Furry Friends Haven - Kanab, Utah - furryfriendshaven.com

Our Friends - The Story of Fred


    TO ALL BOOTSIE T’S FRIENDS: Bootsie T crossed over to Rainbow’s Bridge on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008. He was 16 year old and had lived a wonderful full life full of joy and mischief. As I type this he sits on a shelf in my office in a lovely periwinkle blue cat urn I purchased from an amazingly talented artist named Gary Steinborn at http://veniceclay.com/peturns.html And so someone (and I’m not saying who) continues to boss me around and make fun of my many foibles, and I hope he always will.


    [This story was written by Bootsie T in 1996 before we moved from Texas to Utah. Bootsie T speaks and writes in the interrogatory style. It sometimes takes a bit of getting used to. When I asked him if I could remove the question marks, he hissed at me. Also, boy kitties get tutored and girl kitties get paid. The story was written over a period of months to his fur-friends on an all-animal Forum.]

    By Bootsie T. Reed, An Author



    Hi Bandy and everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    I.ve been giving lots of thought about telling you the story of Fred and have decided I can't really tell you the story of Fred without telling you the story of Rhubarb? This is going to be pretty long so I will divide it into lots of segments? So, here we go?

    Once upon a time (actually it was around 5 years ago but you are supposed to start stories with .Once upon a time. but I don't know why?) in the Fall of the year Mom took two of our dogs for a walk down our street? As they were walking down the street Mom saw a cat lying in a driveway? Now, as you know, most cats will walk away from an advancing unknown human and will walk very quickly away from an unknown human with two dogs? Not this cat!? This cat just lay there in the driveway watching them come toward him, twitching his tail? He looked them right in the eye and made low growlie noises when they passed by? The dogs crowded close to Mom? Mom came home and told us all about him? She said he was a HUGE very beautiful orange and white cat with vivid green eyes? She said she could tell he was really stuck on himself?

    After that Mom saw him almost every day? We heard via the kidden grapevine there was a new fighting Tom on the street and were very glad we were inside and he was outside? But Mom insisted on putting out food for him? Can you believe that? He would come eat in the middle of the night and spray at us through the window? That was not nice!?

    Anyway, that's how things went along for a long time until one day the big cat didn't come to eat? Mom began to worry about him? (We did not!) After about two weeks of him not being around Mom spotted him and he was covered with blood and limping badly? Mom tried to catch him but he ran away? She put lots of food out for him and he ate some but when she tried to coax him to her he ran away again? Mom got very upset?

    This went on for two more days and each day he would stagger away from her and jump over a fence? She put out a trap with stinky food in it but he would not go in? Finally, on the third day when she came home late from work he was lying by the food bowl and could not move? Mom scooped him up and put him in the middle bedroom? That's the room we all have had to stay in before going to the vet to get tutored or paid and after coming home until we decide to be a family member? He was covered with so much dried blood Mom was afraid to touch him much? She left some food and water and gave him a soft place to lie on with a heating pad underneath and left him alone? She got very snippy with us when we pawed at the door and told us to .Leave that poor hurt cat alone!. just like it wasn't our home that had been invaded by this HUGE, mean, alien? Can you believe it?

    The next morning she took him to the vet? I will admit he looked pretty bad? We could sniff how hurt he was?

    Well, I guess I will stop here and write you some more about the Story of Fred tomorrow or the next day? I have important cat things to do now (a nap'story telling is very exhausting!)? Your friend? Bootsie T?


    Hello Bandy and everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    Well, let's see where was I in the story of Fred? Oh yes, the HUGE mean orange and white cat had just gone to the vet? You need to know that this is a very, very long story and I am just starting on the pre-face? So, please be patient with me because it takes lots of energy to be an author? We artists need our rest and sufficient sustenance to get the creative juices flowing? Not that I'm making it up because it's absolutely true, but still it's hard to word it just right, particularly when some of the other kiddens (I'm not saying who) in this house wake me up from my creative sleep to fix problems for them all the time?

    Once upon at time.Mom took the HUGE mean orange and white cat to the vet? When Mom got home she was very anxious and ran to the phone every time it rang, which is not like her? Normally she yells bad things at the phone because it rings when she is doing important human stuff? Anyway, we knew when she said, .Yes, Sally!. that she was talking to our doctor? Most of what she said was, .Humm, oh dear, ok, Oh.'the poor boy., and then...Well, I want to try, so go ahead and tutor him at the same time?. Mom walked around the rest of the day sighing?

    The next day after she talked to Aunt Sally on the phone she was much happier? She sat down and told us that a bad thing had happened to the HUGE mean orange and white cat? She said a car had hit him? That he had lots of scratches, one leg had been dislocated, a big portion of his fur on one side had been torn off, some ribs were cracked, one ear had been smushed, and his jaw had been broken and had healed back crooked so she was not sure if he would be able to eat? But the good news was he didn't appear to have any internal injuries and so would be able to come home as soon as he was feeling a little better? We all looked at each other..even the dogs? Home?? Did she mean this home?? Our home?? She was going to have that HUGE mean orange and white cat come live here.in our home.with US?? Well, there were some of us (and I'm not saying who) that were not very happy about this? Mom must have noticed because she keep talking about how all of us had been out in the cold, cruel world at one time and how we maybe had some problems at first settling in, but we should think about how well it all worked out? Some of us were not buying this because we could see the very big difference between bringing any of us inside (even the Dogs) and bringing in that HUGE mean orange and white cat?!

    Mom then said she had decided on a name for him, Rhubarb? She said she saw a movie when she was a little girl (a long, long, long time ago?) about a cat named Rhubarb that had been adopted by a baseball team? She said that orange and white cat had been a Fighting Tom too and that he also had some problems adjusting but he finally did and helped the team win a World Series? So she thought this would be a good name for the new cat and what did we think? As you know, there are times when Moms and Dads ask our opinion and really want it and there are times they ask our opinion but have already made up their minds? This was one of those times? We all decided we had important cat things to do?

    Things went along just fine for 7 days and then Mom brought that HUGE mean.I mean she brought Rhubarb home? Before he came home Mom asked Aunt KC to come over to help her install a clear storm door (I don't know why she called it a storm door because there is nothing stormie about it??) in place of the non-see-through other bedroom door? (Actually, Aunt KC installed the door and Mom handed her things to help but it makes Mom feel better to say that Aunt KC helped Mom install it? We don't want to hurt Mom's feelings and let her know we watched what actually went on?) She said we would all be able to see Rhubarb better without disturbing him and maybe it would help him adjust to his new home? (Yeah, Right?!)

    The first eight days that Rhubarb was in the center bedroom, (now called Rhubarb's room 'to make him feel like a part of the family. said Mom?) everything was pretty calm? He still smelled hurt? Mom spent a lot of time in there with him giving him pills and squirting food and other stuff down his throat and talking to him? We all got sort of used to him being there because all he did was sleep? Mom was really happy that he would poop in the litter box (like that was a big deal?) and lap a little water up, but mostly he slept? He would wake up sometimes and see us looking in at him but he would just close his eyes again and go back to sleep? We talked about it and decided that when Aunt Sally tutored him she must have taught him all about being a kind and gentle cat, so we decided to ignore the situation for the time being and proceed on with all the important cat things we had to do?

    On the ninth day when Mom got home from work she saw that he had managed to get on top of the bookcase (it's about 6 feet high and is a nice place to snooze)? She told us that she thought that was a very good sign? Which just goes to show that Moms are not always good at reading signs?

    She got together all his medicine and food and went into .Rhubarb's room. just like always? We went back to watching an interesting show about birds on The Discovery Channel? Suddenly, we heard a blood curdling scream ....

    Well, I'm really tired again? This writing stuff makes me hungry and sleepy? I will write more again tomorrow or the next day?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (who hope you are enjoying his efforts and will understand that artists need time to recharge their batteries?)


    Hi Bandy and everybody? This is Bootsie T?

    Well, we got some very depressing news today? Mom is leaving us on early Saturday morning for 5 whole days? She is going on a long trip? We don't want her to

    go? When she started trying to explain, we knew it was (once again!) one of those times when a human has made up her mind to do something bad for us so we just walked away from her and have ignored her all day long? Even worse, she said she can't (that means won't) leave on the computer while she is gone so we will be cut off from the world? That means you will have to wait until to hear any more of The Story of Fred after tomorrow? I want to move!? Do any of you think your humans would like a cat who is a famous author? Please let me know?

