“It’s one of those damn cats,” thought Dexter, his whiskers twitching irritably. “On his way to his bowl of food, or on his way to hiss at the neighbor cat, or to go sunbathe…” Dexter’s tiny, furry body went stiff with caution for a moment, hidden within his shrub, waiting for the feline to pass. He could hear it sniffing, but its footsteps faded away. Some object of interest other than Dexter, today.
He slinked out of his shrub into the sunlight, watching the black cat walk down the slope into the front yard. It was approaching two others like itself, who walked regally between legs, under tables, around chairs. The thirty or so humans there assembled made a cloud of noisome static to Dexter’s ears—chewing, laughing, coughing, swallowing, dancing (four of them were adding to the din with some sort of music-playing), living. Our curious Dexter let his mind wander down there, let his imagination settle on the first cat’s shoulders and explore the busy front yard. He was taller now, tall like the cat; he could see over the blades of grass. He smelled through the cat’s nose, knew now what had distracted it, thus sparing Dexter’s life: By the barbecue, on a table—raw meat, raw hamburger. Dexter had never had hamburger, but he now imagined that he had; he was becoming pleasantly carried away by his cat-fancy. Soon, he would be small again, quick, hidden, intelligent— but for now, he was the black cat. He was strong, silent, and loved by humans.
One of them had bent down now in front of the cat, was leaning over and reaching out hands to stroke him. Dexter scurried farther into the sunlight, just a little further from his shrub, straining to see—was it one of the bare-legged humans, with the skirts? Or, one with the massive trunks, the pants? Dexter’s whiskers twitched. He fancied that he could feel the fingers stroking the cat’s back… and yes! It was a skirted one, of course it was: with the pink fingernails, and the shrill scream of a voice. Dexter gave a mouse-y smile, seeing himself back at home, stroking the backs of his children just so. For he would see them soon.
From his view of the front yard (for he was returned now to his body to some extent) he saw the eddying and flowing of bodies, saw the three congregations of humans around the three cats that walked among them. Some frowned, sniffed, turned the other way, but so many more smiled as the cats approached, laughed, coo’d, bent down to scratch their backs! Three magnets they were, drawing from the crowd that which they desired—be it food, or affection, or whatever.
Dexter sighed, glanced down at the ground between his paws, saw a few miniscule insects foraging through the dirt. He reached out to eat one—but let his paw reach further, grabbed a seed, ate that instead. He wasn’t a cat, nor a human, but he could act it anyway: he could see something smaller than himself and smile, instead of sniffing, instead of turning away. It was only fancy, but he thought maybe his black cat was capable of the same.