Tigger woke slowly, wondering why he felt so warm. Surfacing to full consciousness, he resolved the question of why he felt so warm, there were four cubs cuddled up to him, as well as a white tigress and two funny furred big cats. Tigger smiled as he thought of Little Leo and His sister Tess, Fleur, Sushanti and Swarupa his own two cubs, as well as Leo and Tess, mother and sire to two wonderful liger cubs. Tigger realised he couldn’t move without disturbing the cubs, but he had to get up to relieve himself. Gently getting to his paws, he carefully felt his way between the sprawled unconscious big cats and then out into the passage, where he padded along to the shower room with its new facilities. Washing his paws after completing his business, Tigger thought about his lot while the warm water coursed over his paw pads, soothing him. He thought of each cub in turn, sending them loving thoughts from where he stood, his fore and hind paws bathed in warm running water. The new paw baths were great for quickly washing paws. They were photo controlled, so that when noone was standing in front of the sensor, the running water stopped. The water was always hot, just on the point of bearable heat. The boss did this so the paws of any animal that used the baths would be cleaned without many chemicals, even though Tigger could smell a slight antiseptic scent. Tigger loved the feel of the water coursing over his paws from jets in the floor, and would spend many minutes just standing in the shallow bath, easing his weight from paw to paw, lifting the heels of all four paws so the water drummed hard against his heel pads, then lifting his toes so the water played over them. Tigger, deep in thought, was jerked from his dream by a voice telling him to:
“Get out Tiggie, my turn now.” Tigger started with surprise and turned his head.
“Weici!” He exclaimed, “Where did you spring from?”
“Never mind that,” the sow panda said, “I need to use the bath you’re standing in.” Tigger reluctantly left the shallow bath, Weici stepping into it. Tigger kissed the sow panda’s nose, Weici laughing merrily.
“I love you tigers,” she said, “but don’t let Guang or ChangChang in on that. I quite like the lions too. I met Simba for the first time yesterday, and I can say here and now that I love that lion with all my heart. He’s lovely.” Tigger smiled.
“I like him too,” he replied. Weici left the paw bath and both tiger and panda walked to the drying room where they stood, their paws dried by warm air.
“I hear you’ve got four new cubs,” Weici said. Tigger smiled:
“I was thinking about my cubs when you found me,” he said. Weici kissed his nose.
“I know,” she said softly, “for me and Geming are thinking of having cubs. You know how bad we pandas are at mating; well Geming and I did last night, and will probably today too, just to make sure I have a cub. For we can’t reproduce like you tigers can you know.” Tigger smiled.
“I know what a panda looks like,” he said, “for I saw one just before I lost my sight.”
different though,” Weici said, “he’s from a different part of
“He is,” Tigger mewed. Weici suddenly stopped dead.
“What am I saying!” She exclaimed, “I could let you stroke my paws too!”
“You could,” Tigger mewed. Weici danced on her toes with excitement, almost a cub again.
“The sole of my left hind paw is black, but the soles of my other three paws are brown, and very similar to Geming’s. At least I think they are. Maybe I’ve lost the black fur on the sole of my left hind paw. I can’t say, for I haven’t looked.”
“Well I can’t tell you,” Tigger mewed, “for I can’t see your paws at all Weici dear.” Weici kissed his nose:
“I know,” she replied.
“Let me look at your paws Tiggie,” Weici said. Tigger and the panda padded back to his lie up and there they lay down. Tigger showed the sow panda his paws. Weici touched Tigger’s paws, used to the paws of tigers as she was used to stroking Hop along’s paws. Weici stroked Tigger’s paws, and then he stroked hers.
“Ah there you are Weici,” Geming said, padding into the lie up, “I saw you and Tigger together and heard your conversation too. Allie was showing me the security system. I would love it if Tigger would stroke my paws, and yes, Weici’s lost her black fur on her hind paw, and it has a brown sole now, as do mine.” Tigger smiled.
“My paws all have golden fur with black pads. Mine are not as interesting as yours. Geming smiled and touched Tigger’s left forepaw with his.
“I like your paws Tiggie,” he said. Tigger extended, and then retracted his claws, Geming grinning at him. Then kissing the pads of his paw.
“I love using my paws,” Geming said, “when my mum taught me how to massage my paws, my life changed forever. I’ve seen the soles of my paws in a mirror, and could tell you about them while I guide your paw over them, but I don’t want to deny Weici her paw massage. I’ll explain where your paw on Weici’s paw and also what colour the fur you are touching is. Weici smiled at Tigger and lay down comfortably on her side, stretching her forepaws towards Tigger. The tiger found her right forepaw with his left fore and explored it. He knew it was a forepaw he’d got, and gently brought his other paw into play, massaging her pads and playing with her toes, much to Weici’s delight. Tigger smiled as he worked, feeling the sow panda’s pleasure radiating back to him from her paws.
“Can you remember colour Tigger?” Weici asked. Tigger smiled:
“I can,” he replied.