    I know you want me to start the story again but Annie and Krista have been back seat writing and have said I have left some stuff out? I asked them who was writing this story anyway? but that didn't keep them from nagging? So.'to keep peace in the family, here are some (really unimportant) details previously omitted in the interest of making a tight story?

    Annie insists it's really, really important you are able to know what .Rhubarb's room. looked like. She even told me to attach a picture of the room? I asked her how I was supposed to attach a picture that has never been since Mom has never taken a picture of that room? I guess she had no answer to that, because she suddenly began giving herself a bath? Annie is really smart with mechanical stuff and is good with her paws but logical thought processes leave her in the proverbial litter box, if you know what I mean? Anyway, to make her happy, here's what the room looks like? After you walk through the storm door, to your immediate left is a very narrow bed (made from 2 twin box springs on top of each other) along the same wall as the door? The left wall of the room has a scratching post, a litter box and a door into a big walk-in closet? This closet is packed from top to bottom with all of Mom's craft stuff (knitting, sewing, quilting, beads . beads are fun . you lie on the desk pretending to sleep where Mom is sizing all the beads and putting them in the bead tray.'then after she gets them all sorted and begins to string them and is concentrating on tying a knot, you smack the bead tray full of beads onto the floor.'the results are very satisfying?!)? Mom calls the craft closet Dagwood's closet which doesn't make sense to any of us but makes her smile? (Humans?!) To continue, the far wall, across from the door has a windowsill and the window (and THE ONLY) entrance to our wonderful cat enclosure? You now understand why some of us (and I'm not saying who) might begrudge turning over this room to some HUGE mean, ahem, to Rhubarb?? Also along this wall, directly across from the door, is the aforementioned 6 foot bookcase? Along the right wall is a two level cat hammock? And that's all there is to that room? Annie is very happy now because she says it's really, really important later on that you are able to picture the room?

    And Krista says I forgot to completely describe Rhubarb? I thought I did a good job of that but Krista wants me to tell you his paws are 3 times bigger that the paws of the average male cat? Also, before the vet sent him home she weighed him and he weighed 23 pounds? She wondered how big he would get when he started eating regularly, was not sick and now that he had been tutored? Speaking of tutoring, she also told Mom that she discovered when she tutored him that that it just wasn't his paws that were HUGE? We are not sure what that means except maybe his brains are big too? When we asked Mom about that she said that would be an accurate descriptive assessment of many males? This left us still uncertain?

    And now..back to the story? Once upon a time, we were watching a bird story on TV when suddenly we heard a blood-curdling scream from Rhubarb's room? We all ran and looked through the storm door into the room? You know how sometimes we pretend to be Halloween cats and arch our back and hiss? Well, that's what Rhubarb was doing from the top of the bookcase except he wasn't pretending and he wasn't hissing, he was screaming at the top of his lungs? Then he would POP, you know?? Then he would howl? We couldn't see Mom and thought he had killed her? Finally we heard her trying to talk to him saying in a low (but shaky) voice, .It's ok, Rhubarb, no need to be afraid?. AFRAID?? Who was she kidding!!? We cranked our necks all the way around and saw her pressed up against the wall next to the bed, still holding Rhubarb's food and medicine? Every time she would say anything he would scream even louder and make like he was going to spring across the room at her? Well, I can tell you this was pretty unsettling? It completely ruined the serenity of the bird show and some of the kiddens got so anxious they ran under Mom's bed and hid? And the dogs began barking and pounding on the storm door which made Rhubarb even crazier? He got so agitated some of the places on his side began to bleed again? Mom began to edge her way to the door, watching Rhubarb all the time, put his food down, and backed out? We sniffed her very closely to make sure she was not hurt but except for her heart pounding fast, she was ok?

    She called Aunt Sally at her home? We heard her tell Aunt Sally about what happened and that she knew he absolutely had to have his medicine but how was she supposed to give it to him? When she hung up she said that Aunt Sally was going to give her some .calm down. pills for Rhubarb until his tutoring took effect? Aunt Sally said Mom could put the calm down pills in his food and then go in and give him his other medicine and treat his wounds after he calmed down?

    On and off all night long Rhubarb would howl? You know how you hear the big scary cats in jungle TV shows howl when they are hunting? That's what it was like? And if one of us or one of the dogs walked by he would howl and hiss even louder? I can tell you that not many of us slept well that night? I kept worrying that maybe Mom had not locked his door tight? Not that I was scared, but some of the little cats like Krista were nervous?

    The next day when Mom came home she mixed those calm down pills with his food and went to his door? This time he was on the floor sitting next to the bookcase? Mom felt more comfortable with this because he would not be able to jump down on her? But just in case she put on a pair of thick welder's gloves and went into his room with the food? As soon as she leaned over to put down his food he ran at her howling? She straightened up and he went POP and jumped for her eyes? She threw her arm in front of her eyes and he grabbed onto her arm biting and clawing? These were not love nips and the clawing was not bunny kicks, he was trying to rip her to pieces? Sally-Cat got so upset she began throwing up, the others ran for Mom's bed and the dogs began barking and howling again? I was frozen in place with horror, afraid my Mom would not make it out of that room alive?

    Well, this would have been longer if Annie and Krista had not made me waste soooo much of my energy on what they wanted me to write? I will write more tomorrow evening? It takes me about 24 hours of rest for the creative juices to flow once again?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (who thanks you for understanding how taxing it is to be an artist?)


    Hi Bandy and Everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    I'm sorry I didn't write about Fred's Story yesterday but my Mom was not feeling good and I had to curl up next to her and purr her to sleep? Mom is very much better today and still plans to abandon us tomorrow . ?

    Before I begin my story Krista said I left out something again? I tried and tried to explain to her that no one cares about all the little details but she is being a real pain about it (and for such a little runt kidden, she can really smack hard?) so I will tell you more of these (totally unimportant and boring) things?

    Remember how I told you Rhubarb had a broken jaw and it had healed back crooked? And Aunt Sally and Mom were worried he wouldn't be able to eat? Well, it did but he was? Ouch, Krista?! Ok, ok, so his jaw was crooked but not so crooked he didn't figure out how to eat (though he tended to drool a great deal at first)? And his ear is a cauliflower? We don't understand that but Mom says it is? It doesn't look like a flower to us, it looks like a smushed ear, but you know you can't tell humans anything? His dislocated leg got relocated and healed up? And his ribs were better too? So by the time I'm trying (with little success from nosy sisters and sick Mom's) to write about, he was pretty mended except for his bare side that was all sewed up? This is not to say that it must not have really hurt to chew, much less to bite, but none of us were chatty enough with him to discuss it at that time? Well, Krista seems satisfied, thank goodness, so on with the Story of Fred?!

    Once upon a time, Mom was in the room with Rhubarb and he tried to bite out her eyes but she protected herself with her arm and he was biting and clawing it with front and back paws? I was frozen to the spot horrified my Mom was going to get killed?

    Now you might ask why I didn't go to her rescue? I wasn't scared of Rhubarb, NO I wasn't?!! And I thought about going to help her but she had shut the door and I couldn't get in, just watch? If Miki had not gone to the Rainbow Bridge he could have opened the door for me because he could open up anything, but he did Go last year without ever showing any of us how he did all those dexterous things?

    Mom jerked her arm all around trying to get Rhubarb to let go while she held the other arm in front of her face just in case he did let go and jump for her eyes? Finally, she jerked her arm really hard and Rhubarb went flying into the wall and fell onto the floor stunned? Mom said, .Oh no, are you hurt bad Rhubarb?. because there was blood all over the place from where his cuts had opened up again? She walked toward him to see how he was when suddenly he jumped up and ran at her eyes again? This time Mom was quick enough to get out the door.and SHUT it!? Mom calmed the dogs down (not an easy job because you know how dogs get when they think their Mom is in trouble) and sat down on the couch to think? She was breathing really hard? We came to comfort her (those of us who were not still hiding under the bed, that is?)? She took off the welder's gloves that had saved her and they were bloody all over? She cried a little bit and said, .I just don't know what to do!.? Now we had a whole pile of suggestions, but it just didn't seem the right time for them?

