Salty meets a pup
Night fell over the house, and sleep wouldn’t come to Salty. After an hour of trying to sleep, Salty ventured upstairs to the main bedroom. Salty made sure his claws were sheathed before padding into the room. Once in the room, Salty looked round and saw a pair of eyes watching his every move. Salty lifted a massive forepaw and waved it in the air, noticing the eyes following his paw.
“Hello Salty,” a voice said. Salty didn’t know the voice. Creeping into the room, Salty padded across the carpet towards the voice. The room was in darkness, the light from the landing giving just enough illumination to pick out the eyes of the animal who had spoken to Salty, now though all was quiet, and dark. Salty could see little, as there was no ambient light in the room. Suddenly a huge paw gripped his left forepaw! Salty screamed!
“What the hell’s going on!” Tigger demanded, slapping at the light switch with one huge paw and illuminating the whole room. While Snowy, who’d caused Salty to cry out, struggled to calm the snow leopard before he attempted to climb the walls.
“I’m so sorry Salty!” Snowy said, “I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
“How else do you expect me to react when something grabs my paw in the dark!” Salty protested, “You are a real pest Snowy! I should give you a walloping for this!” snowy mewed pitifully.
“I didn’t mean any harm,” she said.
“Look snowy Half tail,” Salty said, “you are a grown snow tigress, I’d have thought you’d be able to work out the possible reactions to you grabbing the paw of an unsuspecting animal without warning! I’m furious, feeling sick, and don’t know if I want to be anywhere near you! I suppose Whitie told you about me, as you know my name. How she could have known anything about what I look like, I don’t know, as she’s blind as a bat, but there it is.”
“Whitie said she’d met a snow leopard with big paws,” snowy replied, “and I’ll have you know that though Whitie is blind, she can tell a lot about the animals she meets.” Salty realised Snowy’s reaction to his saying Whitie was as “blind as a bat,” had stung the snow tigress.
“Do you know Whitie?” Salty asked dumbly, feeling his paws on shaky ground.
“I looked after Whitie and her sister Blanche for six months,” Snowy replied, “Whitie’s my cub.”
“but she can’t be,” Salty protested, “she’s a snow leopard, like me!”
“We’re all cats Salty,” was Snowy’s reply.
“You adopted Whitie?” Salty asked.
“I found Whitie and Blanche cowering in a tiny cave while I was wandering one day. They were so helpless and in need of protection, I couldn’t let them go on fending for themselves.”
“Now their mother’s been found?” Salty asked. For answer there was the scuffing of large paws on fabric, then a thud and the same paws, scuffing carpet and coming towards him. Salty looked round to see another adult snow leopard approaching, this one was female, and very attractive too. Stifftail noticed Salty’s interest in Amber and snarled at him:
“Keep your paws off my mate!”
“Hey Stifftail, that was harsh!” Amber snapped, “all Salty did was look at me!”
“Yes,” Stifftail replied, “but I know what he was thinking.
“Let me look at you Salty,” Amber said. Salty rolled onto his side, letting Amber examine him from his nose to the end of his long tail, from his ears, to the pads of all four massive paws. Amber took Salty’s left forepaw in hers, gently stroking it. Salty began to purr, despite his attempts to show no reaction.
“You disgust me Amber!” Stifftail yelled. Amber ignored his outburst, for now she had a new focus in life. Stifftail’s appeal had waned for Amber, he’d become as stiff in his views as his name suggested his tail was. Scowling and spitting at snowy, whom she still loathed, Amber turned her back on both of them, concentrating on Salty. Salty however, didn’t like seeing Amber mistreating snowy half tail, the saviour of her cubs.
“What have you got against snowy?” Salty asked, going straight to the heart of the issue.
“She’s a misfit!” Amber yelled, not caring if snowy overheard, “she’s got big paws, a short tail, and she’s fat!” Salty looked over at the snow tigress in question. He knew she had big paws, for he’d seen as well as felt them on his. As for her being fat, or a misfit, he wasn’t so sure.
“I’m not so sure you’re entirely correct Amber,” Salty said.
“When you get to know what kind of a creature Snowy is, You’ll soon think as we do.”
“Speak for yourself Amber!” Lucy barked, “I for one like snowy.” Amber growled at the Labrador pup, telling her to be quiet.
“snowy will protect anything with silly ears and tiny paws!” Amber snapped. Lucy whimpered pitifully.
“You look more like a spaniel Lucy!” Amber growled, “you’re not a Labrador at all!” Salty removed his left forepaw from Ambers grasp.
“I don’t like this!” he said crossly, “I don’t like this at all Amber! Haven’t you got anything nice to say about anyone?”
“It would seem not,” Arki remarked, spitting with contempt at Amber.
“Let me make my own choices as to what I think of the animals I meet,” Salty said, “I will decide whom I want to talk to! Amber, you for one are on my black list already! I don’t want to talk to you no more Amber!” Amber crawled away. Lucy took her courage in her tiny paw and crawled over to Salty, who took her in his paws and hugged her tenderly. Lucy squealed with surprise as she felt the huge snow leopard’s paws embrace her, but when she felt how gentle the huge cat was, she relaxed and began to enjoy Salty’s gentle paws and soft warm fur.
“This is so wonderful!” Lucy barked. Salty purred with contentment.
“You make me sick Salty!” Amber mewed, “how the hell can you hug a scrap like that!”
“Quite easily Amber,” Salty replied. He stroked one of Lucy’s forepaws, the Labrador pup working her paw into his.
“Lucy enjoys having her paws stroked too, look,” Salty said. Amber hid her head as Salty stroked the pads of Lucy’s paw, the Labrador pup catching on to Salty’s plan and making a huge thing of having her paw stroked by the snow leopard. Salty laughed merrily as he felt Lucy wiggling the toes of the paw he was stroking.
“that’s it pup,” he said, “we’ll show her.” Lucy grinned and snuggled up to Salty. Amber refused to look at the huge snow leopard or the tiny pup he was hugging.
“Now little pup,” Salty said to Lucy, “Will you introduce me to Snowy?” Lucy nodded.
“Follow me,” she said.
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