“I will describe Weici’s paw then as you have seen a panda before, though you’ve never seen one with brown soled paws,” Geming said. He took Tigger’s paw and traced the sole of Weici’s left forepaw with the tiger’s toes, telling him what he was touching.
“You can feel her pads and toes?” Geming said, while Weici herself tried not to laugh as Tigger’s touch tickled her.
“Yes,” Tigger mewed, trying to stroke Weici’s paw to soothe her.
“Well,” Geming said, “the entire sole of Weici’s paw is brown, from her heel pad to her toe pads, with a surrounding of black fur. I love her from her nose to the soles of her paws, and I would like you to love her too.
“I like pandas,” Tigger mewed, “I know Hop along loves them too, and I want to learn how to.” Geming smiled and kissed Tigger’s nose.
“You don’t need to learn how to love pandas, you already do,” Weici said, “You also know how to massage and play with a panda’s paws, which is wonderful.” Tigger grinned at Weici while tickling her pads and toes, Weici laughing helplessly.
Fleur padded in, saw the goings on and laid a paw on her sire’s shoulder.
“Tiggie,” she said, “I need your help.” Tigger stroked Weici’s paw once more then got to his own paws.
“What with fleur dear?” He asked, “There’s not often much I can help you with these days.” Fleur knew what he meant and touched his paw.
“I know you messed things up when you had my job, but that doesn’t mean your worthless Tiggie,” she mewed, kissing his nose.
“Do you want me to look after the pool for a bit? Is that it?” The Bengal Tiger asked.
replied, “Bianca and Duke are doing that.
I need, well, it’s a bit strange.
Pakshalika was walking through the wood when she found a
“I do, I think,” Tigger replied, “your tigress is blind I think, that’s why she tripped over the root. How she became blind I don’t know. Maybe it happened after an infection she got while hunting or fighting. I’ll find that out later. First though, one blind tiger to another, I think I need to make paw contact and soothe her mind. You fleur are the best of cats, and I love you to the ends of the earth, but sometimes your sire has to do things that only he can.” Fleur knew what Tigger meant. She squeezed his paw.
“Thank you Tigger,” fleur said, much relieved, “it was, it was horrible! The tigress was screaming to be left alone to die in peace, and begging us to kill her quickly. She couldn’t believe we wanted to help her Tiggie!”
“It’s a harsh world out there Fleur dear,” Tigger mewed, “a world in which I could not survive for long unaided. I know that. But here, here I could be of some help. Maybe be the first contact she’ll fully understand.” Fleur led her sire to the bathtub, where splashing and yelling could be heard.
“Leave me alone!” Someone wailed, “Leave me alone to die!”
“We can’t do that!” Pakshalika protested.
“Now try to calm down,” Rowena said gently. The newcomer, obviously the tigress fleur had spoken of, swore at Rowena, telling her she could shut up, for even she, disadvantaged as she was, could tell Rowena was a lioness, and if there was one creature she hated more than anything else it was a lion. Rowena turned and stormed from the bathroom, very upset.
“Don’t worry about her,” fleur mewed, Rowena brushing her off with uncharacteristic force.
“Leave me alone fleur!” Rowena snapped, “I do my best to help that bloody tigress and that’s the thanks I get!”
“What happened to my enlightened and patient lioness Rowena?” Tigger asked. Rowena paused, the tiger’s words upsetting her even more.
“This lioness is not feeling enlightened or patient today,” she said miserably, “I’m sorry Tigger.” Tigger padded to Rowena and hugged her.
“I think maybe one who is in her own situation might be of greater help to her at this time,” the tiger mewed softly.
“I know I’m not a tiger, but I can usually talk to other species with ease,” Rowena said.
“Dear Rowena, you miss my meaning,” Tigger purred. Rowena looked mystified.
“I don’t understand,” she admitted. Tigger kissed her nose and left it unexplained.
“Now, I have to go Rowena. Let your paws be your guide dear friend,” Tigger said. Fleur watched Rowena, who was now more confused than ever, pad dejectedly down the passage.
“Now let’s go in and see if we can help this tigress,” Tigger said. Before they could enter the bathroom however, the tigress leapt from the water, scattering everyone and blundering down the passage, cannoning into fleur and crashing into Tigger, who managed to stop her!
“I want out!” The tigress yelled, “I can’t cope!”
“Tarry a wile dear sister,” Tigger purred, holding her paw tenderly. Fleur, rubbing her nose where the tigress had kicked her in her attempt to get away, listened to her sire’s words.
“Wait a while?” The tigress asked, “In my condition? If I wait, I die! I must run, run through darkness, to safety!”
“Your world wasn’t always dark though was it sister,” Tigger mewed. At Tigger’s words, the Tigress collapsed, weeping and beating her paws on the tiles.
“You know don’t you, you know too much!”
“I know because I am as you are,” Tigger mewed, “trust me sister when I say that those who brought you here, including the lioness you swore at, want nothing more in the world than to help you. Trust me dear sister, for I know.” The tigress struggled to her paws, keeping contact with Tigger’s paw at all times.