    Mom called Aunt Sally and talked to her for a long time? When she hung up she said that Aunt Sally thought it might be best to make Rhubarb go to sleep but Mom was just not going to do that? We were aghast?! We all thought Rhubarb sleeping was second only to Rhubarb leaving as a great idea? If Rhubarb slept then maybe we all would be able to get a good night's sleep too? But Mom got that look on her face that told us no matter what Aunt Sally wanted or what we wanted; Mom was NOT going to go for the sleep idea?

    A little while later, she went out into the garage and when she came back in she put something over her head and said, .What do you think of my plastic goggles?. Well, some of the kiddens that had come out from under the bed ran back under it again? I stood my ground but eyed how far I was from a dash under the couch (discretion being the better part of valor.I heard that on the TV?)? She looked really scary but I could tell she was still Mom? Then she put the welder's gloves back on and went BACK into Rhubarb's room? We couldn't believe it?!!

    I ran to the door to see what was going to happen? Rhubarb was up on the bookcase pacing back and forth howling? Mom was sitting with her legs tucked up on the bed right next to the door? Mom began talking to Rhubarb in the 'sweetie Cat. voice? You all know the Sweetie Cat voice, it's not the .You.re in Trouble. voice, and it's not the .Come eat. voice, and it's not the .Hi kitty. voice, it's the voice we get when we snuzzle Mom and when she rubs our belly and hugs us tight? That's the voice she used to talk to Rhubarb even though he was still howling up a storm making like he was gonna jump on her? But you know what? After a few minutes he stopped howling and began to listen? Now every once in a while he would howl again but it wasn't a real serious howl? After about 10 minutes Mom left the room? She seemed happy?

    Well, this went on day after day, week after week, month after month? Mom would dress in long shirt and pants, put on the goggles and welder's gloves, take Rhubarb his food and then stay to talk to him in the Sweetie Cat voice? After awhile she took off the goggles, and after awhile longer she took off the gloves and brought in a book and talked to him out loud in the Sweetie Cat voice except it was the words from the book?

    And you know what? A miracle happened? Rhubarb began to calm down? And over the days, and over the weeks, and over the months, he began to listen to Mom? And as he was listening over the days, weeks, and months he also began to move closer and closer to her until one day he jumped up on the bed next to her? Now Mom held very still (but checked to make sure her gloves were close by) but kept on reading? Then Rhubarb tucked his paws under him and began purring? Now if that's not a miracle, I don't know what is? After that, he let Mom pet him and even climbed onto her lap and purred with contented joy as she talked to him in the Sweetie Cat voice and stroked him?

    Now, lest you think we lived happily ever after, I need to tell you what happened next? After a few weeks of Rhubarb letting her love on him, Mom decided he was ready for the next step of meeting the family? I tried to tell her this was not a good idea because she didn't hear what Rhubarb said to any of us when we walked by his door, did she? And it was not very nice at all? In fact, rude is too kind a word for the things he said to us.dogs too? But would she listen to her Bootsie T?? Noooooo?! So, one evening she went into the garage and took a big dog crate into Rhubarb's room? She put a blanket on the bottom and then put Rhubarb inside? Well, I could tell right off that he was not happy with this? He got even more unhappy when she dragged the crate with him in it out into the den where all of us (except the dogs who Mom had wisely put outside) were watching the Discovery Channel? That certainly broke up that educational lesson?! As soon as Rhubarb spotted us he went absolutely crazy.howling and lunging at the bars? Mom tried to talk to him but he was not listening? After a few minutes some of the bolder of us realized he couldn't get out and we (and I'm not saying who) would walk near his cage and say (slightly rude) things to him? Every time someone walked by, Rhubarb would get more insane, howling, hissing and POPing? Mom was just saying, .Well maybe this is enough for your first trip out, Rhubarb?., Sally began throwing up, Pooh-Cat began a stare down with Rhubarb with both of them howling, the dogs were barking up a storm outside, and I guess I was the only one who noticed the latch on the door to the crate had come open? I was just saying, .Uh, Mom, MOM??!!!. when Rhubarb lunged at the door?

    Well, I'm really, really exhausted now after a night of helping Mom and watching her get ready to abandon us today, and then exercising my creative Muse? So I guess I will go grab a snack and then a nice long nap? I will write again but not for a loooooong, looooong time since I will be an orphan for FIVE WHOLE days? I appreciate those of you who have offered to have me stay at your house while Mom is gone but she has put me (as the most responsible feline) in charge of the house in her absence? A big responsibility but I think I am up to the job?

    There is a whole lot more to the story? You will note that Fred has not yet appeared???

    Your Friend?
    Boostie T? (who hopes his Mom has a good time and also hopes she will bring him something back from her trip..as long as it is NOT another cat.or dog?!!)


    Hello Bandy and Everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    Well, I'm afraid Mom is in a bit of a snit? She wanted to use the computer to write about her trip but I put my paw down?! I mean, enough is enough?! First she abandons us, then when my Muse had just rejoined me, she got out the loud suckey monster and was indifferent to my perturbation? And then she wants to use the computer showing complete indifference to the pleas from my many fans? Sometimes we just have to take a firm paw with our humans? If we don't they will begin to lose all the training at which we worked so hard? And they may even begin to adopt an .Attitude.? Well, I just couldn't have that so I looked Mom in the eyes and made it very clear who is top cat around here? Mom is in the inside rain room right now, which is the equivalent of kidden embarrassed/upset leg licking?

    Now, where was I?? A blood-curdling scream? No, that's not it? Mom under attack? No.oh my tail and whiskers, these disruptions were not good for my artistic mind? Aha, I think I have it? Rhubarb was about to leap out of the dog crate?? Yes, that's it?!

    Rhubarb leaped at the door and it flew open and he was out?! All of the kiddens except Pooh-Cat removed ourselves to a discrete location (under the bed and under the couch were very crowded.I, of course, stood my ground but it was in the hall where I could watch from a safe distance?) Rhubarb yowled and got eyeball to eyeball with Pooh-Cat twitching his tail, hissing and drooling? Now Pooh-Cat, in addition to being deaf (Mom's excuse for him?) is dumb as a sack of kitty litter (Mom will not accept this no matter what stupid mess he gets in?) so he just sat there blinking at Rhubarb? We all knew it was goodbye Pooh-Cat time, but just as Rhubarb jumped Mom jumped too? Mom landed on top of Rhubarb, wrapped him in her arms and said .No, Rhubarb..bad boy!. We expected him to rip her up good but he just laid there in her arms and then let her pick him up and put him back in his room? If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it and when I ran to tell the others they made me swear on my tail and whiskers that it was true? And was Pooh-Cat grateful to Mom? Nooooo?! He twitched his tail high in the air and stalked off like he was the offended party and not almost ripped kidden?

    After that, Mom put Rhubarb in the crate and brought him out every day? And every day he threw himself at the bars and howled and said very rude things to all of us? But every time Mom took him back in his room he would let her snuzzle him and rub his tummy? After weeks of him acting like Rhubarb the Ripper he finally stopped howling unless someone walked right by his crate? The next day Mom brought him out in her arms? Uh oh! Sure enough, after she had walked him around the house holding him and telling him about each thing in each room like she does with every new comer, she put him on the floor? As soon as his paws hit the ground he took off after Sally-Cat (which was really unfair because Sally-Cat is, uh, ahem, a bit rotund and she also has very short legs which makes her a tad bit mobility impaired?) and bit her on the butt? What Sally-Cat lacks in legs she makes up for in lungs and I am certain every kidden within two miles heard her offended howl? Mom said, .No, Rhubarb.bad boy.into your room!. and then she picked him up and put him into his room? When she let him out again an hour later, he took off after Annie and Mom said, .No, Rhubarb..bad boy.into your room!. Day after day, week after week, month after month, Rhubarb would come out, attack someone and Mom would put him in his room? After awhile Rhubarb might not attack anyone for the first 5, then 10, then 15 minutes, but he always did end up attacking someone and was put in his room? Mom explained to us that this was how to train him not to attack? We told her she should maybe go get another house full of cats to be Rhubarb's attack dummies but Mom just smiled? Some of us (and I'm not saying who) went under the bed or couch as soon as Rhubarb's door was opened and didn't come out until he was safely back in his room for the night? But I must admit, he did make progress.very, very slowly, but it was progress? Finally, after months and months, you could watch him sitting on the floor with his paws tucked under him and you could see him just thinking about jumping on someone? He would ponder the pros and cons and finally decide to go for it? (And I also must admit, his attacks were no where nearly as vicious'seemed like the thrill was in the pounce, not the bite and slash?) As soon as he jumped at a victim and that victim would scream, Mom would begin to say, .No Rhubarb, bad boy, into your room. and Mom wouldn't have to pick him up, he would already have run into his room? I think, in his mind (twisted as it was) this was a fun game to him?

