Excerpt from “Panther Boy”

So I have tried my hand at a children’s story. Here is the introduction:

Panther Boy is a black cat with yellow eyes and a proud chest. When he sleeps, his face seems to disappear except for the white whiskers that radiate from his eyebrows and muzzle. Daddy says his head floats on a marshmallow. Mommy says that the markings on his mouth and chin make him look like a little man with a moustache. However, when you see him I think you’ll agree that of all things he most resembles a panther and a boy. This isn’t the only reason he is called Panther Boy. Let me tell you how he first got his unusual name.
When Panther Boy’s new family chose him at the local animal shelter, the temporary name they had given him was Clyde. When the lady who would become his new mommy saw the name “Clyde” attached to his cage, she immediately recognized that this name was not fitting for this friendly, playful kitty who reminded her of a very playful little boy. The name Clyde seemed to fit someone else, someone wearing a cowboy hat and boots, touting a water pistol and drawing twirly moustaches in the margins of notebooks. This kitty looked a lot like a panther with a shiny coat, only smaller and not as scary.
The name Panther Boy is most fitting, even though Panther Boy is not altogether a panther nor a boy. He is a bit of both. This story is about how Panther Boy lives as both a cat and a boy. Let’s begin with where Panther Boy came from.
His human family only knows that the pet patrol picked him up from the streets of Denton, where they live, a city in Texas that has one of the largest populations of black cats in the world. Panther Boy is very friendly and comfortable with human beings. This is probably because he was exposed to humans in his first few weeks of life, unlike his adopted sister Pippin who wasn’t and so often runs away from humans, including her own human family.

Panther Boy remembers things in the way that cats remember and not the way humans do. He doesn’t remember exactly who the first humans were who held or fed him, but when he smells his current family, they smell an awful lot like his first human friends. He likes this smell so much that when he is hungry, or hurt, or upset he trills in a low to high pitch, or whines until the wonderful smell gets close, and then he feels content.
In fact, Panther Boy has become so attached to his human mommy and daddy that at times, he hardly seems to realize he is a cat at all. Sometimes he behaves so much like a boy that mommy and daddy will forget that they own a cat rather than a child. At other times he will seem like both a cat and a boy at the same time. You might wonder how such a story could possibly be all that interesting since it’s a story of a cat who lives exclusively indoors. But think of the things you do in your very own house: build a fortress in your bedroom made of blocks or Legos or your family’s camping tent; or a dollhouse of several floors inhabited by tiny furniture and people; or staring at the ceiling and making faces and castles in your mind. Creating worlds inside your house can be just as magical and exciting as running around outside.

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