“Come,” Tigger mewed, “let me bathe you, and then maybe we can talk a while.” The tigress, now calm, let Tigger lead her to the bathtub once more. Pakshalika scowled at the new tigress as she passed her. Fleur slapping her hard.
“Don’t get angry with her Pakshalika,” fleur warned, “that tigress is not your target.”
“You didn’t hear what that tigress said to Rowena though, it was horrible!” Pakshalika mewed.
“I did, and it was horrible, but understandable in the circle,” fleur mewed. Pakshalika stormed out, angry from her nose to her tail tip.
“What’s your name dear sister?” Tigger asked the tigress, who was now feeling much calmer, though she couldn’t tell why this was.
“My name is Namrah,” she replied.
“Mine’s Tigger,” Tigger said, kissing Namrah’s nose.
“How long has it been since your world went dark dear sister?” Tigger asked. Namrah rested her head on Tigger’s shoulder.
“I don’t know time,” she replied, “for the sun and the moon marks time for tigers, and I know neither now. I remember being hunted and getting a bullet stuck in the pad of my right hind paw and being unable to remove it. The wound became infected, and after a long time cleared up, but the infection must have damaged my eyes. Now I am in darkness and my world is terrifying. I hunted fruit and berries for ages, barely able to stay alive. I was hunted myself by other big cats, lions and pumas. I fought them off with fierce recklessness, as I have no regard for my own life. Things are little better now. When those animals in the wood chased me, they were almost on top of me before I heard them! They had soft paws!”
“They were snow leopards,” Tigger mewed grimly, “I know who they are, and they will be punished.”
“I fell and strained my shoulder and one hind leg,” Namrah continued, “Pakshalika came and rescued me, and now I’m here. I didn’t know what she wanted from me, whether this was a prison or a home. Now though, now I’m beginning to work things out. I still don’t like lions, though I’m feeling bad for what I said to that lioness earlier.”
“Do you want to stay here, or would you rather go back into the wood?” Tigger asked. Namrah drew her paw through the water, feeling the warm liquid against her pads.
“I’d like to stay here,” she said, “who wouldn’t. It’s warm, dry and safe. I don’t know what you eat here, but I suppose that’s good too. You are obviously clean and well nourished, and very hospitable too. If, if you will allow it, I would like to stay.” Samson, overhearing the end of the conversation, smiled and stepped into the water.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “but there’s one problem you might have with remaining here. The community is lead by lions. We work on the pride system here, and lions lead the community. I know you don’t like lions.” Namrah cocked an ear at Samson.
“I could learn,” she said, “I could learn about lions here. I already know they are gentle, for I’ve already managed to upset a lioness. I’m sorry for that.” Rowena, listening at the door, smiled to herself. Simba had spoken to her shortly after she’d busted into their lie up and recounted how she felt she’d been treated horribly. Simba had put her right on several points, and now Rowena wanted to apologise to Namrah. Rowena padded into the bathroom and approached Namrah.
“Namrah,” she said, “do you remember me?” The blind tigress turned her ear to Rowena and buried her head in Tigger’s shoulder.
“I know you don’t like lions,” Rowena said, “but we mean you no harm Namrah.”
“Maybe I have a solution,” Tigger mewed, “Namrah, please, take Rowena’s paw in yours. The tigress hesitated and then waded through the water doing as Tigger suggested, and Tigger heard her gasp of surprise as she felt Rowena’s real intentions towards her.
“Follow your paws dear Namrah,” Rowena mewed. Namrah smiled:
“I have no choice,” she mewed, “I can’t do anything but follow my paws these days.” Rowena got into the water with Namrah and hugged her, much to the tigress’s confusion.
“Lions loving tigers, what else do I have to learn about?” Namrah asked. Tigger smiled:
“Do you want to know what I was doing before fleur came to get me to help you out?” He asked. Namrah nudged him:
“Tel me,” she urged.
“I was stroking a panda’s paws,” Tigger mewed.
“A panda, I know what those are,” Namrah mewed, “they’re not common where I came from, though I knew a tiger who lived in china and told me what a panda was. They’re like bears, but eat bamboo. You were stroking one’s paws?” Namrah asked. Tigger smiled:
“Yes,” he mewed, “Weici likes having her paws stroked.” Namrah touched Rowena’s paws, the lioness purring contentedly.
“I will look after you Namrah,” she mewed. Namrah touched Noses with Rowena.
“I must try to learn things are not usual here,” she mewed. Rowena patted Namrah’s paw.
will show you round a bit,” Rowena said, “and maybe, just maybe he’ll introduce
you to his cubs, two liger and two
“Liger cubs?” Namrah asked, “but, but, well, I met a tigress about four months ago, she said, said she’d been attacked by a lion. The tigress said her name was Tess.”
“Tess came here and had her cubs,” Tigger mewed, “my Grandcub has adopted her and her cubs and is looking after them.” Namrah suddenly felt tears pricking the back of her eyes.
“I’m so glad,” she sniffed, “for Tess told me a horrific story. But, but your Grandcub? How? Tigers, male tigers, they don’t associate with their cubs! They usually kill them!”