    Anyway, it was somewhere around this time that Mom finished one of her big craft projects and decided to begin another one? She went into Rhubarb's room and opened the door to the big walk-in closet with all her craft supplies stacked from top to bottom in it? She began pulling out one of the boxes when she looked down and saw something? She bent down closer to look to see what it was then straightened up suddenly, slammed the door of the closet, and left Rhubarb's room quickly, closing that door saying, .Oh no, Oh No, OH NO!!!!.?

    Well Mom is out of the inside rain room now and in fairness I suppose I should let her use the computer for a few minutes? I am feeling a bit drained and in need of a snack and a nice nap? I will write more about the Story of Fred soon?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (who believes discipline and compromise are the keys to success in training humans?)


    Hello Bandy and Everybody? This is Bootsie T?

    Baby Sweet Pea? I am sorry if my story is scaring Goblin? You are such a brave kidden I am sure you will set a courageous example and hold Goblin's paw through the scary parts?

    The female butt-in-ski's that live here said for me to tell you to be sure to remember how Rhubarb's room looks because it's getting close to being important that you do? They also said for me to tell you that one thing Mom tried early on and unsuccessfully with Rhubarb was putting a baby kitten in his room? Our doorbell rang late one night about 6 months after Rhubarb came inside, and some little girls handed Mom a baby female kidden that was smaller than a human hand? After Mom got her all fixed up at the vet's to make sure she was healthy she realized she didn't have a room for Tessa (the kidden's name) because Rhubarb was still in it (and, I might add he was still preventing us from using OUR cat enclosure..not that I minded because I am a very understanding kidden, but some of us did?!!)? Anyway, Mom put little Tessa who was just barely able to walk and who fell over a lot in Rhubarb's room, hoping he would enjoy the company? Well, you would have thought Mom had put a mountain lion in with him from the way he carried on? Standing over that little girl kidden hissing and howling?!! Mom took Tessa out and put her in a bathroom saying that Rhubarb was made nervous by Tessa???? Yeah, right!!!? Now this part about Tessa has absolutely nothing to do with the Story of Fred, but Annie and Krista (who know absolutely nothing about writing?) insisted I tell you about Tessa? Now I will proceed on with MY story?

    Let's see, Mom had gone into the craft's closet in Rhubarb's room late one evening for the first time in months and SAW something? After leaving Rhubarb's room she sat down on the couch? We all gathered around her because we could tell that something was up?! She looked at us and said, .I saw some droppings and I think there has been a mouse in my closet in Rhubarb's room, do you know anything about that??. We all looked at each other and then looked back at Mom? .He must have chewed a hole through somewhere in the closet so I will need to find that hole and seal it up because we can't have a mouse inside our house, can we??. We all looked at each other and then at Mom? .Mice steal kidden food, which is a bad thing. she said, .but they really are quite sweet little creatures, so if he does run out please don't hurt him? I will catch him (she was a little nervous about this?) and release him someplace safe?. We all looked at each other and then looked at Mom?

    Now Mom is usually a go-getter? If there is a job to be done she tackles it like a human tornado and gets it done? But this time she really took her time? The next evening after she got home from work she opened the closet door slowly and began taking things out? Like I said, it was stuffed from top to bottom and all the way back with her .projects.? Well, that night, she only took a few things out, and the next night, a few more? The third night she said, .I think Mr. Mouse must have left because I.ve made lots of noise in that closet and have seen lots of droppings but have not seen or heard a single whisker or squeak?.

    The fourth night there was only a few things left in the closet; some long plastic boxes and a big cutting board against the back wall? Rhubarb was curled up on top of his bookcase watching her work? The rest of us were doing important cat things? I was snoozing by the door to Rhubarb's room and occasionally getting up to sniff whatever she brought out of the closet? Mom moved out the plastic boxes and was surprised to see no sign of a mouse hole? That left the big cutting board? She tilted it a little forward and peered behind it but didn't see anything so she picked it up and SOMETHING HUGE RAN ACROSS HER FOOT MOVING VERY FAST!!!!?

    Mom screamed, dropped the cutting board and dashed out of the room, slamming the door behind her, still SCREAMING!? Now, our Mom is just not a screamer? Oh, well, sometimes she will raise her voice, like the time the dogs ate her waterbed, and then there was the time Pumpkin peed on Mom in the middle of the night.but that was just being a tad upset..but we had never hear her SCREAM like that before (and I for one hoped I would never again hear such a terrible sound.little did I know?) and so we did what all smart kiddens do when faced with the unknown, we took off for under the bed, under the couch, behind the refrigerator and anywhere else we could find to hide?

    After awhile, when it got quiet, I, along with a few of the other brave boys ventured out to see what was going on? (I might add that Pooh-Cat was still curled up sound asleep in a hammock, which goes to show that being deaf is not necessarily a bad thing at all?) Well, Mom was sitting on the couch with her legs curled up under her, breathing hard and looking fearfully at the door to Rhubarb's room? (I forgot to tell you that when Mom pulled up the carpeting in the house there were left big gaps between the bottom of all the doors and the floors?) We all looked too but couldn't see anything? Mom called for Rhubarb and thought she had left him in his room? Now Rhubarb might be mean as a bluejay but he is as smart at the next kidden? He was hiding under the couch next to Sally-Cat because Mom's screams had scared the poop out of him too? Mom looked at Rhubarb and looked at his room and then she looked at Rhubarb again?

    Then she said, .Rhubarb, there is a BIG BROWN RAT in your room? I have thought about it and much as I don't want to I am going to put you in there and let you deal with it because we just cannot have a RAT in this house?!! And I know you used to catch mice and RATS before you came to live with me, so I am going to let you do that again?.

    Then she picked him up, carefully opened the door of his room, dropped him inside, and shut the door fast? Mom darted back to the couch, tucked her legs up under her, and stuck her fingers in her ears? We all thought this behavior was very interesting and curious and were willing to observe it as long as she didn't SCREAM again?

    After a long time Mom pulled her fingers out of her ears and walked to the door of Rhubarb's room? She looked and looked through the glass door and then got down on her hands and knees and looked some more? Rhubarb was sitting on top of the bookcase with his paws tucked under him? Mom went to get a flashlight and then sloooowly opened the door to Rhubarb's room and went inside? She scanned the flashlight all around and then inside the closet? Then she got on her knees and shined the flashlight under the bed and then under the bookcase? She gasped and got back up quickly backing away?

    She looked at Rhubarb and said, .Rhubarb, why didn't you catch that BIG BROWN RAT?. Rhubarb looked at her, slowly blinked and said, .You mean Fred??.

    Well, it's time for Mom to feed us and I.ve really written up an appetite? I will write more again later?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (who knew we had a RAT in the house but was too polite to correct Mom when she insisted it was a mouse?)


    Hello Bandy and everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    Sorry I have been so long in writing? My writing Muse ran away and I have been looking for him? I just found him again today?

    Let me see, where were we in the Story of Fred?? Oh yes, Rhubarb had just told Mom that the closet/under the bookcase rat was named Fred?

