There was a time when I roamed the neighborhood all night, ensuring that nothing was around to disturb my people. But then, the sickness came and I lost sight in my right eye. Night roaming is dangerous for me now so I stay close to my home. But still, I am vigilant, running off the scarred tomcats and those wily raccoons if they dare to look at my people. The stinky cats I leave alone.

My people never forget to feed me, although the Boys often make a mess of my water so I have to step around the vile wetness to get a drink. I know my Woman gets on to them when they do. I hear her yelping at them through the glass door. She isn’t a bad Woman. I do not like that she wants to touch me before she lets me eat until she does, and then she knows exactly how I like to be scratched, not gently, not too rough. She makes a cooing sound as though I was one of her babies. It is not too annoying so I let her.

Most days are the same. The Boys come outside to my yard and run around as if being cooped up inside the house confines their legs and arms and voices. Usually they leave me alone to sleep. For a while they get along and then they start bickering. My Woman comes out the door to yelp at them again. She is funny to see with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. She thinks she is tough, but even my Boys know that she is kindhearted and good.

Occasionally my whole family will leave early in the morning, putting out fresh food and water before I have even opened my eyes. I hear the garage door open and their big vehicle roar to life. The monster backs out and the garage door closes again. I run under the fence just in time to see them drive away. Because I had been abandoned once before, I always worry that they will not return. But they always do and I am there in the front yard to greet them, telling them that they should not run away like that without telling me. Sometimes my people are foolish. Don’t they know how dangerous it is out there without me to protect them?

I am happy and content with my people until my Woman comes out with a small clear vial with a blue top. She tries to hide it in her hand, but I know what it is. She coos at me while grabbing the back of my neck as I try to slink away. I close my eyes and remember my mother clutching me the same way when I was a kitten. Then my Woman pours the cold liquid on the back of my neck where I can’t lick it away and lets me go. I glare at her and she knows that I am annoyed. I will ignore her for a few days and she yelps something about being stuck up, whatever that means. I’ve never been stuck up a day in my life. I can always climb down from a tree.

I like it when my Man comes to my porch. He was the one to convince my Woman to let me stay with them when I was much younger. When I could roam the neighborhood on patrol every night. He always tells my Woman to make sure to give me the sweet treats that I love. He understands me and doesn’t expect me to curl up in his lap. That is not my way.

I fear that my days are coming to an end. My bones ache and the shadow over my eyes is spreading. Some mornings it is difficult to get out of my warm bed so I don’t for a while. I watch as one of my Boys or my Woman puts out food and water. Sometimes I say thank you. Mostly I just lay my head back down to sleep for a while longer. My people will cry when I go, as my Woman did when I was sick. I would rather see her smile. Yes, the end is coming nearer, but not quite yet. There are still many mice to behead.

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