“Not Tiggie,” Fleur said, “My Son cub, Leo is his Grandcub. He loves his Grandcubs with all his heart, and his own cubs better than their mother does.”
“This is truly a strange community,” Namrah mewed.
“Hey Tiggie! Tiggie!” Swarupa yelled, bursting into the bathroom, “we met Allie today! We met a polar bear! She’s massive, but so gentle too.” Namrah pricked her ears.
“One of your cubs?” She asked.
“Yes,” Tigger said laughing, “Swarupa, my youngest cub.” Sushanti then ran in, pursued by Brunetta, the female brown bear complaining loudly:
“You didn’t finish massaging my paws Sushanti! I want you to come back and finish the job!” Sushanti and her sister laughed helplessly at Brunetta, who stamped her huge paws in mock anger.
“I want my paws massaged!” Brunetta yelled.
“that’s Brunetta, one of the brown bears who live here,” Tigger mewed, “she’s addicted to paw massage, and my cub Sushanti has obviously offered her services as a masseur, only to break off half way through, which has caused this problem.” Namrah heard the huge sound of the brown bear’s paws on the tiles coming closer, and then felt Brunetta’s breath ruffling her fur as the bear kissed her ear.
“Hello Namrah,” Brunetta said softly, Tigger stepping out of the water so Brunetta could take his place. Before Namrah knew what was happening, a huge bear was standing beside her, and then a massive ursine paw covered one of hers under the water.
“Hi, Brunetta isn’t it?” Namrah asked. Brunetta massaged the tigress’s paw beneath the water. Before Sitting down and Picking it up in both her forepaws. Namrah forced to sit down so she didn’t lose balance.
“Your paw pads are wrinkled from all that water,” the brown bear remarked.
“I don’t know whether to be angry or pleased!” Namrah exclaimed, “My paws are mine! But then, then, I suppose they’re not just mine. I too have touched the paws of other animals without permission since my world went dark. But your world isn’t dark is it Brunetta, and you still touch paws like I do.”
“You heard Rowena use the words “follow your paws?” Brunetta said, still massaging the tigress’s right forepaw.
“Yes, yes I did,” Namrah replied, “but, I thought that was just comfort speak, I didn’t think it was real.”
“It is,” Brunetta replied, “you will be walking or resting, or sleeping when another community member, when out of the blue, a cub, an adult of any species, could come and take your paw in their’s. That’s how we communicate, that and by talking. We very seldom use our eyes for communication. The paws are best.” Namrah could tell this already. Her anger at Brunetta having taken her paw without her say so had vanished, and now she was enjoying the bear’s attention with deep gratitude.
“I love this,” Namrah said, “but how do I repay the favour? I’m no good at massage!”
“Just have a go at it,” Brunetta replied.
“Which paw do you want massaged,” Namrah asked, “fore or hind?” Brunetta said that massaging one of her hind paws might be easier for the tigress, and Namrah agreed. Brunetta let go of Namrah’s paw and guided her to a ledge where Brunetta sat, so her hind paws were nearly out of the water, allowing Namrah to sit in the water and work more comfortably. Namrah took Brunetta’s left hind paw in both her forepaws and began to stroke her pads and toes with infinite care. The tigress was so terrified she might do something wrong that she hardly touched Brunetta’s pads at first.
“Namrah,” Brunetta said, “imagine that all you want in the world is to stroke a bear’s paws, Explore my paws with your toes and pads. Go on, I won’t be angry.” Namrah did as Brunetta suggested, exploring her paw with thorough concentration.
“I must do well,” she thought, or this bear, obviously an expert in this field, will think me a failure.”
“Don’t think negative thoughts either,” Brunetta said, “for they transmit through your paws very well. Namrah, don’t worry, just enjoy what you’re doing, imagine I’m your adopted cub and you’re soothing my injured paw. Go on, try it. I won’t bite you.” Namrah tried imagining what Brunetta suggested, and it helped quite a bit. Namrah relaxed slightly, Brunetta realising this and relaxing too. Namrah began to purr with contentment and relief as she realised her paws were doing the trick. Brunetta curled her toes slightly, Namrah working her own toes between the furrowed pads of the female brown bear’s left hind paw.
“This is wonderful!” Brunetta said. Namrah smiled despite her misgivings about her own abilities.
“I see you’re doing a good job,” Sushanti said, “I’ll leave you to finish off what I started Namrah.” Brunetta looked sharply at the tiger cub.
“No you won’t!” She yelled, “You come back here now and stay here until Namrah’s finished, then you get right in and finish your work young lady.” Sushanti realised she’d put her paw in it with Brunetta and that she’d not get away with shirking her responsibilities.
Namrah found she was easily transferring her attentions to Brunetta’s other paws, and before she knew what had happened, she’d massaged all four of the bear’s huge paws. Finishing her work, Namrah let her paws fall with a small splash into the water. Brunetta smiled at the tigress and hugged her.
“Now my dear Namrah, would you let me massage your paws?” Namrah, choked up by emotions she’d never felt before, mewed that she’d very much like to have her paws massaged.
