makes his mark.



Raja and Rani lay together in the cubbing den.  Cool air from a recently installed air conditioning system cooled the den, the cool air eddying round the paws of the two tigers.  Rani stretched her toes, flexing her paws and extending her claws before retracting them and settling down once more.  Raja watched her, his eyes telling the tigress what he felt for her.

       “I love those paws of yours Rani,” raja mewed.  Rani smiled, giving her right forepaw to Raja, who, smiling took it in his and held it tenderly.

     “You’ve got lovely warm, soft paws Raja,” Rani mewed.  Raja kissed her on her nose.

      “I love you Raja,” Rani purred, working her paw deeper into his.  Raja smiled with pleasure.

      “I love you too Rani,” he mewed.  Rani looked Raja over, loving him from his nose to his toes.  While she was doing this, Ellie, Nick and their newborn cub wandered in, Ellie furious about something.

     “That horrid animal!”  She yelled, “Stifftail’s dreadful!  He basically told me I was an idiot for naming my cub Tony; he said it was a tiger’s name!”

     “Well it is,” Raja mewed, “I’m sorry to agree with such a disagreeable animal as Stifftail, but I have to this time Ellie.  Ellie stamped her paws with rage!

     “He insulted my cub!”  She yelled.

     Maybe you insulted your cub by giving him the same name as a cereal eating tiger,” Rani mewed.

     “Well what the hell would you call him!”  Ellie screamed, “Have you got a better idea?  I’ll bet you haven’t!”  Rani thought for a minute.

      “I think you should call him Abooksigun, it’s an Algonquin name meaning wild cat, and he looks pretty wild,” Rani suggested. Ellie looked at her cub.

     “That’s one hell of a mouthful,” she mewed, “Abook, what was it you said Rani?”

     “Abooksigun,” Rani repeated.

     “If you don’t like that name Ellie,” Stifftail snarled padding into the room unannounced, and most definitely unwelcome and uninvited, “you could always name your cub Abidemi, it’s a Yoruba name meaning born in the father’s absence.”  Disgusted at his words, Ellie spat at the snow leopard.

     “That’s not very nice Stifftail, and you know it!”  Rani snapped.

     “I hate the little bugger so it should be no surprise to you Rani that I do not treat it with any respect,” Stifftail said.

      “Abooksigun,” Nick said, “that’s a bit of a mouthful Rani, please, think of something else!”  He pleaded.

      “Stifftail’s suggestion was worse!”  Rani mewed, much aggrieved.

     “Have another go,” Ellie encouraged.  Rani lay down and put her paws over her face, trying to think.

     “How about Ahanu, it’s an Algonquin name meaning "he laughs,” Rani suggested.

      “My cub certainly laughed merrily when Pipin tickled his belly and paws,” Ellie mewed.

     “Ahanu’s a lovely name,” raja said, “easier to pronounce than Abooksigun, and not at all offensive.”

     How dare Stifftail come up with something like a name which means born in the father’s absence!”  Ellie yelled, “I know what he was on about!”  Stifftail ran from the room, not wanting to be present if Ellie’s temper exploded.


“Ahanu Abooksigun then,” Nick mewed.  Ellie laughed.

     “A laughing male wild cat?”  Rani mewed, “how wonderful!”  Nick laughed merrily, lay down, and scooped his cub up in his huge paws, hugging him.

     “Ahanu,” the cub purred, “now that’s a lot better than Tony.”  Nick kissed the cub on his nose, Ahanu purring contentedly.

      “You’re so tactile with your cub,” Rani mewed, “it’s lovely to see Nick.”  Nick smiled.

     “I was taught to be that way,” he said, “my mother was blinded in one eye when she got into a fight [protecting me and my brother, and lost the sight in her other eye when she was attacked by a porcupine.  Our father was still about and hunted for his mate and cubs, thank goodness he did.”

     “So you learned how to show your emotions by touch at an early age then,” Raja mewed.

