It was a warm spring day outside the Hervey Cats Foundation, and Gary and Morris were sitting on the back deck, grooming and feeling the warmth of the morning sun. They’d only been awake a short while despite the rest of the foundation having been hustling and bustling for hours already – the humans, that is.
Last night, the cats of the foundation all played another round of late-night hide-and-go-seek tag. They were running, hiding, and stomping all over the place – having an absolute blast. As a result, most of the cats on the property had all slept in today.
Marjorie came outside with a late lunch for Gary and Morris. She seemed tired – likely from all the noise keeping her awake last night.
“You were some very loud kitties last night! It almost sounded like you were playing a game!”
Gary and Morris smiled back at her and squiggled around on the ground.
“You’re lucky you are so cute!” she said, as she placed their lunch down next to them.
Both cats got up and immediately started to chow down on their meals. Marjorie gently felt the fur on their backs as they got up to eat.
“Enjoy! It’s a busy day today at the foundation, so I will catch up with you later!”
Both cats finished eating while they were purring away, which made for some strange noises, at times, when they opened their mouths to chew.
“What should we do today?” said Morris.
“I was hoping to head out to visit Bullwinkle!” said Gary. “He said he had a lead on some cardboard boxes that are apparently really exciting.”
The two cats did what all cats do after eating a meal, and that’s groom themselves entirely one more time. Once they finished up, they decided to head over to Bullwinkle’s cabin.
It was a bit of a journey, but there was still plenty of time left in the day. They both grabbed one last drink of water and headed out.
“Let’s hit the trail!” said Gary.
“Onward!” said Morris.
The cats raced across the backyard and into the tall grass trailing the edge of the property, then down into the valley. They were feeling particularly athletic, running full tilt with the sun beating down on their backs… that was until it seemed like the sun started to disappear.
“Where’d the sun go?” said Gary.
“It was so bright and warm just a minute ago!” said Morris.
“Those clouds are looking a bit scary too,” said Gary.
To the West, there were a bunch of dark stormy clouds starting to gather, though there wasn’t any wind, and they didn’t seem to be moving quickly.
“Should we be worried about that?” said Morris.
“I am not too sure, but let’s head over to Bullwinkle’s as quickly as possible,” said Gary.
They kept at it, jumping from ground, to log, to rock, moving quickly while keeping an eye on the sky.
By the time they got to Bullwinkle’s door, the wind was starting to blow a little harder, bending some of the branches on the trees that framed his cabin.
“Come inside!” he beckoned from the door.
“Hi Bullwinkle!” said Gary.
“How’s it going?” said Morris.
Bullwinkle was happy to see the cats. He had been napping and woke up only about 15 minutes before they arrived.
“It’s good to see you both! Can I offer you some water?” said Bullwinkle.
“That would be great,” said Morris.
“I wasn’t sure if I would see you guys today!” said Bullwinkle. “I’m glad you made it!
“Why is that?” said Gary.
“Because it’s going to rain! I can feel it in my bones,” said Bullwinkle.
“Really?” said Morris.
“Yessir,” said Bullwinkle. “As I get older, I can feel it more and more.”
With confused looks on their faces, both cats looked at each other, then back at Bullwinkle.
“It’s hard to explain, but you might also have the same feeling one day!”
“We heard you have some really great cardboard boxes!” said Gary.
“I definitely do!” said Bullwinkle. “They are unfortunately not here though. I need your help to get them back to my cabin.”
“We’re down!” said Morris.
“Yeah,” said Gary. “Where do we need to go?”
“I found a whole bunch behind one of the businesses nearby,” said Bullwinkle. “But with these clumsy hooves of mine, I can’t place any on my horns beyond whatever I can get by scooping upwards with my head.”
“So, you need us to place boxes on your horns so we can get them back home?” said Gary.
“Right!” said Bullwinkle. “Let’s do it!”
Gary and Morris jumped onto Bullwinkle’s back and the three headed for the door. Once they opened it up, a big rush of air blew into the cabin.
“Looks like the wind is picking up,” said Bullwinkle.
“I don’t like the look of those clouds either,” said Morris.
The dark clouds from earlier had now completely overtaken the sky and there was only a bit of sunlight able to pour through.
“Let’s be quick then!” said Gary.
Bullwinkle then trotted outside and hit the trail with some speed!
It only took them about 15 minutes of walking to get to their destination, and Bullwinkle was right! There were boxes everywhere of all sizes! Some were even so big the cats could have lived inside them!
The business was a plumbing shop, and the boxes were from old parts; everything from hot water tanks to faucets.
Gary, Morris, and Bullwinkle had a blast playing in the boxes. Bullwinkle even backed himself into a hot water tank box and wore it like a coat! Can you imagine the sight of a full-grown moose wearing a hot water tank box?
The animals were having such a good time they were losing track of how long they were playing, and the wind had picked up to such a point that boxes were now starting to slide around on the ground.
“Maybe we should try and get some boxes onto your head, Bullwinkle. Looks like we might start losing daylight soon,” said Gary.
Just then, they felt gentle water droplets hit their fur.
“Oh shoot! It’s starting to rain!” said Morris.