“Let’s get you dried off then dear cousin and I’ll see what I can do,” Brunetta said softly. Namrah and Brunetta left the water, Sushanti and Swarupa following them to the drying room, then on to Brunetta’s lie up. The two tiger cubs were interested to see what happened when the bear set to stroking the tigress’s paws. To their surprise, nothing out of the ordinary did. When Namrah was sleeping peacefully, Brunetta left her to it. Seeing Sushanti watching the goings on Brunetta pounced on the cub.
“Now you can finish what you started,” she said. Sushanti whimpered that her paw was sore, but Brunetta would have none of it.
“Show me your paws, all four of them!” Brunetta commanded. Sushanti did, whimpering with what she hoped was realistic pain as Brunetta took her left forepaw in hers. The bear wasn’t fooled however, and Sushanti was bound over to finish her work, work she’d gladly started on before running off after Tigger and Namrah.
“I wish I’d never started this!” Sushanti grumbled.
“It was your choice,” Brunetta replied, “how would it be if I part massaged your paws?” The tiger cub had to agree that point.
“All right, all right!” Sushanti mewed.
Meanwhile, in another part of the house, Tigger found Panja and Namir. He spoke to them about their conduct in the wood, but the two snow leopards laughed and Panja called him a silly blind tiger, which did nothing to improve Tigger’s mood.
“That tigress was good sport! If a little slow, very slow in fact.” Panja said, “Until she fell over of course. She fell over a root and lay inert, she didn’t respond even when I nudged her with my paw.” Namir was looking less and less happy with his part of the game as it dawned on him why the tigress was slow.
“Panja,” Namir said, “I think the tigress was slow because she is blind, like Tigger and like my mum. I don’t think I like my part in this whole thing any more. I want to apologise to the tigress, Tigger, where is she?” Tigger held Namir’s paw, realising the snow leopard was sincere in his remorse.
“I think she’s in Brunetta’s lie up,” Tigger mewed. Namir kissed Tigger’s nose, then left to make amends with Namrah.
“You big sissy Namir!” Panja yelled after the departing male snow leopard, “Kissing Tigger’s nose! What the hell are you on?” Panja spat into Tigger’s face and walked away, though he didn’t get far. Tigger leapt upon Panja and brought him down using his weight.
“Now you little shit!” Tigger growled, “I will have you for dinner!” Tigger raked his claws down Panja’s shoulder, his whole weight resting across the snow leopard’s back. Panja wriggled and fought, but Tigger was a considerable weight on his back, and he could do little.
“Leave me alone! Leave me alone!” Panja screamed.
“No!” Tigger roared, “I will not! I will make you pay for your disgusting behaviour!” Panja squealed and beat his paws on the floor, trying to attract attention, but noone came, and Tigger’s anger was growing!
Meanwhile, Namir found the tigress to which he wanted to apologise. She was not in Brunetta’s lie up, but in Fleur’s, and talking to Samson to top it all.
“Samson,” Namir said deferentially, “when you’ve finished talking with this tigress, I would like a word with her.” Samson nodded, and Namrah looked fearful.
“What’s the matter dear cousin?” Samson said, noticing Namrah’s general state of unease deepening.
“That snow leopard,” Namrah said, “he’s one of those who chased me in the wood, I’m sure of it!” Samson turned to Namir, who looked down at his paws.
“She’s right,” he mewed miserably, “but I came to apologise. Tigger, Tigger found me and Panja, and ticked us off about chasing the tigress. Panja said she was good sport until she fell over the root. Then I realised why she’d fallen over the root, and I knew I’d messed up. I chased a blind creature, and I never would ordinarily do that.” Samson could see Namir was genuinely sorry for what he’d done.
“Namir’s mother’s blind,” he said to Namrah, “this is why he’s so sorry, as well as realising he was wrong to chase a tigress of course.” Namir wanted to dig a hole in the carpet and hide. He felt too ashamed to put into words.
“I didn’t know you were blind until I really thought about it,” the snow leopard whimpered.
“”Mistakes happen,” Namrah said, “I just hope you never do that again.” Namir took the tigress’s huge paw in his.
“I will never chase you again, unless it’s in mutual play of course. Then you and your paws are fair game.” Namrah smiled, for the snow leopard knew about paw massage and play.
“Yes,” she mewed.
Meanwhile, harmony was far from Panja’s world. Pepper, having heard of what he’d done to Tigger and Namrah, had cornered the snow leopard and smacked him across his nose with her paw. Panja collapsed, screaming and whimpering, an act which annoyed Pepper even further, who was already thoroughly disgusted by her friend’s actions. Pepper stormed out of the lie up, her anger barely in check. Panja knew she was capable of violence, and didn’t want to push her to it.
Meanwhile, Namrah and Tigger faced each other in his lie up. Paw touching paw, the tiger and tigress wondered what to do next. Tigger, still upset from being dumped by Snowy, could not think of another mate just yet, but the fact Namrah was there was registering on his radar.
“I like the touch of your paw on mine,” Tigger mewed to Namrah, the tigress laughing at his chat up line.
“I like yours too,” she mewed, kissing his nose.