     “Yes,” nick replied.  Ahanu, now cradled in his adopted sire’s fat, warm, safe paws, reached up with his own tiny paws to touch Nick’s nose and whiskers.  Nick blew on Ahanu’s paw pads, making the cub laugh as the warm air tickled his paws.

       “Nick and I are trying to bring our cub up to enjoy having his belly and paws touched, but also to know what kind of touch is loving and what one isn’t.  Then he will know what is right.”  Ellie said.  Nick played with Ahanu, the cub laughing as his sire tickled all four of his paws until his pads and toes tingled.  Ahanu waved his forepaws in the air, inviting Nick to catch them.  Nick caught the cub’s paws and gently held them, Ahanu pretending to struggle against his sire’s gentle caressing paws.  Nick felt the cub’s toes scrabbling at his paw pads, while the cub smiled up into Nick’s face.  Nick released Ahanu’s forepaws, the cub laughing delightedly.

     “Can we do that again?”  He asked.  Nick smiled.

     “I want my paws tickled now,” he mewed cubbishly.  Ahanu grinned and felt for Nick’s paw, finding his left forepaw.

     “Would you tickle my paws Ahanu?”  Nick pleaded.  Ahanu smiled and tickled his sire’s pads.

     “Want me to help you tickle Nick Ahanu love?”  Ellie asked.

     “Yes please mum,” Ahanu purred, “Nick’s paws are huge!”  Ellie and Ahanu tickled Nick’s paws until the male lynx had tears of laughter rolling down his nose and was weak from squirming and wriggling while pretending to free his paws, while giving his mate and youngest cub all access he could to every one of his paws.  Ellie tickled Nick’s belly, while Ahanu tickled the toes of both his sire’s hind paws, Nick laughing and curling his toes round Ahanu’s in a desperate attempt to stop the cub tickling him, trapping Ahanu’s toes in his and putting an end to the assault on his paw pads and toes.  Ellie threw her paws round Nick’s neck and hugged him, Ahanu stopping his assault on Nick’s hind paws and crawling to his head, before snuggling up to Nick and thrusting his forepaw into one of the male lynx’s.

We both love you Ahanu,” nick mewed.  The cub smiled.

      “I love you both,” he purred.  Ahanu crawled away, smiling as his paws tingled from being stroked and tickled.  Nick watched the cub crawling away, noticing how he crawled, from the way he held his head, cocked as if listening, to the way his forepaws shuffled forward, and the pads of his hind bunched and relaxed as he crawled.  Ellie saw Nick watching their cub and knew what he was thinking.

      “You want to hug him again don’t you,” she mewed.  Nick, a sudden rush of tears almost overcoming him, replied:

     “Yes, yes Ellie I do!”  Nick heard the sound of scuffing paws coming in his general direction, and then felt a tiny paw plonked on his much larger one.

      “Hug me then, please,” Ahanu said.  Nick gathered the cub to him, Ahanu smiling and kissing Nick on his nose.  Nick, crying now, embraced the cub tightly.

      “I love you little one,” he sobbed.  Ahanu snuggled fiercely into Nick’s hug, pressing his body and paws hard into Nick’s fur.

     “Hold me tight Nick,” Ahanu begged, Nick embracing him as tightly as he dared.

     “You’re safe, I promise you’re safe with me and mum,” Nick said, kissing Ahanu’s nose, nuzzling his ear and then the pads of one forepaw.  Ahanu, almost in tears himself, laughed as Nick’s whiskers tickled his paw pads.

      “I love you Nick,” Ahanu purred.


