ᐅᒋᐺ Ojibwe [ English ]

The lost cat
Written by Noah Johnson

I can al­ready tell that this lady who has ar­rived in the eve­ning with a rot­ten fish for me will be noth­ing but trou­ble. I like the smell of the fish be­cause I am a dog. I do not trust the lady be­cause she talks too much. I can not under­stand her words, but I do under­stand an ad­vance pay­ment of food. I swal­low the fish and fol­low the lady.

She wants me to find her cat. The door was open and the cat left, she tells me. I en­ter her house. It smells like soap in­side. I hate soap, so I leave quick­ly. Out­side the house, there is a lot of mud. I love mud, so I roll around un­til I am dirty. I feel good.

Sudden­ly, I am run­ning. I sniff­ed a tree that smell­ed of fox. That fox was here, and he must have chased the cat off in­to the woods. I fol­low his trail. I will find the cat when I find the fox. This is fun. I like chas­ing foxes around.

I am all alone here in the quiet woods. There was a storm in the after­noon. The ani­mals must still be all hid­den away. I do not find the fox, and I do not find the cat. Soon, it is mid­night. I stop for a mo­ment to mark a tree. Sit­ting on a branch, a squir­rel laughs at me un­til I flash my teeth at him. He chat­ters loud­ly as he runs off. I hope that I will soon have the great plea­sure of in­tro­duc­ing him – to my stom­ach.

“Where on earth is that cat?” I keep ask­ing my­self as I walk around through the dark woods. “How did she van­ish with­out a trace? What did the fox do?”

I am an­noyed. I feel sick, per­haps be­cause of the rot­ten fish in my bel­ly. I have a tough job. I should rest.

I go to the riv­er to cool off. Float­ing in the water, I see the moon re­flect­ing from the sur­face of the riv­er. When I stand still, I can see its re­flec­tion clear­ly. If I move around, the waves cause the re­flec­tion to dis­solve, and then I can no lon­ger see the moon in the riv­er. It is only when I stand still that I can see it.

Sudden­ly, I know where the cat is. I run back to the house. My fur is still drip­ping wet when I ar­rive. The lady is out­side, look­ing for her cat. I bark at her to get her at­ten­tion.

“We were think­ing about this the wrong way,” I say. She does not under­stand my lan­guage, so I talk with­out in­ter­rup­tion. “I was think­ing like a dog, but we are look­ing for a cat. In or­der to find a cat, we must think like cats.”

The lady fol­lows me in­to the house. It still smells like soap in­side. I sneeze.

“There were storms and it was rain­ing. Now it is mud­dy out­side. I like the mud, but the cat does not.”

We en­ter the kitch­en. Clean clothes are piled up neat­ly. I sneeze again – I hate soap.

“The cat likes to stay dry. When the rain comes, she must be in the house to avoid get­ting wet.”

I wait un­til I have the lady’s at­ten­tion. Then, I go to the pile of clean clothes.

“There­fore, the cat nev­er left be­cause she hates all the mud out­side. She was here in­side the house the whole time.”

I lift the clothes, and there is the cat, ly­ing on a fold­ed blan­ket. That old cat just smiles at us.

Now the lady is hap­py. Busy talk­ing to the cat, the lady no lon­ger pays at­ten­tion to me. I steal a fresh fish be­fore leav­ing. It will taste good. My job is not that bad some­times.

The End

Milwaukee, December 2019