“Can I stroke your paws Namrah?” Tigger asked.
“Yes,” Namrah mewed, “I’d like that. I’d like it very much.” So Tigger settled Namrah down comfortably, and settled down himself. Taking her left forepaw in both of his, Tigger began to massage Namrah’s paw, the tigress kissing his nose as Tigger’s massage released natural drugs into her system. Namrah felt warmth and relaxation spreading from Tigger’s paw through her own pads and toes, into her body, filling her with warmth from her paws to her ears. Tigger knew he was doing well when Namrah curled her toes round his from time to time, holding his toes tightly in hers. Tigger used all four of his huge paws to work on Namrah’s own paws, showing her how well he could massage her paws, not only with his fore, but his hind too. Tigger hardly had to move, all four of his sweetheart’s paws in reach of his.
“This is wonderful!” Namrah mewed, “could I try massaging your paws sometime Tiggie?” Tigger kissed the pads of her right forepaw.
“Yes,” he purred, “I would love you to do that.” Namrah smiled, hardly able to wait.
“I don’t know if I’ll be as good at paw massage as you my dear,” she mewed, but Tigger wasn’t fazed.
“I don’t mind,” he replied, “your intentions are clear through your touch on my paws even if you’re not massaging them. Now all you can do is going up in the world.” Namrah smiled and began her work. Tigger could tell however that she was tense, afraid she’d do a bad job. After she’d massaged only one paw, Tigger stopped her.
“Please Namrah, try to enjoy yourself, and don’t worry about what I might think of your massage technique.” Namrah tried to relax, but couldn’t really do it. Her paws tense and toes stiff, she fumbled her way through the massage of Tigger’s second forepaw, the tiger begging her to relax. Tigger was determined not to snap at Namrah, but it was a close run thing.
“I’m not doing very well am I,” Namrah mewed, much ashamed.
“I can feel your nerves,” Tigger mewed, “along with a wish to do well, you are tense and frightened. Namrah, please, let me say this. I will not harm you even if the massage is awful, okay?” Tigger knew it wouldn’t be, all Namrah had to do was relax and love him.
“Okay,” she mewed, “I’ll try.” Namrah consciously relaxed her paws, breathing deeply while she fought down feelings of anxiety and fear.
“I don’t want to anger this tiger,” she thought, “I love him.”
“You won’t anger me,” Tigger mewed, touching her paw with his, “I will take you as you are bad paw massage and all.” Namrah held Tigger’s paws tightly, begging him to forgive her for her disgraceful attempt at paw massage. Tigger wished with all his heart she’d stop worrying.
“Namrah,” he said, “just enjoy yourself!” Namrah tried so hard to enjoy herself, but was so concerned about her technique that she gave up trying. Tigger was frustrated, unsatisfied and close to snapping.
“Let’s leave this for the time being,” Tigger said, unable to continue. Namrah held on desperately to Tigger’s paws, the tiger feeling her turmoil.
“Let me have another go, please!” Namrah begged.
“Okay,” Tigger said, “one more go. Just relax. I don’t know; treat my paws like they belong to a cub.” Namrah tried this approach, and got instant results. Thinking of Tigger’s paws as belonging to a cub that needed soothing helped her focus on what she was doing and not on her own perceived weakness. Tigger smiled as the massage did its work.
“That’s better isn’t it?” He asked. Namrah purred that it indeed was, and that she now knew what Tigger meant.
Meanwhile, in another part of the house, Geming and Weici were sitting together, each stroking the other’s paws. Both loved everything about the other, from their black noses to their brown soled paws. Geming and Weici wanted cubs, but things weren’t going as fast as they wanted. They saw all the other members of the community having cubs, seemingly all over the place, and they wanted a cub of their own. Weici even joked about fostering a brown bear or polar bear cub, there were plenty of those about, or so it seemed. for the time being however, the two pandas were content to stroke each other’s bodies and paws, Weici scaring Geming from time to time by pretending she was about to give birth to a cub. Geming would freak out and go to peaces, Weici stopping her antics to hug him. Now though, they were engaged in exploring and playing with each other’s fore and hind paws, something which gave them much pleasure and brought them closer together. Geming remembered helping his now grown up friend to explore her own paws when she was a cub, all that seemed a long time ago. Now they were both grown up, Geming six months older than Weici, but still enjoying the paw play games as much as he always had. Geming loved stroking and massaging his mate from nose to tail, Weici especially liking it when he explored all four of her paws with his and played with the toes of her hind paws. The sensation made her smile and press back against his pressure, not that there was much [pressure to press back against; Geming was so gentle with her. From time to time, Weici also loved Geming tickling the soles of her paws, just as she had when she was very young. Geming loved stroking Weici’s paws, loving how her toes curled round his as he worked on the soles of her fore and hind paws.
“I love this,” Weici sighed as her mate made her paws the centre of her world. Geming smiled and began to massage Weici’s belly, but soon, the sow panda brought her hind paws up and forepaws down, making Geming’s paws touch her pads and toes rather than her belly.