Raja, Rani and Ellie watched Nick and Ahanu.  Ellie knew she loved every inch of Nick, and that he loved her just as much.  She also knew he loved her cross bred cub as if Ahanu were his own.  Indeed, she knew that her describing Ahanu’s birth was her way of making Ahanu as much Nick’s cub as the cross bred youngster could ever be.  Ellie wished she’d had Nick with her while giving birth to her cub.  She’d dreamt about the birth of her cub the previous night, and it had been a very real dream, she could feel the water in the bathtub, the pain of the contractions, and even the sensation of Ahanu’s progress towards the outside world.  She’d wished Nick could be there, indeed, in her mind’s eye, it was Nick catching Ahanu in his paws as Ellie gave birth to him, fleur nowhere to be seen.  Ellie dared not tell anyone about her dream.  The dream ended when Ahanu, as he was now known, was being washed by Nick.


Ellie, nick and Ahanu left the room to go to another part of the enlarged cubbing den, where Ellie and Ahanu had taken up residence since Ahanu’s sudden arrival.  Lying on the rug, Raja and Rani watched them go, then Raja turned to his mate and took her forepaws in his, kissing her nose and the fur on the back of her left forepaw.  Rani smiled and returned Raja’s love.

     “I want to have your cubs Raja,” Rani mewed, “please!”

      “We could try for cubs,” Raja mewed, “if you’re certain you want them Rani.”

     “Oh yes, yes I am certain,” Rani purred, cuddling up to Raja.


Meanwhile, Tigger and snowy lay curled together on the carpet of the control room, forgetting their duties as CCTV operators for a few minutes.  The toes of their fore and hind paws entwined, each took it in turns to curl their toes, pulling the other tiger’s pads hard against their own before massaging pads.  Once they even tried both curling their toes at once, pressing each other’s paw pads hard together, massaging paw pad against paw pad, while kissing each other’s noses.  Snowy and Tigger put their all into their love making, and by the end of twenty minutes, they were exhausted and happy, each tiger’s toes aching slightly from holding on tightly to the toes of the other, their paw pads tingling and warm from the pad massage.

     “That was wonderful Tiggie,” snowy purred, “I love you so much Tigger!”  Tigger smiled.

      “That was the most amazing thing which has ever happened to me Snowy,” he purred, “I love you from your nose to your paw pads, and I really mean that.  Tigger took Snowy’s paw, feeling her instant reaction in the way her toes curled round his, holding them.  Snowy smiled and kissed Tigger’s nose.

     “We’d better get back to work,” snowy said.  Tigger grinned.

      “Work being paw massage?”  He asked hopefully.

      “Unfortunately not Tigger love,” snowy purred.  Snowy smiled and touched Tigger’s nose with her free forepaw.

      “I love you snowy,” Tigger said, “your eyes, your face, your fur, and your lovely fat, soft paws.  Snowy laughed merrily and squeezed Tigger’s paw.

      You lovely Tigger tiger!”  She said.  Both cats laughed at Snowy’s mistake, and Before Tigger knew it, he and snowy were rolling on the floor, tickling each other’s paw pads and toes.  Tigger tickled Snowy’s pads, While snowy wriggled and waved her paws in a mock  attempt to stop Tigger tickling her toes, but he persisted, Snowy’s resistance only for show.  She could have struck out with her claws, but she didn’t, telling Tigger she was enjoying his attentions, while all the sound told otherwise as she snarled and spat in mock anger at him tickling her.  Once Tigger had exhausted snowy, they lay together, Tigger making sure his paws were within Snowy’s reach.  Snowy, her paws tingling, smiled at her mate.

      “I loved that,” she mewed.

      “You were complaining,” Tigger said.

     “No,” snowy purred, “that was only show,” she put on a cubbish tone, “leave my paws alone!”  And “stop tickling my toes!”  That kind of thing.  I loved it all.  If I was really angry with you, I’d have used my teeth and claws.” Tigger touched the pads of Snowy’s right forepaw with the toes of his left.