    At last I can tell you what most of us kiddens knew all along but Mom did not? One night several weeks before Mom discovered Fred in the closet, Rhubarb had been hanging out in OUR outside enclosure? Some homes were being built for humans on top of fields a couple of blocks away? Well, Fred was one of the rats that had lived in those fields and he was being evicted? The night Fred decided to move he took a shortcut across our back yard because he smelled food and water there? After drinking water from our fountain he sniffed his way to the food which had fallen out of a bowl Mom had put in the enclosure for Rhubarb? He didn't sniff Rhubarb who sat very still watching him come closer and closer to OUR enclosure? When Fred (except he wasn't Fred then he was just Brown Rat?) squeezed into OUR enclosure Rhubarb waited until he was eating the food then he POUNCED down onto Brown Rat and grabbed him by the scruff shaking and shaking him? Brown Rat went completely limp? Rhubarb jumped with his .dead. prey (Brown Rat/Fred) in his mouth up into the tunnel leading to his room and somehow managed to get through the tunnel (which is not really big enough for a HUGE cat with a HUGE rat in his mouth?) and into his room? When Rhubarb landed on the floor of his room he spat out Brown Rat and was reaching out to put his paw on him when FASTER THAN A FLICK OF A TAIL Brown Rat came back to life and dashed off? Remember how I said that when Mom pulled up the carpet it left a big gap between the door bottoms and the floor?? Brown Rat ran into the closet door, saw the gap and scooted under with Rhubarb hot on his tail?

    Well, Brown Rat (who is still not Fred yet?) thought he had found rat Disneyworld in that closet? There was a maze of boxes to climb up and down and around, all kinds of interesting things to sniff and bat around, lots of soft things to lie on and chew.overall a nice place for a rat looking for a home? And even better, he discovered that each night when everything got very dark and quiet he could sneak out from under the closet door and eat three types of cat food and drink his fill of water from the bowls Mom left out for Rhubarb?

    And what about Rhubarb you might ask? Well, Rhubarb (in his mean, twisted mind) decided he enjoyed watching the interesting things that Brown Rat did more than he did chasing him? So every night Rhubarb, pretending to sleep but actually slitting his eyes open, would watch Brown Rat come out to eat and explore the rest of his room? This is the same cat who howled and growled at little Tessa?? I told you that Rhubarb was a different sort of cat? Anyway, after a few nights of watching Brown Rat, Rhubarb decided to name him Fred (for what reason I have no idea? I am just reporting the story, not trying to figure out the psychological pathways of Rhubarb's, ahem, unusual brain?)?

    Now all of us knew about Fred too but none of us ever quite found the right time to bring the subject up to Mom? You never know how humans are going to react to things and we all agreed later it was just as well we had not mentioned Fred earlier, given the way she acted when she finally did discover him? We were also bewildered that she didn't smell him the day he came to live with us like we all did? Humans do have noses but one has to wonder why since they never seem to smell anything except the strongest .gag a maggot. kind of smells? Oh well, there are some things that kiddens will never understand?

    I need to rest some more now to make sure my Muse doesn't slip off again? Next time I will tell you all about Mom and Fred and the amazing things we saw?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (who thanks all of you for being patient while I looked for my Muse and especially thanks Ebony for offering to lend one of hers?)


    Hello Bandy and Everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    Ebony? (the girl kidden?) Here's something I found out about Muses? There are a whole lot of talented beings on Earth but not very many Muses? So one author's Muse has to do the job of helping a whole lot of authors? Same thing for the artists. Muses and musicians. Muses, etc.? When you hear of someone talented not being able to work it's probably because that being's Muse is busy helping someone else? That's what my Muse told me? Back to The Story of Fred?!

    Now that you know Fred's background we can proceed with the story? The first night after Mom discovered that Fred was living with us was not a good one? Before we went to bed Mom stuffed towels under the door of Rhubarb's room to keep Fred from, uh, visiting? The dogs thought this was a new game and pulled the towels out and ran around playing chase? All night long Mom would get up every few minutes and restuff towels under the door and try to figure out a way to keep the dogs from getting at them? Well, we all know about dogs, don't we?? Almost every time Mom got up the towels were gone from under the door? It wasn't just Mom who went without sleep that night, the rest of us did too what with the dogs tearing around the house and then Mom getting up, turning on the lights, and saying bad words when she found the towels gone? Even those of use who put our paws over our eyes found it difficult to sleep though all of that racket?

    The next morning when Mom got up she was very grumpy, and so were we? As soon as she left for work we were finally able to settle in for a nice long nap, thank goodness? When Mom came home she had something in a sack? We knew that we didn't want it because it didn't smell interesting, but at least we would have a new sack to play in? Felines are a very optimistic species, aren't we? It's good to know how to look on the bright side when you live with a human? Anyway when Mom unwrapped the thing in the sack she told us it was a Have a Heart Trap? We were very impressed that our Mom, who normally does not like it when we catch anything, finally had learned the joys of trapping even if she just wanted hearts? It was very small, the size of two human hands and Mom showed us that when the heart walked into the trap the door would close without hurting and then you could set it free? We all thought this was really dumb because where is the joy in trapping if you don't play with what you catch, but we decided not to mention this to Mom because she seemed to be a wee bit cranky? She put some cat food in a small jar top and put in into the Trap at the back? Then she slooooowly opened the door of Rhubarb's room, put the Trap down next to the bookcase, and quickly backed out? We looked at the trap, then looked at Mom, then looked at each other? She was going to try to trap not hearts, but FRED in that thing??? We all turned around and walked away? Humans are so very interesting?!

    That night, after weighting the towels down with concrete blocks she brought home, we went to bed early? Mom fell sound asleep and didn't move which made all of us happy so we could snuggle into our places around her on our bed? (We have asked Mom several times to buy another bed for herself and leave our big king-size bed with the Temperpedic mattress.'the one she got after the dogs ate the waterbed.'to us? So far she still insists on disturbing us every night by getting into our bed and stretching all the way out in the center? Normally by morning we have her squished to one side of our bed with her legs curled up under her, but it is a lot of work to move her around so we wish she would just buy a nice little bed for herself?? Why do humans always fail to see what is so very clear to us??)

    Anyway, we were all sound asleep in the darkest part of the night when little Tessa jumped up on the bed with her toy ball and wanted someone to play with her? You know how small kittens are very insistent? We kept ignoring her because we really wanted to take advantage of a quiet Mom and catch some good prolonged snoozing time? Little Tessa looked at all of us and then looked at her loving Mom who had hand fed her when she was so little and who loved her very, very much? She walked up beside Mom, jumped on her chest and dropped her fuzzy ball right on Mom's face? I must tell you that none of us had any idea a human could jump like that.almost as good as a cat? Mom jumped out of our bed and into the bathroom slamming the door, screaming at the top of her lungs all faster than an eyes blink? We, of course, took off for under the bed, except for little Tessa who was picking herself up from where she had landed when Mom sprang out of our bed? The dogs began barking and howling like crazy? It was quite some time before things settled down and Mom cracked open the bathroom door? She had a wild look on her face and was holding the toilet plunger high up in the air? We watched as she crept out and looked all around? Then, and you won't believe this, she smacked our bed over and over again with the toilet plunger? We were amazed? All the scardy cats dashed back under the bed and under the couch in the den because they knew Mom had lost her mind? When she finally stopped smacking the bed she turned the plunger around and with the stick part she tossed back the sheets? And what did she see?? One slightly flattened Teddy Bear named O.Riley (and that's another whole story?!) and a small fuzzy blue ball? Was she done? Noooo! She lifted up the plunger again and opened the closet door real fast and hit all her clothes and shoes with the plunger yelling, .Yah! YAH! YAHHHH!. at the same time?

    We just didn't know what to think? Finally she lifted the plunger up again and marched toward Rhubarb's room? It was then she saw the towels with the concrete blocks sitting on them just like they were when we all went to bed (a fond memory for some of us?)? She looked into Rhubarb's room and saw the Have A Heart Trap still sitting with it's little door open? After that, Mom sat on the couch with her legs tucked under her reading a book until getting up for work time happened and the rest of us finally got back into our bed and tried to sleep? All the younger cats kept asking the older cats WHY Mom had gone crazy? Us older cats tried to tell them that sometimes humans just get the crazies like that and you just have to accept that as part of the deal if you want to live with a human? Still, even some of us older cats had our doubts? It had been another difficult night? How many more would we have to put up with?