“You prefer your paws massaged don’t you,” Geming said to his mate, who smiled at him.
Meanwhile, Tigger and Namrah lay together, content in their companionship.
“I love you Tiggie,” Namrah mewed. Tigger took her paw in his, feeling her love for him through her touch. Tigger laughed helplessly as Namrah tickled and stroked his paws.
“I could get used to this,” Namrah mewed, kissing the pads of Tigger’s left forepaw. Tigger grinned and returned her kiss to her right forepaw.
“Namrah,” Tigger mewed, “have you had cubs yet?” Namrah hesitated, and then replied:
“Yes, but, but they were killed by a hunter years ago.” Tigger held her tightly.
“You know how it feels don’t’ you,” Namrah said. Tigger didn’t need to reply.
“Oh Tiggie, Tiggie dear,” Namrah mewed, kissing Tigger’s ears, nose and paws. Tigger held Namrah’s paws in his, feeling her empathy with him.
“We understand each other I think,” Tigger mewed, Namrah kissing his nose.
“You never forgot your lost cubs did you?” Namrah mewed. Tigger sighed:
“No,” he mewed. Raja smiled as he entered the den, Namrah turning her ear and raising her nose as she heard and scented the new male tiger, a possible threat.
“Who’s that!” She demanded.
“My name’s raja and I’m Tigger’s cub,” Raja replied. Namrah touched Tigger’s paw, seeking his reassurance, which she got when his toes curled round her’s.
“I love my cub Namrah,” Tigger purred. Raja kissed Namrah’s nose, the tigress gulping back tears.
“You saw the deaths of your brothers and sisters,” she choked. Raja touched Namrah’s paw with his and felt emotions which left him tearful, there was something familiar about this tigress, something he couldn’t put his paw on, then he had it.
“Mum?” Raja asked dumbly. Tigger listened, fascinated by Raja’s words.
“I’m related to you Raja dear,” Namrah said, “why, of course, follow your paws dear cub.” Raja stared at a tigress he thought killed over seven years previously.
“How?” He asked, “You were shot! This is a horrid joke!”
“No Raja,” Namrah said, “it’s not. “The wound in my paw was from the bullet shot by the hunters. My paw got infected, and because of that I lost my sight years ago. I scavenged like a jackal for years and years, going to villages and raiding rubbish sacks to survive. I know my other two cubs died, but you, and Tigger survived.”
“I searched all day after the shooting, but I could find no scent, no trace of you Namrah,” Tigger mewed.
“You walked round and round in circles Tiggie my dear. You hunted in about an eighty metre circle for three days. I know this for when I ventured out after four days; I found your paw prints. I dared not show myself before, as humans were still about. The hunters had shot me, but they’d been found by an anti poaching patrol. It was only when the patrol had departed, and you’d gone too, that I ventured out into the daylight.
“I was long gone by then,” Tigger mewed, “but why didn’t you try and trace me and Raja?”
“I knew we’d be found more easily if we got back together,” was Namrah’s reply.”
“No wonder I was drawn to you so quickly!” Tigger mewed, “I didn’t recognise you at all. Of course your name wasn’t Namrah then. I can’t remember what it was now I come to think of it,” Tigger said.
“I can’t either,” Namrah replied, “the lead shot did a lot to me, affecting my memory and my sight. Now it would not be good for me to have cubs I don’t think, just in case they are unhealthy.”
I can hardly believe my paws!” Raja mewed. Namrah smiled and kissed her eldest cub’s nose.
“Neither can I,” she whispered, her voice cracking.
“How did I miss your scent? How did I lose you Namrah!” Tigger yelled.
“You lost me in the confusion and fear we both felt. It was only through good luck we’re together again.” Tigger kissed Namrah’s nose, then kissed Raja’s nose and paws, Raja crying into his fur.
“I can’t believe my mum’s back!” He sobbed. Tigger now realised why he’d felt such an attachment to Namrah from the very start. The attachment had always been there.
“I won’t do what snowy did,” Namrah mewed, “I promise I won’t restrict access to Raja, well I can’t, not now.” Tigger kissed her nose.
“Me and Raja love you Namrah,” Tigger mewed.
“I love you both,” she replied.
Namrah let Raja and Tigger massage her all over from her nose to the end of her tail. Namrah, lying peacefully in the company of her long lost mate and remaining cub, resigned herself to the fact she’d never have any more cubs with Tigger due to the lead poisoning from the bullet in her paw. As far as she knew it was still there, still doing its dreadful work.
Raja could hardly believe what his paws were telling him as his mum’s toes curled round his and she began to stroke his paws. Raja remembered her playing with his paws when he was a cub and despite all that had gone between then and now, she’d not lost her touch. Purring Raja snuggled close to his mum, feeling her warmth and touch anew, as if he were a newborn cub again, wanting, and needing comfort. The trauma of that day hadn’t left him for one minute in the intervening years, and now he could let it go. One thing was certain though; he would make sure from now on that he kept in touch with Tigger and Namrah. Previously Raja had given himself to his job completely and totally, but now, he would give time to his sire and mum too.
