LORNAY SAT HIGH IN A tree, looking around cautiously. That dog had come too close! She licked her paw reflectively. That was the second time she'd had to take refuge in only a couple of days. Gradually her fluffed tail regained its normal size, her fur lay down against her sleek body, and her whiskers stopped trembling in anger.
After a while the dog lost interest and left. Lornay stayed in the tree. This business of living on her own was tough; yesterday a tom was giving her unwanted attentions. It was all she could do to convince him she wasn't interested.
She felt safer up here. She cleaned her whole body; she prided herself on her good looks. Lornay was a lion-colored tawny; she kept her long fur scrupulously clean and was the most feminine of cats. When she was relaxed she sat with her little paws crossed, her fluffy tail wrapped around her body. She had very expressive ears, which depicted her every mood to those who could read them, and her nose often twitched with curiosity.
Lornay had another reason to be in this tree. She'd decided she no longer wanted to be on her own. She was looking for someone to take her in, but it had to be the right person. Watching people walking by, she studied each of them in turn. She sat lower in the tree so she was able to get a good look at each person. So far no one seemed special to her, none of them appealed to her. So she remained observing for a long time.
A young man walked by, and Lornay watched him with interest, as he was the first person who she seriously considered. He was carrying a number of books and seemed lost in his own thoughts, causing him to collide with another person. His books scattered, while the other person dropped a package. Lornay's person apologized and picked up the other's package before he went to retrieve his own books. The other person hurried on, without lending a hand to the man.
Her young man didn't seem out of sorts by the accident. Good naturedly he picked up his things and rambled on. Lornay made up her mind, she was going to follow this man and see where he went. Quickly climbing down from her tree, she followed him, keeping close to the buildings and out of the way of others' feet as much as she could.
He traveled a long way. By the time he turned into a doorway there were very few people still walking along. Now was the time. Lornay rubbed on the man's legs, giving her most appealing mrow. He looked down in surprise.
"Hello pretty cat. You looking for a home? Well, come along; I could use some company."
He opened his door, holding it for Lornay to follow. She went in, head held high and her tail in the air. She walked jauntily to show her style, but she was worried. She hoped this time that she had showed good judgment!
She'd tried finding a home twice before. The first time she left screaming and spitting: youngsters had tormented her for weeks, finally tried to tie a can to her tail. She managed to get away before they succeeded.
Lornay waited several weeks before she tried again. This time she ended up with an old woman who pet her constantly and talked baby talk to her. The house was dirty and it smelled bad. The food she was given was mostly spoiled. It seemed like the woman never went outside; it took all the cat's ingenuity to escape.
She decided at that point she'd live on her own. But this near to people food was scarce. Lornay disdained raiding garbage cans like some cats. She caught mice and birds when she could, grasshoppers when she saw them, and often went hungry. Then she had the encounters with the dog and the tomcat. That made her decide to try again to find a good home.
The man put down his books and bent to pet Lornay. "Are you hungry? I don't have much; would you like some milk?"
Lornay tried to make her meeroww sound hungry. He poured some milk in a saucer and set it on the floor. Milk! How utterly luxurious! She finished it quickly.
"I don't have any special food for cats, but you're welcome to share my meal."
He started to prepare dinner. Lornay watched. She had never seen anyone cook before, and the food smelled delicious.
"You probably don't understand me, but it'll be nice to talk to you. My name's Chandor, I'm a student at the University." He looked at her and smiled. "I don't suppose you could tell me your name?"
Lornay made a quick decision. This man Chandor was going to be all right. "Looornaay, mrow!"
Chandor stopped what he was doing and looked at the cat. "I could swear you said your name was Lornay! Anyway, that's what I'll call you." He finished cooking, put the contents into a plate and carried it to the next room. He also carried an extra plate. He then took a couple of spoonfuls of his dinner and put it in the empty plate, placed it on the floor next to his chair.
"There you are Lornay. Hope you like it."
She enjoyed the meal, eating alongside Chandor. While he finished eating, Lornay cleaned herself thoroughly. She noticed he was watching her.
When Chandor was through with his meal, he picked up her empty plate and took the dishes to the kitchen to wash up. Lornay followed him, jumped on the sink to watch. He smiled at her as he carried on with his work.
When Chandor picked up his books and went into his study, Lornay followed. He sat down at the desk, opened a book and began to read, while the cat jumped up on a nearby chair and quietly watched him. He read from the book, made notes on a page. When he got out the next book, he went to his satchel and fished out a page already prepared. He looked at the page, read the book and wrote something down.
Lornay wondered what he was studying. If her relationship with Chandor continued, perhaps she'd jump up and see sometime. Chandor worked for several hours, finally got up and stretched. He was surprised to see Lornay still watching him. He'd figured that she had gone to sleep.
"You're an observant cat, aren't you?" He yawned. "Won't find too much to look at now, I'm about ready to turn in."
He walked to another room and Lornay followed. The bedroom had a nice big bed in it. It looked very comfortable. Chandor started to undress. Lornay began to explore the room, disappeared under the bed. In a little while she saw the bed bend a little as he slid in.
When she later came out from her hiding place, the room was dark, but that was no problem for her. She stretched up to look at the bed. It sure looked soft. She placed one paw at a time onto the bed.
"I suppose you'd like to come up. Well, if we're going to live together I guess you've got just as much right to be up here as I do. Come on up." He patted the bed.
Lornay didn't need a second invitation. She jumped up. Ah, it was soft. She curled up next to Chandor.
He lay his hand on her. "Mmm. Not only are you soft and warm, you have a very nice purr. I foresee a long and happy relationship."
They went to sleep.