      “I’ve got pink pads on my toes and the soles of my paws Tigger,” Snowy mewed, “yours are pinkie black, and very loveable.  I love every inch of you from your nose to your paw pads Tiggie.  Now, now my dear,,”  with that she grabbed Tigger in both paws, rolled him over and began  tickling his paws as he’d done to her.  Tigger was expecting Snowy’s assault on his paws, and thoroughly enjoyed having her tickle them until he was weak from laughter and his pads and toes tingled nicely.

     “That was wonderful!”  Tigger panted, snowy smiling at him and patting the soles of the paws she’d just tickled.

     “Agreed it was truly wonderful,” someone said.  Tigger and snowy scrambled to their paws and turned to see who’d spoken.  Tigger couldn’t see who had spoken, but he could smell them, and knew the scent well.

      “Theo!”  Snowy yelled, “What the hell are you doing here!”

      “I might well ask you what you were doing on the control room carpet, but I won’t, for it was obvious.  I came to find you both and let you know I have imprisoned Stifftail for twenty days for bullying Ahanu.  The stupid snow leopard wouldn’t stop, even when Nick cuffed him across the face with his paw, so I locked Stifftail up.”  Theo replied.

     “I’m sorry about earlier,” Tigger mewed, “one thing led to another, and, well.”

     “I know,” Theo said, his smile obvious in his voice, “Elsa and I had much the same experience once before while working in here.  We looked at each other, and then before we knew what was happening we were playing together much like you and snowy did.  It was lovely to see.”

     “I felt liberated!”  Snowy blurted, “I wanted my paws tickled more than I ever had before, and Tigger obliged, and it was wonderful!  The soles of my paws and my toes tingled, and it was so good!  I want more now!  I can’t get enough of having my paws stroked and tickled!”  Tigger smiled.

     “I love it too,” he mewed.

      “So do me and Elsa,” Theo purred, “We make no secret of the fact either.”  With that, Theo padded out of the control room, leaving snowy and Tigger alone.


Snowy and Tigger held each other’s paws.

     “Let’s go back to work,” snowy said softly, kissing Tigger on his nose.


Meanwhile, Stifftail lay in the concrete prison, cursing Ahanu and his parents.  He decided that he’d kill the cross bred cub, in fact all cross bred cats in the house, fleur and Pepper included.

     “I wouldn’t even contemplate it,” a voice said.  Stifftail looked up and saw a white lioness standing in front of him.

      Petra!”  Stifftail exclaimed, realising that if she was with him, his plans had been found out.

     “Yes, it’s me,” Petra growled, “You are a disgusting animal Stifftail.  You will not touch Ahanu, nor will you get your paws on fleur or her cub Pepper.  I know your mind you disgraceful creature!”

     “The vegetarian lioness!”  Stifftail whimpered, “The embodiment of Eohippus on earth!”

      “Her representative yes,” Petra replied.  Stifftail began to shake from nose to tail.

      “I didn’t believe in all the tales my mum told me,” he said faintly, “but, but now, now I know they are all true!”  Petra smiled.

      “I’m Petra, Theo’s cub, but I am also able to read your thoughts, and I hate what I read there Stifftail.”  Stifftail curled into the far corner of the shed, well away from Petra.  Petra looked down at the miserable shivering heap of fur on the floor.

      “You taunted Ahanu with the name Abidemi, using it to insult him.  He told you to stop, but you didn’t.  Now I find out you are waging war against all cross bred members of the community, fleur, Pepper and Ahanu.  You will not do this Stifftail.”  Stifftail moaned with pain.

      “I forgot you were here,” he whimpered.  Petra smiled wolfishly.

      “You will not carry out your plan,” she growled.

     “And if I do?”  Stifftail asked, “What will you do then?”  For answer Petra leapt upon Stifftail and gripped his head between her paws!  Stifftail screamed!

     “No, Petra No!”  Petra clamped her jaws over Stifftail’s face!  Stifftail screeched and begged for mercy, his airway half cut off!  Petra released Stifftail and belted him across his nose with her paw, Stifftail howling in agony.