    The next night, Mom came home with some really good smelling cheese for the Have A Heart Trap? Fred stayed where he was? Then next night, Mom came home with a cat size Have a Heart Trap and put some of the best smelling food in it? We couldn't understand why she kept putting food in those traps and then throwing the food away? Does that make any sense at all? Some of us (and I'm not saying who?) began contemplating where we would go live if Mom kept up all these disruptions? Fred stayed where he was? The next night, Mom put Rhubarb and Mindy in Rhubarb's room with Fred (Mindy is little but she scares the poop out of everything with four feet, including Rhubarb and the dogs?)? The cat Have A Heart Trap caught Mindy once and when Mom let Mindy out it caught Rhubarb? Fred stayed where he was? The next day Mom, looking very defeated, telephoned Aunt K.C.? And you won't be ready for what happens next?? It really gets unbelievable from here on out?

    Well, time for a snack and a nap? I have to look after Mom too because she has a hurt tooth and will feel bad until next Monday when that tooth's root will be taken away?

    Your Friend?
    Bootsie T?


    Hello Bandy and Everyone? This is Bootsie T?

    Ebony (the girl kidden)?? I am not sure why you have so many Muses at your house? You are certain they are for real Muses and not Dust Muses?? If they are real Muses it must be because Muses find your sweet personality very attractive?

    Tucker? My Mom said to tell your Mom that she left milk and cookies out for my Muse? The dogs ate the cookies and some kidden (but I'm not saying who?!) drank most of the milk and then spilled the rest? My Mom said to ask your Mom if she knows a better way to attract Muses so I can someday become a (ahem?!) published author? There has even been mention of a movie? I wonder what famous kidden they would get to play my part? Anyway, Mom says none of that will happen unless we can keep my Muse around, so talk to your Mom and see if you can come up with any ideas?

    Now, where was I in the Story of Fred? Oh yes, Mom telephoned Aunt K.C. for help? But you know what? When she talked to Aunt K.C. she did not say one word about Fred? No, she asked Aunt K.C. if she would come over to help put up more cat shelves? Now this was not an outright lie because there were cat shelves that needed putting up but to this kidden it seemed like a HUGE evasion of the truth? I mean we all know why Mom called Aunt K.C., and was putting up cat shelves the main reason???? Noooooo?!!!

    Annie and Krista want me to talk a little bit about listening in on human conversations so the younger kiddens understand? We know it's not polite for one human to listen to another human's private conversations? Just like it's not polite for one human to watch another human use the human litter box.or for a human to watch a kidden use the litter box? However, it is perfectly ok, in fact it's mandatory, for us kiddens to listen to human conversations? How else are we going to know the important things like when someone is coming to visit; when our Moms and Dads are going to abandon us for a few days; or, Most Importantly when an appointment has been made for us to visit the vet person? All of these things require kiddens to take action or plot retaliation, so you see that eavesdropping is an excellent and necessary thing for a kidden to do?? I certainly hope that clears up that issue??

    Aunt K.C. arrived at the door not too long after Mom called her with her toolbox in her hand? Aunt K.C. is just great at putting up shelves and making furniture things too? She can also fix (sometimes) broken cars and other broken things? Best of all, she love cats? (and dogs too, but there is no accounting for human taste is there?)

    When Aunt K.C. came in Mom said to her, .K.C. there is just one other little thing I need help with before we start putting up the shelves?. And then she told her about Fred? If there is one thing that kiddens are good at it is reading human faces? I watched Aunt K.C. closely as Mom talked and I could tell that while she tried not to show it, Aunt K.C. was not thrilled about Fred? (All of us have a hard time understanding why humans get so upset over critters that are so much smaller than them? Rats and mice, cockroaches..which are really tasty, and other small things seem to terrify humans? But HUGE nasty orange and white cats don't? Neither do drooling, barking dogs? Does this make sense to anybody??) Mom ended with, 'so.will you help me catch that brown rat?. And when Aunt K.C. agreed (but we could tell how reluctant she was), Mom asked weakly, .Uh, do you need my help or would you like to do it yourself??. When Aunt K.C. said she would need help Mom covered her face with her hands and moaned? Aren't humans interesting?

    Aunt K.C. went into Rhubarb's room and lay down on the floor to look under the bookcase? She kept crawling closer and closer while Mom kept saying, .K.C. don't scare him and start him running around?!. Finally, Aunt K.C. got up and said that she had a plan? The plan was to put the cat Have a Heart trap on the left side of the bookcase and to block off the front and right side (which was up against the right wall) using towels? Aunt K.C. would move the bookcase out from the wall a little and squish the towels closer and closer to Fred leaving him only one route to take, toward the cat trap? Mom asked what she was supposed to do? Aunt K.C. told her to stand over the cat trap with a broom and sweep brown rat into the trap if he tried to jump over it? Mom covered her face with her hands again and moaned, .Are you really sure you need me to do this, it sounds like you have a perfect plan without my help?. But Aunt K.C. reassured Mom that she really did need her help?

    So, they entered Rhubarb's room with a whole bunch of towels and the broom and a large piece of cardboard to put up next to the trap to discourage Fred from jumping over it? They stuck towels under the bedroom door so Fred couldn't get out .just in case.? They opened up the trap and put it against the back wall with the open end abutting the left side of the bookcase? They put the big piece of cardboard up against the trap? Then Aunt K.C. rolled up towels and stuck them under the bookcase and moved the bookcase a little so she could get towels stuck along the right side along the wall? We all sat at the bedroom door watching? This was a whole lot better than any show on the Discovery Channel?

    Aunt K.C. slowly shoved the towels toward the back of the bookcase? Mom stood next to the cardboard leaning against the trap with the broom held in both hands ready to sweep Fred into the cage? Aunt K.C. said, .Do you see him?. Mom said, .No?!. Aunt K.C. said, .I.ve got the towels almost all the way to the back, he should be on your side.let me move the bookcase just a little more?.. It was then that we saw how a small crack had opened up between the bookcase and the cardboard, right next to where Mom was standing? We looked at each other and then looked at Aunt K.C. and Mom and then looked at each other and decided it would not be polite to interrupt their efforts? Aunt K.C. said, .I.ve got the towels all the way to the back, do you see him?. Mom said (and her voice was very high), .No, I don't?! Are you sure.. And then things happened really fast? Fred darted out from the crack, hit Mom's foot, and jumped part way up her bare leg? Mom screamed, .He's out, he's out?!!., threw the broom in the air and ran to the door? Fred ran under the bed, hit the wall and dashed back out toward Aunt K.C.? Aunt K.C. jumped over Fred and rushed to where Mom was at the door saying, .Open the door, open the door, OPEN THE DOOR?!!!!. Mom shouted, .I'm trying, it won't open?!!. Fred smacked into the cardboard, reversed and ran in the direction of the door? Aunt K.C. yelled, 'the towels?!!. then swooped down knocking the towels away from under the door? Mom jerked the door open, they ran out and slammed it shut just as Fred got to it? He caromed off the door and disappeared from sight? Mom and Aunt K. C. jumped onto the couch and tucked their legs up under them? Not as many of us headed for under the bed as usual because we were getting pretty used to all this screaming? (And besides, no one wanted to miss any of these interesting human antics, not even the more timid among us?) Mom and Aunt K.C., breathing very hard, looked at each other and said, .Now what???!!.

    Thus ended .Plan A. in the attempt to trap Fred, the Brown Rat?

    I am really in need of some good food? I will go see if Mom would like to give her artistic boy a special treat? I think a nice nap in the sun on one of the shelves in our enclosure sounds good too? I will write more again soon?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (who knows all of this is hard to believe but promises you it is true? We don't know why, but odd things seem to happen in our house all the time?)

    CHAPTER 10

    Hello Bandy and Everybody? This is Bootsie T?

    It has been a very hectic few days here what with Mom having a canal in her mouth and me having to keep all the other kiddens and the dogs quiet (and dogs do NOT excel at quiet when they think they hear something outside..even when what they hear outside is really nothing..but that's dogs for you?) and nursing Mom? But Mom is feeling better now and so I finally am getting a bit of computer time? Now where were we in the Story of Fred? Oh yes, Fred had just chased two humans who were each at least fifty times bigger than him out of his (and Rhubarb's) room (which used to be OUR room with the cat enclosure in the good old days.not that I'm complaining or anything?)?

    Mom and Aunt K.C. were both on the couch with their legs tucked under them and we all gathered around to see what interesting things the humans would do next? Mom and Aunt K.C. carried on a typical human conversation with lots of hand movements?

