Joy looked up at the cup that held her food. The big people kept it on the second shelf, which would be no problem for Joy to jump to if it wasn’t also full of other things; people food, she thought. But why did they do that? Didn’t they know that it meant she couldn’t reach her food? Maybe if she could reach it, she wouldn’t need to ask them to feed her so much… Then she could be much more independent, like cats are supposed to be.
“Maybe if I just jump really hard, I can push some of the other stuff out of the way, and I could stand up there,” she thought.
She glanced around. They still weren’t home, and they’d been gone all day. Joy was always hungry anyway, even if she’d just eaten (in fact, she was hungry even while she was eating), so she decided to try.
She squatted down on the floor, ready to pounce up. It was a long way up, but she knew she could do it. This is the kind of thing that cats do, after all.
Her muscles tensed and her ears listened for the slightest noise that might distract her… Nothing… “OK,” she thought. “Time to go…”
“NOW!!” Joy thought as she leaped up, crashing straight into a box of maccaroni, two cans of tuna, and a bag of flour.
“Oh, no…” she screamed to herself as her claws came out and her legs flailed for anything to grab onto. She managed to get two claws into a packet of seaweed, but quickly realized this wasn’t going to help her. Some other part of her body (it was impossible to tell which part) knocked over a box of crackers (her big brother’s favorite), and she tried to get one of her back feet into the space where the box had been, but her paw slipped off the edge, and before she knew what was going on, her whole body fell hurtling towards the floor, pulling down seaweed, crackers, tuna, and… was that?… YES! HER FOOD!!
She twisted her body as only cats can, landing comfortably on all four feet, and enjoyed the sound, and the feeling, of her food raining down on her.
She crunched away for what felt like hours. It was great. She could feel herself filling up, and then feel herself getting fatter by the second.
She looked up when she heard the front door open. “Uh-oh,” she thought. The big people probably wouldn’t like this…
She kept eating until Daddy came into the kitchen and saw what had happened.
“Joy!” he exclaimed, half-angry and half-amused. She responded with a “miaow” and a look that meant “well, what was I supposed to do? Starve?”
She thought she should go lie down while Daddy cleaned up the wreckage, so she strolled into the living room on the way to the bedroom.
When she walked into the living room, though, she saw her big brother, Sam, who she loved very much, sitting quietly on the couch, all wrapped up in his comfy brown blanket, with Mommy sitting next to him, stroking his head.
She decided to go cuddle with him. Joy always knew immediately when someone wasn’t feeling well, and she knew the best way to help was to cuddle up to whichever part wasn’t well. She could see from the look on Sam’s face that it was his tummy, so she jumped up next to him, cuddled up to him tightly, and rested her head on his tummy.
“Ah, Joy, that’s so sweet,” Mommy said. “Sam, isn’t that sweet? Joy knows you’re not feeling well.” Sam didn’t say anything, but brought his toy sheep, Buddy, across to kiss Joy’s nose. She didn’t usually like kissing Buddy, even though he was a good friend of hers, but she quickly rubbed noses with him, thinking Sam would appreciate it.
She and Sam cuddled for a while, now that her tummy was full, and she dozed for a while, waking up occasionally when Sam stroked her fur or touched her tail.
She hoped Sam would feel better soon. She didn’t like it when he wasn’t feeling well…
Sam’s dinner time came, so while he sat at the table to eat, she thought she should ask the other animals to help look after him.
She left Buddy with Sam, but jumped up on the bed to talk to Snoopy, Snoopy Jr., Tina the Manatee, and Myrtle the Turtle.
“OK, everyone, come in close, we need to talk,” she said. Everyone stayed where they were; no movement at all. “Come on,” Joy said, “this is serious. Sam’s not feeling well!” They still stayed where they were. “Seriously?” Joy asked them. “Fine, stay where you are, but here’s the deal – Sam’s tummy is not feeling well, and he needs our help. He needs you to play with him, cuddle with him, and be his friend. I’m going to come around to each of you and give you your role, OK, so stay where you are…”
As Joy went from animal to animal and told them how they could take good care of Sam and help him feel better, she heard Sam getting into the bath, playing with his boat for a minute, and then getting out.
“Wow,” Joy thought, “he must really be tired – he loves playing with his boat.”
She snoozed for a minute or two, before she heard Daddy bringing Sam into the bedroom to get changed for bed and read two stories, like they did every night.
She decided she could leave the other animals to take care of Sam, and she went to ask Mommy for food. As she entered the kitchen and asked “Miaow?”, Mommy replied “There’s no way you’re getting any food, Joy… sorry…”
“Hmmmph,” Joy thought to herself. “That’s not fair. I’m putting a lot of effort into looking after Sam…”
She decided to get in the bath instead. She loved to lick the drops of water off the floor of the tub after people got out; it tasted so much better than the water in her food bowl. The light was off in the bathroom when she got there, and the curtain was closed on the bathtub, but that was fine – she knew how to climb in with her eyes shut.
She climbed around the end of the shower curtain and jumped into the tub.
“Why are my paws wet?”, she asked mid-jump, followed by “Why are my legs wet?” and “Why is my whole body wet?”
“MIAAAOWW!!” she yelled at the same time as a cat-sized splash filled the room. She pulled herself out of the water as quickly as possible, but she felt twice as heavy as usual. She realized that was probably because of all the food she’d eaten earlier, but the water probably had a lot to do with it as well…
Daddy walked through the door, saying “Oh, Joy, I’m sorry…” with a smile and a laugh he couldn’t hold back. She looked as unamused as she could, to let him know this was seriously not OK.
She let him dry her off a little, and spent the rest of the evening hiding under the dining room table, cleaning herself off and trying to get as dry as possible.
She was still concerned about Sam, though, and even though she usually slept in the living room, she wanted to check on him. When Mommy and Daddy had finally got ready for bed (they always took a lot longer than it seemed like they were going to take), she knew the routine. They would wave night-night to Joy, turn off the light, then open the bedroom door. They’d done the same thing for as long as she could remember, so tonight she was ready. They waved night-night and turned out the light. She jumped up silently, and strolled over to the bedroom door. It opened. She jogged inside, and heard them follow her in and close the door.
“Ha!”, she thought. “Success!”
She jumped on Sam’s bed, and found him sleeping sideways on it, covered in the brown blanket but nowhere near his pillow. She curled up next to him and slept silently, hoping that he would feel better in the morning.
Morning came, and Joy woke up from her sixth nightmare about falling into a full bathtub, and all she could think about was food.
She started to purr, which woke everyone else up.
“Joy, what are you doing in here?” asked Mommy and Daddy.
While she continued to ask for food, she heard Sam stirring. Mommy asked Sam how he was feeling, and he replied “Good!” (he always said “Good!”, though, so Joy wasn’t sure…).
“Hey, Sam,” Daddy said, as Joy wondered if she was going to have to risk her life again to knock down the food so she didn’t starve. “Guess what Joy did last night?”
“What did she do?” asked Sam.
“Remember how we didn’t empty the bath last night?”
“Well, Joy jumped right into the water!”
Daddy seemed way too excited about this, Joy thought. It wasn’t that funny, really.
“HA HA HA!!” Sam yelled, with a huge smile on his face. “Joy! You jumped right into the water! HA HA HA!!”
Joy smiled. Sam really was feeling better. “And I guess it was pretty funny,” she thought, as she decided to try and pull down the flour as well as the seaweed and crackers this time.