     “You are a disgusting creature!”  Petra yelled.  Stifftail, now weak with fear, lay trembling and sobbing on the concrete floor.

      “You can’t do this to me!”  He wined with his last vestige of defiance.

     “Oh can’t I?  Want me to show you?”  Petra asked.

     “No, Petra, no! Don’t do it!”  Leo yelled, running towards his brother’s adopted cub.

       “Why should I not harm the wretched animal Leo?”  Petra asked, turning her head to look at the large lion.

      “it’s not right to kill someone who says horrid things,”  Leo said quickly, “if he did things, then yes, but leave him alone otherwise, please!”  Petra looked at the huge lion.

      “Stifftail threatened to harm a cross bred cub and two grown cross bred members of the community,”  she said, “he was serious, deadly serious Leo.  Stifftail wants Ahanu, fleur and pepper dead!  I know this, and he knows I know it too.  Now, if you could see what I see, you wouldn’t hesitate to do what I did.  I warned Stifftail off, that’s all.  If he keeps his views to himself, and most important of all keeps his disgusting paws off of the cross bred cubs, and any other members of the community for that matter, he will not get into trouble.  But if he even thinks of attacking Ahanu or anyone else, he’s dead!”  Stifftail curled into an even tighter ball, wrapping his long tail around his forepaws and gripping the end of it in the toes of one paw.

      “Leave me alone!”  Stifftail moaned.  Disgusted, Petra turned tail and padded towards the entrance to the indoor pool, where waving at the camera got her admittance.  Padding along the corridor, Petra cubbishly bounced on her toes, feeling the rubberised anti slip tiles beneath her paws.  Fleur padded up to Petra and took her paw.

     “Come,” fleur said.  With that Fleur led Petra into the main pool area where pepper waited.  Petra knew Pepper was waiting for her so she could massage her paws.  Petra had been looking forward to this all day.  Lying down in the warm water, Petra let Pepper take each one of her large white paws in hers and stroke her pads and toes, her pads dusty black against the pure white fur of the soles of her paws.  From time to time, Petra curled the toes of the paw Pepper was working on, the white fur on the sole of her paw vanishing in folds of black pads.  When Petra did this, pepper would quickly tickle Petra’s pads, making her laugh and relax her paw.  Her claws retracted, Petra would sometimes scrabble at Pepper’s pads with the toes of one of her free paws, be it one of her forepaws if Pepper was working on her forepaws, or one of her hind if she was working on those.  Pepper would smile and tickle the toes scrabbling at her paws, making Petra mew like a cub and pull her paw away, only to return it a moment later for Pepper to tickle her pads and toes once more.  Between the tickling sessions, which Petra mostly instigated by curling her toes so pepper couldn’t work, Pepper concentrated on stroking and massaging Petra’s paws.  Fleur was teaching her how to massage paws properly; the body massage would come later, as fleur said:

     “A body massage is nice, but a paw massage has more power than anything else.  Massage paws properly pepper, and you can give pleasure, as well as calm an animal, and also give considerable pain relief.”  Fleur had shown pepper what a good paw massage was, and the cub hadn’t wanted her mum to stop her demonstration.


Now Pepper was practising on Petra, the white lioness enjoying every second of pepper’s ministrations.  Fleur, watching all, smiled to herself as she saw the affect Pepper’s paws were having on Petra.  Petra lay back in the water, enjoying the massage, as well as the games when she decided to curl her toes and pepper tickled her pads.  Petra relaxed totally, basking in the warmth of pepper’s massage, as well as in the warmth of the water.  Soon, Petra felt it was time to put an end to her treatment, as her paw pads were beginning to get as wrinkled as prunes.  Hugging pepper tightly, Petra left the water and padded along the corridor, her paws feeling lighter than they had for a long time.  Dancing on her toes, Petra emerged into the daylight to be met by Theo, who hugged the lioness, whose fur was still dripping water.  Petra forwent the drying off session fleur offered, wishing for her fur to dry naturally.  Theo hugged his wet daughter cub, hardly noticing his paws were getting wet from her water logged coat.  Petra was no longer a cub, but she loved a hug from her adopted sire.  The white lioness loved Theo and Elsa as much as she’d done as a tiny cub, and they loved her as if she were their own natural cub.  Theo felt warm damp paws embracing him, and it was the best feeling in the world.

