Hmmm, it all began about four years ago when I was just a little puss-in-boots. My ragged, feral mom had given birth to nine of us, but since I couldn’t count, it could have been more. We lived in a field near a hotel in Coalinga. I was a cute runt, not as aggressive as my sibs in getting milk, but mom taught us early on, how to swat flies out of mid-air, wrestle toads and dumpster dive. Being the smartest and cutest of the litter, I noticed right away the oohs and ahhs I would get when people saw me running from bush to bush. They would throw me tidbits of muffins, chips or bacon and I would venture out and strut my stuff. One day a couple of ladies came to stay for the night, and they left their room door open so I could come in. I wandered around sniffing and rubbing and was enjoying exploring the digs when one of them reached down to pet me! No way, José, if mom taught me anything it was don’t let them get too close. I split fast! Well, next morning I see them loading up their car to drive off and I began thinking about my next meal. A little time elapsed and the same ladies came back. Instead of calling out ‘Kitty’ ‘Kitty’ ‘Kitty’ like everyone usually does, they were calling out ‘Coal’ ‘Coal’. Somehow, because I was so smart, I figured they meant me, so I came out of my hiding spot. They had a cardboard box and were shaking a container of kibble. I was suspicious, but non-the-less very hungry so I followed the little trail of food all the way to the box where a heaping pile was waiting. I jumped in, was purring like I’ve never purred before, when the lid folded shut. Excuse me! I shot around the inside of the box flipping it in all directions. I noticed that I could squeeze through the slits on the lid, but these ladies out-smarted me. I heard duct tape being pulled off a roll and sealing me in. Talk about one pissed kitty! They cut a few quarter-sized holes in the sides, and I settled down just long enough to finish the kibble in the box. Now with a full belly, I plotted my escape. I started chewing one of those holes until I was able to poke my head through, and one of the ladies thought it was just so cute and adorable…. little did they know how persistent I was. Once I got the hole big enough, I Houdinied myself out of the opening, and flew around the car digging in my claws looking for a way out. They were screaming, which got me screaming and they pulled the car over. One of them grabbed me by the scruff of the neck where mom used to, and into the box I was thrown, the openings were sealed shut, and I finally gave in and slept for the next few hours. When I saw daylight again, it was from a cozy crate where I stayed for a few weeks. I met Louie, an orange tabby, and Keena, a noisy bird. I got my first bath and actually enjoyed it. To this day I’m still very cute and cleaver. I’ve learned to sneak into people’s homes and garages and steal their laundry and toys. It’s the Tao of thieving; I really don’t want the stuff when I get it back home. I blame it on my early childhood of deprivation… anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!.... C.