The Four-Eared Cat - a short story about your impact on others

The Four-Eared Cat
By Bill Fountain

In a quiet and tranquil neighborhood lived an aggressive, four-eared cat named Kitty resting peacefully on its owner’s king-sized mattress. She was a small black cat rescued only a year ago as a feral kitten when a man spotted the interesting-looking animal scavenging near a shopping complex dumpster. Jake brought her to a vet to find out she had a genetic mutation but was in an otherwise healthy condition. After getting approval from his parents, the kitten was neutered and taken into their home as the new family pet. Jake began feeling tremendous love for the small animal, despite her frequent and seemingly bipolar biting and hissing.

The extra ears grew just in front of each traditional one, and about 1/4th the size. To the oblivion of both the cat and the family, Kitty’s extra ears allowed her not to hear better, but to be able to take in the emotions of the beings around her and experience them as her own. Spanning a radius of about twenty feet, the cat will take in the emotions of all living creatures around her and the strongest emotions will be the ones she feels the most. For example, if she is around four people and three of them are scared but one of them is ferociously angry, Kitty will feel that same anger, crept in with some intense fear.

Jake was twenty-three years old and was the last of four children to still live at home. Whenever his family members would attempt to interact with the four-eared cat, sure enough, it would hiss and attempt to bite them. This was the process with Jake as well but he continued to love/trust the cat and after some time, Kitty began to love/trust him. As a matter of fact, during her entire lifetime, Jake was the only human that Kitty loved and trusted.

Moving out of the nest and flying away was difficult for Jake, as he was babied most of his life and challenges were taken care of for him. Then, all of a sudden one day he woke up an adult with no skills of navigating the modern world. His parents did feel guilty for enabling him too much, and as a result, would still offer him any support they possibly could. Jake was an alcoholic though, and he and his parents knew it.

He knew it was true because it had landed him in jail, destroyed friendships and on many occasions nearly took his life. It appeared he hadn’t yet reached his bottom in life because drinking was still something he actively did on a regular basis and he did it to excess. His parents were facing a challenging situation because they didn’t want to throw him back out on the streets where it seemed he would certainly end up dead but they also did not want to tolerate this blatantly self-destructive behavior.

Following an Olympic-style liquor-drinking session, Jake stumbled into his parents’ room and found his beautiful cat resting on the bed, looking stunning. His parents were out of town and he was merely doing some pre-game self-chilling, waiting a couple of minutes before his friends would come over to start the party. He began to pet his cat graciously and Kitty began feeling extremely happy, though not drunk as you may suspect. Kitty felt the love that Jake was emitting and felt safe from the cold world she found herself constantly needing to defend herself from. It was a happy moment for them because even though he was wasted, Jake truly and wholeheartedly loves his little Kitty.

He ensured that the bowl of cat food and water were moved into the room, and then closed and locked his parent’s bedroom door as he heard the doorbell ring out just in time. He greeted about seven of his friends, all feeling just as excited as he was for another epic night at his parents’ house.

For everyone except for Jake, the party was a success and even Jake himself would admit that most of the night was extremely fun. But it wasn’t until Megan decided to just leave with her friends to go to a better party that things began taking an emotional turn for Jake. He ended up saying some things he wished he hadn’t, and grabbing Megan’s arm when she was about to leave was a huge mistake and yet another sign that his drinking is turning him into a person he doesn’t like. The party ended prematurely for him, as people left too early and the few guys who stayed over just passed out. It was actually around 4 in the morning when the get-together eventually died but Jake wanted more and more and was disappointed at his lame, exhausted friends.

The nights of emotional torture, codependency to Megan and binge-drinking continued to thrive in Jake’s life. He was experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, but deep down he just wanted to change everything- his life, his environment, his friends, his everything. He wanted to end the chaos that was his decision-making while drinking. Every night starts out in complete bliss and euphoria, and always ends up in misery, self-hatred, and Hell.

A few weeks later, Jake returns home from a friend’s after a night of usual drinking and as he usually does when he first gets home, he finds his cat to pet her and to take in her love in order to feel a vivid burst of life. However, she is nowhere to be found and Jake’s parents dreadfully explain to their son that have not seen little Kitty all day. Days go by, and then weeks and then months. Every time Jake finds himself thinking about where she is and the mystery of whether or not she is okay, he quickly avoids the pain of those thoughts and begins drinking the thoughts away. It becomes clear- Kitty has run away.

He puts up signs and patrols the neighborhood in a desperate hope to find his lost companion. Friends and family assure they are on the lookout and are posting away on social media so this cat can be found. I mean, how could people miss it?

After speaking with his therapist, Jake realizes he needs to process the feelings that he has been numbing because when left untreated, they will only grow inside him. He cannot expect his negative feelings to simply dissipate; mental effort and work will have to be asserted in order to achieve results. He is advised to write in his journal his every feeling about his cat- from his love to what he thinks happened to her. Nothing should be ignored because they are feelings within him.

As he is finishing up the journal entry, he is in tears but is happy at the joy the animal was able to bring to him in the last year or so. He begins rereading the words when he hears a faint cry coming from his garage, which he knows was left open. At first, he thought he was just hearing noises, but Jake had to know just where this noise was coming from.

He twisted the doorknob, pulled it open and to his absolute shock saw his beloved little four-eared cat stumbling toward him, meowing and purring loudly. Jake ran toward her and picked her up to give her a huge hug, and he noticed immediately her apparent loss of weight. She must’ve lost twenty pounds! Jake brought the loved animal inside the home and quickly and erratically fixed a bowl of food as if his life depended on it. The cat feasted calmly and was delighted to be home.

Jake had come to the realization that his pain and suffering were merely too much for his cat to handle and that he needs to grow up- if anything for the cat. When stressful times came, Jake checks himself and controls his urge to lash out in an attempt to keep Kitty happy just where she’s at. He called up an old friend who had gotten sober several years back, and told him he wanted to quit drinking but didn’t know how.

Jake and the four-eared cat lived on and provided each other with love, motivation, and strength to continue on in this beautiful conquest called life.


What a beautiful story!

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