    Aunt K.C. . That was a RAT?!!

    Mom . I told you it was a Rat?!

    AKC . I know, but I thought maybe it was a mouse?

    M . I told you it was a Rat?!

    AKC . That was a VERY BIG RAT?!

    M . I told you it was a Very Big Rat?!

    AKC . I know, but I thought maybe it was a mouse?

    M . I Told you it was a Rat?! I told you it was a VERY BIG RAT?! I told you, I told you, I TOLD YOU?!!!

    AKC . I know, I know?

    Mom . So what do we do now?

    AKC . I guess we need to find out where he is?

    Mom . Go ahead? (Now normally our Mom is not such a scardy kitten but we could tell this situation was getting a wee bit stressful for her?)

    Aunt K.C. heaved a great sigh and advanced toward the bedroom? She peered through the glass for a bit then got on all paws and did the same? She slowly opened the door of the bedroom and entered, closing the door behind her? Mom clutched her legs tightly and she leaned as far off the couch as she could to try to see what Aunt K.C. was doing? After a minute she hollered, .K.C., K.C. are you ok? Do you see him??. When Aunt K.C. didn't say anything Mom got more nervous? We could tell she thought maybe Fred had killed and eaten Aunt K.C.? She had just put one foot on the floor when Aunt K.C. opened the door and said, .He's back in the closet..and I have a plan?.

    .Oh really??. Mom said weakly? .You don't need me to do anything, do you??. she asked shaking her head back and forth?

    .I need your help, Jayne?.

    .Are you absolutely certain? Wouldn't you feel better if you did it all yourself?., Mom smiled sweetly?

    .Whose RAT is this and in whose house?. frowned Aunt K.C.?

    .Ok, ok..I'm coming?. as Mom slooowly dragged herself up from the couch? .What's the plan?.

    The plan was for them to place the Cat Trap right outside the closet door? Then Aunt K.C. would used the broom to scare Fred out of the closet and into the trap and Mom would use another broom to sweep Fred into the trap just in case he tried to jump over it? Mom said since there was only one broom that she would not really be of any help to the plan? Aunt K.C. went into the garage and brought Mom back a mop?

    They went into Fred and Rhubarb's room and got the trap in place and opened it? Aunt K.C. asked Mom, .Are you ready??.


    .Good?!. said Aunt K.C. and she cracked open the closet door? .I see him?!.

    We could see Aunt K.C. swinging the broom all around inside the closet and hear it banging against the walls? Mom was poised over the trap with the mop? All of a sudden Aunt K.C. yelled, .HERE HE COMES?!!!.

    Fred dashed out of the closet and, sure enough, as soon as he spotted the trap he jumped in the air toward Mom? She swooped down with the mop down and swept Fred into the cage? We were so proud of our Mom?!! Aunt K.C. made the trap door close and Mom and Aunt K.C. leaned down to see finally, after all their efforts, Fred, the Huge Brown Rat, trapped in the Cat Trap? We leaned forward against the glass of the door watching them watch Fred?

    SUDDENLY Mom SCREAMED the worst scream we had ever heard and then Aunt K.C. SCREAMED too?

    Well, Mom wants to get on the computer for awhile now so I will write more later after I have rested and had a good snack or two?

    I hope you are enjoying the story of Fred? Remember, I did tell you it was pretty long?

    Your Friend,

    Bootsie T? (who is looking forward to coming to the Halloween party as a Texas Ranger? Mom is getting me a big White Hat?)

    CHAPTER 11

    Hello Bandy and Everybody? This is Bootsie T?

    Now, where was I in the Story of Fred? Oh yes, Mom and Aunt K.C. had just caught Fred in the cat trap? They were very proud of themselves and we were proud of them too, but mostly we were happy that we might finally get a good night's sleep?

    And then we all found out something about rats that none of us knew except Rhubarb, and he wasn't telling? Just in case you don't know this, one of the reasons rats have survived for so many years is their ability to adapt and to change? Sometime back eons ago Fred's ancestors found out that it would be a good thing to be able to flatten one's body and elongate one's bones in order to squish through small openings? So they bred for this gene? Well, Fred had lots of those genes in his body?

    When he got stuck in that trap and Mom and Aunt K.C. leaned over to look at him he quickly assessed the situation, squished his body and LEAPED UP out of the trap? He smacked Mom in the neck first, then as she straightened up he ran down her chest, across her arm and LEAPED onto the back of Aunt K.C.'s head, then down her back and finally LEAPED off and was free?

    By my whiskers?! I hope to never again hear screams like those I heard coming from that room? I almost jumped out of my tail? It didn't take Mom and Aunt K.C. as long this time to run out the door and onto the couch with their legs tucked under them? I'm not sure what happened to the towels that were stuck under the door because I was moving fast to avoid being trod on by running feet?

    Once again a breathless Mom and Aunt K.C. held a conversation on the couch with lots of hand gestures as they kept glancing with big eyes at the door of Fred/Rhubarb's room?

    Clutching her legs, Mom said?:

    Oh, poor thing?

    Aunt K.C. - I'm ok?

    Mom - Not you?!

    Aunt K.C. - Who then?

    Mom - You know, him? gesturing toward the Fred/Rhubarb room?

    Aunt K.C. - You are talking about that Big Brown Rat?

    Mom - Yes, he must be so frightened?

    Aunt K.C. - HIM frightened? You are worried because WE scared that RAT??

    Mom - Yes, I had hoped we could move him without scaring him so much? He doesn't understand what's going on?

    Aunt K.C. - Well, I'm not sure I do either?! Have you decided to offer him a permanent home in that bedroom? Maybe you can set up a nice little bed for him and give him his own food bowl?

    We all listened very intently to this because the way we saw it the future of OUR cat enclosure hung in the balance?

    Mom - Don't be sarcastic, K.C., I know he has to go, I just wish there was a gentle way to do it? He must feel like he is being torn out of rat heaven? What do we do now?

    Aunt K.C. - Now, as in how do we catch that Big Brown Rat??

    Mom nodded her head?

    Aunt K.C. - It's obvious some of the bars of the cage are wide enough for him to slip through? I guess we need to tape up those areas? Do you have any tape?

    Mom nodded again?

    Aunt K.C. - Ok, we need to get the cage and tape it up?

    Mom (smiling sweetly) - I.ll go to the garage and get the tape because I know where it is and you can go into the room and get the cage? While you.re at it will you try to see where the rat is?

    Aunt K.C. frowned then stalked off to the bedroom and Mom went into the garage? We watched Aunt K.C. carefully approach the cage, looking all around as she did? Then she peered into the closet, under the bed and finally got down on all paws to look under the bookcase? She came out with the cage about the time Mom came back in with two rolls of masking tape?

    Aunt K.C. said that she had spotted Fred under the bookcase again? As soon as they started taping the cage they ran into trouble because they realized that almost every space might need to be taped and also Aunt K.C. said the tape Mom had would not hold back a determined rat for more than a few seconds? They looked at each other and said, 'so now what?.?

    Now here is something interesting I have observed about humans? Whenever they get really confused and don't know what to do next they go into the garage and first stand there and then begin picking up things and putting them down while muttering to themselves, No; no too big; no, too small; maybe this would work or maybe not; hum..what's in here.oh that's where I left it?! and this goes on for quite some time until the human comes back in with something from the garage or comes back in and is in a very bad mood?

    Mom and Aunt K.C. went into the garage and picked up all sorts of things, including a rope that Mom thought they could use as a snare? She put it down after Aunt K.C. told her to stop being stupid? They looked at a laundry basket, a tool box, a cat carrier, a garbage can, a big flower pot, and they paused for a long time over bird netting that Mom covers plants with but finally decided Fred's teeth would chomp right through it? Finally, after scratching their heads and lots and lots of human discussion that I won't bore you with, they spied the big cardboard box that the cat Have a Heart trap had come in? They looked at it and looked at it, turning it all around? They brought it back into the house triumphantly like they had just found a box full of catnip? We all sniffed at the box and while it looked like it might make a fun hiding place to play in we couldn't smell anything special about it?