      “I love you Petra,” Theo Purred.

     “I love you too Theo,” Petra mewed, kissing his nose.  Theo tickled the pads of Petra’s left forepaw, Petra laughing helplessly.

      “Now I get to tickle your paws!”  She whooped, rolling Theo over and doing just that, Theo waving his paws in the air as his cub launched her attack.  Theo, laughing merrily, curled his toes, trapping Petra’s left forepaw.

     “Let me go!”  Petra mewed, having to lie down to keep control of the one remaining paw she held.  Once she was lying on the floor, Theo reached over with his right hind paw and tickled the pads of Petra’s left hind paw with his toes.  Petra laughed helplessly at his antics.

     “Who’s the bigger cub?”  She mewed, trying to trap the toes tickling her pads with the toes of her own paw.  Theo, feeling the toes of his right hind paw gripped in Petra’s, tugged feebly at his paw, Petra kissing him on his nose.


Their play was ended by Ahanu crawling up to Petra and touching her shoulder with his tiny paw.

     “I think Stifftail’s on the loose!”  The cub mewed, finally losing control and sobbing into Petra’s coat.  Snarling, Theo left Petra to comfort Ahanu while he went to investigate.  Stifftail was still in the prison, though Theo found salty sunning himself on the grass in the garden.  Realising what must have happened to Ahanu, Theo went back to where Petra was comforting the distressed cub.

      “Ahanu my dear,” Theo purred, “Stifftail’s not free.”

     “But, but I almost tripped over a huge snow leopard lying on the grass!”  Ahanu whimpered.

       “That was Salty,” Theo mewed, “he’s larger than Stifftail and a lot pleasanter.  Ahanu felt the air grow cold as a huge form loomed above him, then he found himself taken in the huge paws of a massive snow leopard.  Purring salty kissed Ahanu on his nose and stroked him with infinite care.

      “Do I feel like Stifftail?  More to the point, do I have the same scent as he does?”  Salty asked.

     “No,” Ahanu mewed, now much ashamed.

      “I will protect, not persecute you little one,” Salty said, enveloping Ahanu’s forepaws in both of his.

     “Smell my fur, feel my paws little one,” Salty invited, “remember I will never harm you unless you do harm to others.”

       “I heard you killed a female snow leopard,” Ahanu mewed.

      “I did,” Salty replied, “but she was an evil creature.”

       “But you also killed a cub!”  Ahanu whimpered, getting upset once more.

       “Blanche was evil too,” salty mewed, “she wanted to destroy the lives of other animals.”

      “I know,” Ahanu said, “Whitie told me.”  Whitie was now a fully grown snow leopard, and still as gentle as she’d always been.

     “I’ll let you go now,” Salty mewed, releasing the cub.  The sound of heavy paws coming their way made Salty and Petra look round.  Whitie padded towards them, her ears twitching for the slightest sound from her surroundings.  Scenting Ahanu, Whitie headed towards the little cub, lay down and took him in her paws.  Washing his fur like she was his own mother, Whitie purred contentedly.  Ahanu, feeling secure, smiled dreamily, sleep overcoming him rapidly.  Whitie, seemingly relaxed, was keeping her ears open for any sign of Ellie.  She heard the soft “pad, pad, pad” of Ellie’s paws, but didn’t manage to release Ahanu in time to avoid a beating.  Ellie scowled at Whitie, and then, screaming with anger, belted her across her nose!

