It had started with the flowers. They were nice flowers – a dozen long-stemmed roses in a hand-cut Lalique crystal vase – sitting on the hallway table near the front door. Cali had wanted to sniff them, so she had bounced up on the table and was nosing the vase when she saw “The Bee.” As far as bees went, this one was an impressive specimen with a huge rounded abdomen and a stinger that could rival a vet’s needle. Cali, of course, freaked out, turned, and in the process of jumping down, knocked the vase off the table with her tail. To prevent it from shattering, Anna had tried to get underneath it, breaking its fall and getting soaked in the process. Of course, that was exactly when Mistress arrived – with Cali hiding under the table, the bee flying around the vase, and Anna covered in water and rose petals on the floor beside it. Guess which little kitty got a swat on her tender rump?
Well, it was a mostly harmless accident and Cali hadn’t meant to be frightened by the bee. If it had ended there, all would have been forgotten, but it hadn’t ended. As they were searching for the perfect sunbeam to nap under, Nita had discovered the most amazing blanket on which to curl up. Well, nobody could have called Nita the brightest kitten in the basket, so it wasn’t a surprise that “The Blanket” was in fact Mistress’ new coat. Right away, Anna could see the eventual consequences (fur + new coat = unhappy Mistress), so she gave Nita a good butt with her head to shove her along and off of the coat. How was she supposed to know that Nita had an upset tummy? How could she have predicted that a little sisterly head butt would cause Nita to whork up the *biggest* hairball in catdom? There it was, 4 inches of compacted fur, soaked in drool and stomach guck, perched serenely on the lapel of an alpaca wool coat.
Well, there was no way to remove the offending hairball so the only thing to do was to get out of the area as fast as possible so as to not draw attention to the mess. She had just finished getting Nita moving along and was having a last look at the hairball to see if she could drag a sleeve over it to possibly hide it, when, of course, guess who comes in? Well, Mistress wasn’t any too happy about needing to take her new coat to the drycleaners, and being the one in closest proximity to the offending hairball, she was the one to get yet another swat on the rump.
Anna loved her sisters, she really did, but getting swatted twice and incurring Mistress’ wrath on their behalf was pushing the limits of sisterly love. It certainly didn’t help when Mistress, as she was passing by a few hours later, gave Nita and Cali some super loving ear-rubs, while sternly saying to Anna, “No ear rubbies for bad kitties like Anna.” And, being the little brat that she was, Cali softly mewed in agreement, “Mmmmmm, I’m glad I’m not bad like my big sis. I’m such a good little kitty and I’m going to have fresh sushi for din dins while Anna will get dog food and vegetables!” Anna could only glare at her sister, unable to form a suitable response.
When Mistress finished her pats, Nita turned to Cali, “Come on sis, lets go outside and have some fun. We don’t want Mistress to see us with EvilAnna.” Glad to be rid of the two trouble-makers, Anna curled up on the window sill and watched her two sisters emerge into the yard through the cat flap in the kitchen door. She put her chin on her front paws and watched as they sniffed the plants, dug up a few of the new seedlings in the garden, and chased some moths trying to chomp on them as they landed on some leaves. All in all, her sisters were playing happily as kitties were meant to.
She had just started to doze off when a realization hit Anna. Moths? Her eyes opened to their fullest as she stared out the window to see Cali taking trying to lick the moth she had swatted as it landed on the lilies. Those were the plants Mistress had said to stay away from! Lilies were toxic and if Cali ingested some, it could kill her! Without thinking, Anna launched herself across to the couch, knocking knick-knacks askew. Letting out an endless howl, she bounded over the table, into the hall, and felt her claws sliding across the slick linoleum as she turned the corner into the kitchen. On the floor now, Anna was able to run at full speed for the cat flap. It was going to sting when she hit it, but the though hadn’t even crossed her mind.
At her desk, Mistress heard Anna’s howl, and realized that something was wrong. Her cats never made that much noise when playing chase. These were the sounds of fear. As she looked up at the office door, she saw a streak of black fur flying by on its way to the kitchen.
Anna never even noticed the sharp smack of the cat flap as her head knocked it aside on her way through. She was out in the yard, on the grass where her paws could find solid footing. In a dozen bounds she was across the yard where she pounced her little sister, knocking her to the ground and causing her to gasp. With Cali on the ground, Anna drove her forehead into her little sister’s tummy, hoping it would have the same effect as it had earlier on Nita. Anna could see shredded chunks of moth and lily leaves in Cali’s mouth and knew she had to stop her little sis from swallowing the poison. As Cali spit out her mouthful of moth snacks, Anna heard the thump of the door behind her. Mistress was coming out to investigate.
“Annabelle! Get off of Caliope! Stop that, right now!” Anna ignored Mistress’ command and continued to butt against Cali, trying to make her spit up as much of the poison as she could, before it was too late. Even a few mouthfuls of some plants could kill a little kitten like Cali. When Mistress arrived, she grabbed Anna by the scruff of the neck and lifted her up. “Bad girl! What’s gotten into you today?” Anna felt the firm swat of Mistress’ hand on her, butt for the third time that day. But, when Mistress put her down, she didn’t slink off in embarrassment. Instead, she went straight to her glassy eyed sis and began to sniff her mouth, trying to show Mistress what the problem was. Mistress looked down at them, enlightenment dawning on her face. “Oh my god, Caliope, have you been eating the lilies?” Mistress’ hands picked up her sis and the two were off into the house. When it was clear that they weren’t coming back out Anna went to find her other sister Nita. After convincing her to go in, the two of them found Cali in her basket in the house.
“Oh sis. Mistress made me eat this awful stuff, and then I threw up, and my mouth and nose were burning. Now my nose is running, and my eyes hurt, and my tummy feels yucky.”
Anna curled up behind her sister, snuggling her protectively, as Nita lay down and sandwiched their littlest sibling between them. “Oh Cali. I’m so sorry I had to do that to you. Those are poisonous plants. You couldn’t taste them because your mouth had been numbed by the moths you were eating, but if you hadn’t stopped, they would have killed you.”
Cali snuggled up between her sisters. “I’m sorry about the vase earlier and about you getting swatted again in the garden for trying to help me.”
Anna would take a thousand swats from Mistress if it saved her little sister’s life. Nothing was more important to her than Cali and Nita. “Don’t worry sis, you’re safe and that’s all that matters. Now get some sleep. You’ll feel better after a nap.” As the three sisters dozed off in the warmth of the afternoon, curled up in a bundle in Cali’s oversized basket, Anna got in the last word, “Sleep well little sisters, I love you both more than anything in the world.”