    There ensued more hand gesturing conversation, which this time included picking up and putting down the box and then Aunt KC went back into Fred/Rhubarb's room? When she returned she said, I have a plan?!

    Well, it's time for me to try on my Halloween costume and rest up before the big party? I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone and watching the special ballet? The story of Fred is nearing its climax? I hope you will be patient with me while I relax tonight and gather my strength and my Muse for the rest of the story? I will see you soon?

    Your friend?
    Bootsie T? (whose Mom has also made him a bright silver badge to wear with his 10 gallon hat tonight?)

    CHAPTER 12

    Hello Bandy and Everybody? This is Bootsie T?

    Auntie T.Nan? I must admit I understand very little of what you say? But I do love the way you say it? It's so, uh, logical? I think?

    I did understand your most recent message when you said it's ok for me to walk in Mom's pudding (thank you?!!) but not to break her (one and only) reading lamp? Breaking lamps is not something I normally (only twice) do, Auntie T.Nan? I was performing my cat duty of catching insects when the lamp jumped between me and my prey? So what's a kidden supposed to do?

    Now, back to the story of Fred? Where was I? I.ve had so many Muse resting naps since I last wrote about Fred? Oh yes, Mom and Aunt K.C. had found a cardboard smelling box in the garage and got very excited about it? Aunt K. C. had figured out a .Plan C. involving that box?

    .Plan C. was quite a bit like .Plan A. except with a box instead of a cage? Aunt K.C. would squish towels toward under the bookcase Fred? Mom would position the box so that it was the only place he had to go? Mom would have a broom ready..just in case? Now I must tell you that by this time our Mom was really quite frazzled? The smallest thing made her jump? While she and Aunt K.C. were sitting on the couch (with their legs Not tucked up) discussing 'the Plan. I approached where Mom was sitting and gave her a tiny, .It's getting close to feeding time. nip on her ankle? I was shocked and dismayed at her violent reaction? I missed out on some of 'the Plan. because I had to give myself a partial bath in reaction to Mom skootzing me halfway across the den? It wasn't quite a kick, but it wasn't a love pat either? I have never known Mom to react that way except for when Snow decided to knead Mom's chest with claws extended --in the middle of the night? I mean any kidden worth its whiskers should know by the time it's tutored/paid all the, ahem, sensitive spots on its. human and should normally attempt to avoid (for safety's sake) those spots, if at all possible? But Snow is .for real. crazy and so she sinks claws and teeth wherever and whenever she wants no matter how disruptive this may be to the rest of us? Oh well, one tries to be tolerant?

    Mom suggested maybe they could instead tightly wedge the box in place and then she could wait outside the door with the broom to sweep Fred back in if necessary? Aunt K.C. gave Mom .A Look. and Mom mumbled, .Well, it was just an idea?.

    Once again they took their places? They put the Have a Heart Box next to the wall on the left side of the bookcase with its mouth facing the bookcase? Mom hovered over the box with her broom? Aunt K.C. got down on all paws, figured out where Fred was hiding, stuffed all around with towels and then asked Mom if she was ready?

    Mom . K.C., what do we do if we catch him?

    Aunt K.C. . I assume you want to let him loose?

    Mom . Yes, but where?

    Aunt K.C. . Since you don't want your neighbors to see you letting a rat loose from your house, I suggest the back yard?

    Mom . How do we get there?

    Aunt K.C. (a tad exasperated) . How about we go out the door?

    Mom . Which door?

    Aunt K.C. . The back door?

    Mom . Not my bedroom door?! What's wrong with the side door?

    Aunt K.C. . It's much further and we have to get him out of the house before he jumps or chews his way out of the box?!

    Mom . But what if he gets out in my bedroom???! He could get under or in the bed or run into my closet or all kinds of places?!!

    Aunt K.C. shrugged and leaned down to begin squishing the towels? .Are you ready??.

    Mom - You can't come up with a better plan?

    Aunt K.C. . Sure I can? I can get up and start hanging shelves which was, I recall, why I was invited over, wasn't it? she arched her brows?

    Mom . raised her broom over the box and said, .OK, I'm ready?!.

    Aunt K.C. slowly shoved the towels back and back toward Fred?

    Aunt K.C. . Is he in the box??

    Mom . I don't think so?

    Aunt K.C. shoved the towels some more, then asked, .Is he in the box??.

    Mom- I don't think so? How will I know when he's in the box?? Won't he rattle around?? I haven't felt or seen anything?

    Aunt K.C. . I.ve got the towels all the way to the back wall, are you sure he's not in the box?

    Mom . No, I'm not sure? How can I tell??

    Aunt K.C. . Turn the box up and look?!

    Mom . Me? You want ME to turn the box up and look to see if that HUGE Brown Rat is in there?? What if he's right on the edge waiting to jump into my face and bite my nose off??!!

    Aunt K.C. (sighing) . Well, he's not over here so he must be in the box? I guess .I. will look then?

    Mom slid over to the door with her broom raised high while Aunt K.C. took her position by the box?

    Mom . Do it fast, K.C.?

    Aunt K.C. . I will?

    Mom . Be careful, K.C.?

    Aunt K. C. . I will, I will?

    Aunt K.C. put her hands on both sides of the box, quickly turned it upright, and then stared down into it?

    Mom . Well?

    Aunt K.C. kept staring down into the box?

    Mom . K.C., WELL?

    Aunt K.C. (leaning forward to get a better look) . He's in there all right?

    Mom . Let's take him outside?!

    Aunt K.C. . You know, he's kinda cute? Want to take a look??

    Mom . No! Let's take him outside! Please, K.C.?!

    Aunt K.C. . Ok, ok?!!

    Aunt K.C. picked up the box and when she did Fred began jumping around like crazy? We could hear his sharp little claws screeching down the sides of the box each time he jumped up?

    Mom . Oh No?! Is he going to jump out??

    Aunt K. C. . I don't think so? We had better take him outside? HURRY?!!

    Mom torn the towels away from the door and opened it for Aunt K.C.? With every step Aunt K.C. took Fred jumped higher and higher? Mom ran through her bedroom and opened the back door for Aunt K.C.? Aunt K.C. slowly walked down the hallway and into Mom's bedroom?

    Mom . Hurry, K.C. I can see his head when he jumps up?

    Aunt K.C. (quickening her pace) . I'm hurrying, I'm hurrying, already?

    Suddenly, some kidden who was trying to get out of the way while at the same time not missing out on anything (and I'm not saying who?!) darted in front of Aunt K.C. causing her to trip and fall to one knee? Mom screamed and we all held our breaths to see if Fred would now be sharing OUR bedroom with us? Somehow Aunt K.C. was able to keep the box upright as she struggled back to her feet?

    Mom . Are you all right, K.C.? Oh, hurry, hurry, HURRY, he's almost able to jump out?!

    Aunt K.C. walked out the back door, across the deck and over the grass toward the back fence? She put the box on the ground and looked into it?

    Aunt K.C. . Are you sure you don't want to keep him, Jayne?? He really is cute?

    Mom (standing in the open doorway) . Let him out, K.C.? Let him out NOW?!!

    Aunt K.C. positioned the box with its mouth facing the back fence and tipped it over? Fred darted out of the box and began tearing around the yard? Mom yelled for Aunt K.C. to come into the house, quick?! Aunt K.C. began jogging toward the deck but Fred was faster?

    Fred looked up and saw his Mom standing in the doorway? The Mom who had (unknowingly) given him water and wonderful food? He knew that through that doorway was the path to HIS room and HIS closet and all the things that make up Rat Heaven? He made a beeline for Mom?

    Aunt K.C. . Jayne, close the door?!

    Mom stood at the door looking at Fred who was accelerating toward her?

    Aunt K.C. . Jayne, CLOSE the Door?!!

    Mom later said that she was frozen in place (though she didn't look cold to any of us?) and that it seemed like everything was going in slow motion?

    Fred hit the deck and was bounding toward Mom at top speed?


    Mom slammed the door so hard every window in the house rattled?! Fred crashed into the door, darted to the side of the house and disappeared?! He was never seen or heard from again?

    And that's the story of the Huge Brown Rat named Fred? I hope you enjoyed it?

    Your exhausted friend?

    Bootsie T? and his Muse (who has a great deal more sympathy for authors now that we are one?)

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