     “Leave my cub alone!”  Ellie yelled.  Waking suddenly, Ahanu screamed with fear!Nick, having watched all and realised what was going on, stuck his head out of the bedroom window and yelled atEllie.

      “Shut up Ellie!  Whitie means Ahanu no harm!”

      “I don’t want her stealing my cub!”  Ellie yelled.

     “I wouldn’t steal your cub!  Whitie mewed.  Ellie slapped her across her nose and smacked the pads of Whitie’s paws for good measure, Whitie mewing and spitting in protest.

      “Leave her alone Ellie!”  Nick pleaded.  Ellie kicked out at Whitie, her hind paw smashing into Whitie’s nose as she turned, Ahanu now secure in Ellie’s mouth, hanging by the scruff of his neck.  Badly scared and a little bruised, but otherwise uninjured, Whitie lay sobbing in the long grass.  Mewing pitifully, Whitie listened to Ellie’s paws padding away.

      “You shouldn’t have washed Ahanu like you did,” Petra said gently to Whitie.

      “I was washed by other female cats who were not my mum when I was young,” Whitie whimpered, “I meant him no harm Petra, none at all!”

      “I know Whitie dear, I know you meant Ahanu no harm,” Petra mewed, kissing Whitie’s nose.  Whitie reached out desperately with her forepaws, Petra taking the female snow leopard’s huge forepaws in her own and massaging them.

      “It’s okay Whitie dear,” Petra whispered.  Whitie snuggled up to Petra, begging the lioness for protection.

     “I thought Ellie knew how we worked here,” Whitie mewed.

      “Ellie’s protective over her cub Whitie dear,” Nick mewed, padding up to Whitie and touching her paw with his.

     “Nick,” Whitie mewed, “you’ve always been good to me, please, could you talk to Ellie for me?  For she won’t listen to me!”  Whitie felt paws touch the pads of her right hind paw, and then someone began playing with the end of her tail.

     “Who’s playing with my tail?”  Whitie asked, twitching the tip so the animal playing with the end of her tail was forced to catch it once more.  Ahanu purred contentedly, the sound bringing tears to Whitie’s eyes.

     “You shouldn’t be here Ahanu,” she sniffed.

      “I wanted to be with you again,” Ahanu mewed.  Whitie rubbed her eyes with one huge forepaw.

      “Ellie doesn’t like you being with me little one,” she choked, “go now! Before, before us both get into deep trouble!”  Ahanu tickled the toes of Whitie’s right hind paw, Whitie laughing and curling her toes to put an end to the tickling.

      “You little terror!”  She laughed, releasing Ahanu’s paw.  Ahanu playfully patted Whitie’s pads.

      I like your paws,” Ahanu mewed, “They’re big and soft!”  Whitie suddenly turned on Ahanu and began tickling the cub’s paws.

       “Hey! Stop it!”  Ahanu mewed, waving his paws in the air plainly enjoying every minute.

      “Your paws are large too,” Whitie mewed, “I like them.  I also like tickling your toes like you do mine!” Ahanu laughed merrily, wiggling his toes so Whitie tickled them more.  Ellie watched this from the bedroom window, finally realising Whitie meant her cub no harm.  Feeling dreadful, Ellie trotted down the stairs and out into the garden.  When she reached the field of play, Ahanu was tickling Whitie’s paws once more, the female snow leopard enjoying his attention.

      “Ahanu, please come here,” Ellie mewed.  Ahanu stopped tickling Whitie’s left forepaw and crawled over the grass to where his mother stood.

     “Whitie, please, listen to me,” Ellie said gently.

     “I’m all ears,” Whitie mewed, not wanting to antagonise the female lynx further.

      “I’m sorry for hitting you; I didn’t see what was going on.  I thought you were stealing my cub!”  Whitie got up and left the garden, wandering into the woods.  Feeling very unhappy, Whitie padded through the wood in search of somewhere secluded to lie up and think.


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