“Quick!” said Bullwinkle. “Cover my horns in boxes and let’s get back to my place.”
The cats each grabbed some smaller boxes with their teeth and ran up the side of Bullwinkle and threw the boxes where they could. They had piled a number of them on Bullwinkle’s horns when a good gust of wind blew about half of them off.
“This might not work the way we were hoping,” said Gary. “The wind is making it really hard.”
The rain started to fall even harder!
“Guys, I think it might be worth trying to get back to my place as soon as possible,” said Bullwinkle.
The cats both agreed and hopped on top of Bullwinkle’s back, hanging onto a box they could both fit under to stay dry.
The three animals were slowly making their way back to Bullwinkle’s cabin in the wet mud. It was taking longer than usual as his hooves would touch the wet ground and sink deeper into the loose mud.
Suddenly the sky lit up with a big bolt of lightning, followed by a huge clap of thunder! Conditions were getting worse.
“It’s really coming down,” said Gary.
“This is the worst I’ve seen it in a long time!” said Morris.
Just then, they were able to see Bullwinkle’s cabin. The slog back had taken them almost twice as long as it had taken to get there in the first place.
Once they got to the door, they flung it open and all three animals, soaking wet, lay down on the floor and warmed up.
“This is the worst rain I’ve seen in ages!” said Bullwinkle. “I told you I could feel it in my bones!”
“You weren’t kidding,” said Gary. “But we need to get back home. I think we need to get going before things get too bad.”
“I agree,” said Bullwinkle. “Thanks for coming to visit you two! I had a blast. If the boxes are still there after the rain, let’s try to bring them back here one more time.”
“Let’s do it!” said Morris.
The moose and both cats said their goodbyes and Gary and Morris trotted out the front door.
The rain had not let up at all, in fact, it was starting to pool along the trail, and in some spots, little lakes were forming. It was also getting very dark outside.
“I’m getting a little nervous,” said Gary. “We’re just barely making it past these little lakes of rainwater and we still have to go further down into the valley before the trail gets back to the foundation.”
“I hear you,” said Morris. “But maybe the rain will let up a bit by the time we get to that part of the trail?”
“We will see. I am very tired of being wet,” said Gary. “I do not like being wet.”
They kept along the trail for a bit more and suddenly it started to hail.
“Oh no! Hail! Let’s get underneath this big pine tree!” said Morris.
The two took shelter under the tree, but there was a river of rainwater flowing past their feet, so they climbed a few of the branches.
“This isn’t so bad,” said Gary.
“Well, it’s not good,” said Morris, with a laugh. “We are wet, stuck in a tree, and the water below seems to only be getting higher.”
“Well, we can still climb up the tree if we need to, but I hear you. I don’t want to be here either,” said Gary.
“Let’s try to get comfortable. We might be here a while,” said Morris, with a panic. “We might be stuck here forever!”
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” said Gary. “We’re going to be fine,”
The hail had stopped, but the rain was still falling just as hard as it had been before, the thunder was just as loud as it had been, and the water on the ground under their tree was completely covered in running water.
“We can’t jump back down!” said Morris. “We are stuck!”
“It’s okay, buddy!” said Gary. “We are going to be fine! We just have to hang in here for a while!”
“I don’t want to spend the night in a tree! I am used to being pampered, and pet, and given delicious wet food!”
The two curled up in the tree to keep warm and then tried to doze off to kill some time.
Suddenly they were awoken by the sound of a tree snapping in half, and long, heavy antlers snapping twigs and ripping leaves.
“GARY! MORRIS! WHERE ARE YOU?”
It was Bullwinkle! He was wading through the water calling for the cats. His tall legs made him into a sort of living island, floating above all the water!
Gary and Morris both started meowing loudly and hollering toward Bullwinkle.
“We’re right here!” said Gary.
Bullwinkle’s big face then parted the pine needle branches and a big warm breath of air came out of his nose.
“Climb aboard boys, I’ll get you home!” he said.
The cats crawled over Bullwinkle’s head and onto his back.
“Thank you so much, Bullwinkle. We were worried we’d have to spend the night in that tree!” said Morris.
“No problem fellas. I was worried about you walking home in this weather. I felt like something bad might have happened. I could feel it in my bones!”
“I guess we will know what you mean one day,” said Gary.
“Haha. Maybe,” said Bullwinkle.
As the three animals made their way through the deep water of the valley, they had no way to keep themselves dry and ended up absolutely soaking wet. Once at the Herveycats Foundation property line, Bullwinkle knelt down and let the cats jump off his back and onto the wet grass.
“Thank you so much Bullwinkle,” said Gary.
“You saved us!” said Morris. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“You can pay me back by helping me move some boxes next week!”
“It’s a deal!” said Gary and Morris at the same time.
The cats then took off across the backyard and onto the porch where Marjorie was standing by the door, watching as Bullwinkle shuffled off into the darkness.
“I was so worried about you boys! Are you okay? Is that your moose friend again? You two never cease to amaze me,” she said.
Gary and Morris brushed up against her legs, grabbed themselves a late dinner, then fell asleep by their favourite window – warm, dry, and feeling safe.