“Screw the job,” Raja thought, “I want to spend time with my mum and sire.” Raja got in touch with Allie and told her his thoughts, thoughts which she was in total agreement with.
“I’ll get Aslan to do your patrols,” she said, “you stay with your mum and sire Raja.” Allie watched the tigers on her screen, smiling as they got down to stroking each other’s paws, stroking which turned to tickling and helpless laughter.
“I love seeing that,” Allie mewed, pressing down on a pedal with her right hind paw to change views on her screens. Allie explored her own sensations, the feel of her forepaws on the control stick, and her hind on the pedals controlling the screens she watched. Allie wiggled her toes, rubbing her paw pads against the pedals, watching as the screens went mad as she put pressure on the pedals. Bringing them back under control, Allie smiled to herself as the screen landed on the camera covering Geming and Weici, who were stroking each other’s paws once again.
Allie thought of the times her own paws were stroked, by Samson the lion and by her mate Sam. She remembered little Arki’s birth, and flicked to a video of the birth, fast forwarding to the emergence of her cub, hearing as well as seeing her own effort and struggle. Allie could almost feel the pain she’d been in as she watched the video which was now nearly a year old. Allie watched how her toes and pads bunched and stretched as she wriggled and struggled to birth her cub.
“Paws are expressive,” she thought. Allie looked at Kodiak, who was on duty with her.
“Paws again Allie?” He asked. Allie smiled.
“You know me too well,” she replied. Kodiak and Allie sometimes gave into their need for physical contact while working at the security desk and would spend elicit time stroking each other’s paws. These times were frantic and fleeting times, but well worth it.
Meanwhile, Geming and Weici lay together, their fore and hind paws pressed hard together, their toes curled tightly, each holding the other’s fore and hind paws in a fierce embrace.
“Who needs a ball or a string to play with, when we have our paws,” Weici mewed, “you know what Geming, I found Tigger enjoying the sensation of water jets against the pads of his paws in the shower room. He loved it, purring and easing his weight from paw to paw, slowly raising and lowering himself on the tips of his toes. Mewing and smiling broadly. He looked so peaceful. But I had to disturb him, for I needed to wash my paws.” Geming released his hold on Weici’s forepaws and touched the sole of her left forepaw before kissing the toes of that paw.
“I can’t describe the feeling your paws give mine when you touch them,” Weici said softly, “and when you kiss my paw, it’s beautiful Geming!” Geming smiled with tenderness.
“I love giving you pleasure Weici,” he replied, gently stroking the pads of her left forepaw. Weici smiled as Geming’s paw enveloped hers once more, the panda’s grip tightening on her paw.
“I hope Tigger and Namrah can use your paws like we can,” Geming said to his mate, “if anyone deserves to feel gentle paws, they do.”
“Indeed, Tigger and Namrah were embracing each other’s bodies and paws, the two tigers amercing each other deeper and deeper into their love. Tigger had never felt anything like this before, Namrah’s paws were working miracles on his, and Tigger relaxed completely, letting his feelings flow through his pads and toes towards his tigress, the absolute love of his life.
“I can feel your love for me Tiggie,” Namrah mewed, her toes curling round his and pads pressing hard.
“As we can’t have cubs, let’s make this very memorable,” Tigger said. Tigger began to stroke Namrah’s paw pads, both fore and hind, with the toes of all four of his own paws, Namrah mewing, purring and wriggling with pleasure. She’d never felt anything so fantastic in her life before, not even before Raja’s birth was Tigger as tactile as this, but now he was tactile, exquisitely, beautifully tactile. He was giving everything he had to her.
“I’ll leave them to it,” Raja thought, padding slowly from the lie up. Padding down the passage, he thought of his own relationship with Rani. She wasn’t so tactile, not by a long way, but Raja had asked it of her.
“Less talk, more massage,” was what he’d said, but Rani had forgotten that. Now Raja’s paws ached for what Tigger and Namrah had. He wanted some of what they had, pure, unadulterated pleasure.
Back in Tigger’s lie up, it was Namrah’s turn to stroke Tigger, which she did with care and love.
“Let yourself go Namrah,” Tigger urged, “go on, and let yourself go. Let your paws explore, they will tell you where they want to go. Let your toes find the way.” Namrah did, and her paws knew where to go. Soon Tigger was purring, wriggling and mewing as much as Namrah had been, but even she could not help mewing and pressing her paws and tail against Tigger’s as hard as he was pressing his paws and tail against her own. Namrah and Tigger played like cubs, rolling about on the rugs, each wrestling the other for control of their paws. Soon the matter was resolved, each holding the other’s paws. Tigger’s left forepaw held Namrah’s right fore, her right fore holding his left. Namrah’s right hind held Tigger’s left hind, her toes tight around his, while the toes of his right hind held her left hind. Claws sheathed, Tigger and Namrah kissed each other’s noses and pressed paw pads hard together.
“This is indescribably lovely!” Namrah mewed.
“I can’t even begin to describe this,” Tigger mewed, “our paws are showing us the way!”
“Long may they do so,” Namrah mewed.
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