The soft fur snuggled against her cheek assured Isadora that last night hadn’t been a dream. She tightened her arms around the warm ball of fur. The kitty wiggled to get out of her grasp, so she let go, slightly disappointed. Once out of her hold, he stretched and leapt to the floor. As he pranced over to the door and batted it open, she felt panic overcome her.
“Wait, kitty, where are you going?” Her bottom lip started trembling. She swallowed to try and hold back the tears but a droplet of hot liquid trailed down her cheek. “Please don’t go. I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”
A light weight settled on her lap and warm fur rubbed on her jaw. “Meow?”
She reached out to wrap her arms around him, but he jumped back to the ground. This time he paused and looked over his shoulder at her. He jerked his head towards the doorway. When she put on her slippers, he walked back out the door and waited for her to follow. He led her down the stairs and to the door leading to the porch.
Once he reached the door, he stretched his front paws towards the doorknob. Isadora unlocked the deadbolt and opened the backdoor. The kitty rushed forward and towards a bunch of bushes. She watched in confusion until understanding dawned on her. Heat flooded her cheeks as she turned her eyes to the ground. Before long, the kitty walked into her line of sight, sat down and looked up at her.
“Meow?” He rubbed against her legs, purring. She reached down to pick him up and this time he let her.
After she carried him into the house, she shut and locked the door. Her dad would be angry if he found out she left the door unlocked while he was still in bed. He always said something about safety, but she was sure that kitty would hurt anyone who walked in the door.
“So kitty, we need to find you a name.” She walked over to the cupboard and pulled out two bowls and a plate. “What should I name you? Smoky?”
The kitty shook his head as he followed her over to the table. She placed one of the bowls and a plate in front of a chair and the other bowl next to it.
“Not Smoky. Shadow?” Again he shook his head as she went to the pantry. “Well, kitty, we need to feed you. What do you want?”
He looked up at the food and placed his paws on the bottom shelf to point his nose at a pouch of tuna. Smart kitty. She couldn’t wait to tell her best friend, Samantha, about him. Sam’s cat was so stupid that she didn’t even know that the red dot on the wall came from them. Isadora shook her head like her daddy did whenever something annoyed him and grabbed the tuna. Once over at the table, she put the tuna on the little plate.
“Now what do you want to drink? Mommy doesn’t let us keep cow’s milk in the house. Daddy hates that, so he got goat’s milk. Mommy makes me drink soy milk. It’s nasty. I bet Daddy would let you have some of his goat’s milk.”
Isadora opened the fridge and got the goat’s milk, but before the door shut, the kitty got in the way.
“What’s wrong, kitty?”
“Meow.” The kitty lifted one of his paws and pointed at something in the fridge. Mayo, why would the kitty want mayo? Ohh! To put on his tuna! That’s what Daddy always did when he made tuna sandwiches.
Isadora filled the bowl with goat’s milk before she walked over to the fridge and got on the tips of her toes to get the mayo. She grabbed a fork to stir in the mayo and a spoon for her cereal. When she turned around, kitty was already sitting on his chair, but the chair was too short for him.
After she put everything down, she looked around until she spotted old phone books. She pulled out his chair and put a couple of the phone books on it. This time when he sat on the seat, he could reach the table just fine. She mixed in the mayo with his tuna and put everything away before grabbing what she needed for her cereal.
When she turned around, kitty was watching her over his shoulder and waiting. She got her bowl ready, and he kept waiting for her. What a little gentleman her kitty was. She smiled at him and stroked his head.
“What about Inky?” This earned her a disgusted look. “Blacky?”
He turned his head to look at his food and licked his lips. She took her seat and ate while trying to think of names. What could she name him? Did he already have a name? Was he really a familiar like her mom said?
“How about I list letters and you tell me what letter you like?” He nodded before he went back to licking the tuna.
“A?” He kept eating, so she listed letters until he nodded when she said, “S?”
“So you want a name that starts with S? Shadow starts with an S!”
He shook his head and she slumped her shoulders. Was naming your cat always this hard? His front two paws landed on her lap before he rubbed his head against her shoulder. She smiled and stroked his back.
“Should I guess the second letter, too?”
“Meow.” He sat back on the phone books and stared at her.
“A?” And so the questioning began again and stopped when she reached “E?”
“S, E? What names start with an S,E? Seth!” Pride filled her until she saw him shake his head again. “Sean?”
The kitty laid down on the phonebooks and twitched his tail. Maybe she could get him to spell the name for her. She ran and got a piece of paper and wrote the letters S and E on it. Now all she had to do was fill in the rest of the letters. The guessing game continued until the letters spelled Sebastian. How did she pronounce that?
“See-bast-ian?” She cocked her head to the side. The kitty meowed and jumped on her lap.
“Why is a bowl of my milk at the table with some of my tuna?” Her dad’s angry voice filled the room. She could tell even if he tried to hide the tone.
“See-bast-ian got hungry.” She petted Sebastian while batting her eyelashes up at her dad and smiling. That always worked when her mom did it.
“You named the cat Sebastian?” Her dad rolled his eyes. “How do you even know it’s a boy? Did you check?”
“I didn’t need to check. And he told me the name.” She turned her head away from her dad and huffed.
“Is the cat… talking to you?”
“How would a cat talk to me? He’s a cat!” She gave her dad a disapproving look.
“Honey, how did you name him?”
“I asked letters and he told me if they were right.” She held up the piece of paper with the name on it. “See, it’s right there.”
“This isn’t normal.” Her dad backed away. “Honey, put the cat down, now.”
“No, he’s my familiar.” Her tiny arms wrapped around Sebastian.
“Oh sweetie, you two have bonded! How wonderful is that?” Her mom walked forward and stroked his head. Sebastian looked up at her and ducked closer to Isadora’s chest.
“Love, he spelled out a name to her. I dunno what he is, but he needs to go.”
“No!” Both her mom and she screamed at the same time.
“Fine, then we need a litter box and actual cat food.” Sebastian hissed at that comment.
“He doesn’t want those things. He likes tuna.” Isadora crossed her arms over her chest.
“Yeah, dear, we aren’t giving a familiar regular old cat food. They’re too special for that.” Her mom glared at her dad. “We’ll give him whatever he wants.”
“I can’t win, can I?” Her dad threw his arms up in the air and stormed off.
“Now sweetie, what did you name him?”
“See-bast-ian.” Isadora smiled up at her mom.
“Well, Sebastian, welcome to the family.”
At those words, Sebastian purred loudly and both Isadora and her mother giggled. Isadora hugged him to her. Even if he didn’t act like any cat she had ever met, she still loved him and would take care of him.
YOU ARE READING
When a black cat shows up on her back porch in the pouring rain, a young Isadora knows she has a new best friend. Something about him feels off, though. For instance, he refuses to answer to anything other than Sebastian and is better at math than s...