, trying to make a seal of sorts. The snow tigress, re breathing her own air, began to calm down.
“thanks Salty,” snowy gasped, “you saved me.” Salty smiled at her.
“glad I could help,” he said. Snowy tried not to think about anything that would stress her and set her off, but sometimes she couldn’t stop an episode. Salty knew what had triggered a flair up in Snowy’s condition, amber’s comments had upset her.
“It’s okay snowy,” Salty said. He touched her paw with his. Snowy held his paw in hers.
“thank you Salty,” Snowy said faintly. Salty hugged snowy half tail. Snowy snuggled up to him, working her paws into his fur. Salty touched Snowy’s cheek with the toes of one huge forepaw.
“That’s it snowy,” Salty purred, “relax everything.” Snowy nuzzled the pads of Salty’s paw.
“You are so considerate Salty,” snowy purred. Salty heard Snowy’s breath whistling through her nose as she breathed.
“Can I do anything more to help?” Salty asked. Snowy buried her face in Salty’s fur.
“Just hug me, please,” Snowy pleaded. Salty hugged her tenderly, forgetting she was a snow tigress and wouldn’t ever cross paths with him in normal situations.
“It’s okay snowy,” Salty purred, “relax your body, relax your paws, and enjoy the warmth.” Snowy breathed deeply, struggling to relax her paws.
“that’s it Snowy,” Salty said, stroking Snowy’s paw with his.
Dawn arrived some time during Salty and snowy half tail’s encounter. Snowy let Salty hold her paw in his, the snow tigress enjoying the large male snow leopard’s company.
“let those paws relax snowy,” Salty mewed. Snowy totally let go, letting Salty take the full weight of her head on his shoulder.
“that’s it snowy,” Salty said. Snowy felt the tension draining from her, and soon she was asleep. Salty lay with Snowy’s head on his shoulder, enjoying her proximity.
Loud banging on the door woke Salty. Surfacing, he felt snowy wake with a start, fighting madly to free her paw from his!
“What’s all that rumpus!” Snowy demanded shrilly.
“It’s okay snowy,” Salty said, holding on tightly to the snow tigress’s paw, “it’s only someone at the door. A yell of:
“Get upstairs both of you! We don’t like white tigers and raccoon cats down here!” followed by the rapidly approaching sound of scuffing of paws on carpet, announced the fact that someone, it sounded like Bruin from the yell of disgust, had opened the door to two more homeless and needy creatures. Salty knew what Bruin meant by white tigers, but what the hell was a raccoon cat? The paws were very close now, and Salty, along with everyone else, turned to see what was approaching. A white tiger padded into the room, followed by a smaller cat, with the tail markings of a raccoon. Salty waved his free paw at the two newcomers.
“come in, lie down,” he invited.
“Who the hell does he think he is!” Amber complained, “lord of the manner? I’ll have you know Salty, you’ve only been here for two weeks! I’ve been here for ages, so I should say who lies down in here!”
“I’ve been here longer than any of you, so if we’re arguing,” Snowy said, “it should be me who says who stays.” This shut amber up sharpish, for she couldn’t argue with snowy on this one. The white tiger and so called raccoon cat padded into the room, settling down beside Salty. The huge snow leopard looked them over.
“I can see one of you is a snow tiger, but, if you don’t mind me asking, the cat with the racoon tail, what are you?” the cat with the raccoon like tail markings nervously looked up into Salty’s face.
“I’m an ocelot,” the cat said, “I’m no threat to anyone here, I know the rules! I was told them by Constance, who directed us here when she found me and my friend wandering through the forest. We’ve run away from persecution. I was wanted for my fur, and my snowy friend for his body. Apparently bits of tigers are prized as delicacies by certain humans. We ran! Now we’re here, and we hope safe.”
“If we’re not safe here,” the snow tiger said, “I’ll strangle that animal with the stripy face! She swore on her life we’d be safe here, and her life she will give if she’s wrong!” The ocelot motioned with his paw in an attempt to calm the frightened tiger.
“Don’t you wave that bloody paw at me!” the tiger snarled, “you wave that paw one more time I’ll crush it!” the ocelot mewed an apology.
“another thing,” the tiger snapped, “as for me being your friend, I’m not! I only tagged along with you until I was safe, now you can get stuffed racoon tail! You’re just an oversized domestic cat!” the ocelot looked hurt, and well he might.
“After digging you out of the trap, and everything else,” he mewed, “that’s how you repay me is it?” the tiger spat in the ocelot’s face.
“I don’t know why I even agreed to being dug out of that trap,” the white tiger snapped, “I hate racoon cats!” Salty thought the snow tiger very manipulative and ungrateful.
“So you met when one of you dug the other out of a trap?” he asked.
“We did,” the ocelot replied, now very upset, “I thought the tiger wanted to be rescued. I put myself in danger for him! I don’t want praise, but to be insulted and degraded is too much after everything that’s happened!” The ocelot turned and stormed from the room, only to meet Bruin coming up the stairs.
“You stay there!” the brown bear commanded. The ocelot looked round him. He had no way out.
“I don’t want to be here if I’m going to cause trouble,” he mewed.
Meanwhile, Snowy was dealing out justice to the male snow tiger. Spanking him about his head with a huge forepaw, she told him in no uncertain terms what she thought of him, his attitude, behaviour and views.
“You used the ocelot’s gentle nature to your advantage you horrid creature!” Snowy screamed.
“He’s a horrid animal!” the snow tiger yelled, “I got what I wanted, and now he can get lost!”
Bruin approached the ocelot, belting the unsuspecting cat over the nose with his paw!
“That hurt!” the ocelot mewed, “what have I done to deserve that!”
“You are disgusting!” Bruin yelled, “You are a horrid creature! How could you impersonate a raccoon!”
“My tail’s marked like a raccoon’s, but I am not a raccoon, and have never wanted to be one! I can’t help how I look!” the ocelot mewed. Bruin dragged the ocelot down the stairs and threw him out of the house! The poor cat landed on the hard concrete. Watching through streaming eyes, the cat watched the door slam in his face.
Scrabbling at the door with his paws, the ocelot tried to claw his way up towards the handle. His paws slipping on the smooth surface of the door, the ocelot gave up after a few attempts. Banging on the door with the flat of his paw, the cat beat furiously on the door.
“It’s cold and wet out here!” he mewed, “it’s raining!”
Leo opened the door, to be faced with a very bedraggled ocelot.
“I’m sorry about that,” Leo said. The ocelot looked at Leo, torn between fearing the huge lion and trusting him as he looked gentle enough.
“come in,” Leo said, “and we can dry you off.” The ocelot padded into the warm house, his fur steaming as the water evaporated.
“Thank you,” the poor cat mewed. Leo guided the ocelot with one huge paw into the lounge, patting the rug on which he lay with one huge paw. The ocelot lay down, and Leo began to groom him, licking and nibbling at his fur. The ocelot put away his fear of the lion, realising that this lion was unusual. Leo stroked, groomed and massaged the ocelot from ears to paws.
“Is that better?” Leo asked. The ocelot, now warm and dry, replied that it was, and that he felt better than he had for a long time. Leo stroked the ocelot’s paws, gently massaging each paw in turn, the ocelot doing his best to relax.
“You are so gentle,” The ocelot mewed. Leo purred in the smaller cat’s ear, trying to reassure him. The ocelot curled up on the rug, snuggling into Leo’s fur.
“That’s what I like to see,” Leo said.
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