Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Becky Cuadra who lived with her parents and brother in Miami. She loved cats dearly, but her allergies prevented her from having any. Because she couldn’t have one, she learned everything she could about them instead. She studied a giant book of cat breeds, wrote stories about cats, and dreamed of having her own feline one day, against all odds.
And to everyone’s surprise, that day came. One fine summer afternoon, a black and white kitten showed up on her doorstep with its paw stuck in a bright red collar. Soft kitten mews called the family to the door. Becky’s father helped the kitten get unstuck. The grateful feline played with them right there on the doorstep.
After no one claimed the lost kitten, Becky begged her parents to keep her furry friend. They said they couldn’t bring her inside because of Becky’s allergies, so they set bowls for the kitten outside, took her to the vet, and did their best to give the kitten a loving home. Becky named her Oreo. Her best friend, Jenny, also had a cat named Oreo–yet another thing they had in common.
Oreo brought Becky joy every day they spent together. Becky would rush outside after school to cuddle and play with her kitten, who soon grew into a cat. Oreo brought the rest of the Cuadra family joy as well. Every time Becky’s mom washed dishes, Oreo would jump up on the windowsill. While Becky’s mom would coo, “Oreo, kitty,” Oreo would rub her head against the glass.
One night, a fox came for a visit and ate some kibble from Oreo’s bowl. The whole Cuadra family watched from the sliding glass patio door. Should they shoo the fox away? Make a loud noise? Call for help?
But no help was needed. Oreo booped the fox on the head with her paw, and it ran back into the trees across the street. The Cuadra family laughed and cheered and retold the story of brave little Oreo to anyone who would listen.
Oreo brought Becky laughter and joy, but also comfort in her greatest sorrow. One day after school, Becky ran out to the patio in tears and cradled Oreo in her lap. Oreo purred and stayed longer than usual, because Becky needed her. That was the day Becky learned her great grandmother had passed away.
Becky and Oreo bonded over several years as they grew together. At one point, Oreo had a little cat boyfriend that would sit in the patio chairs with her. Becky was glad to see her cat fall in love, hoping one day she would, too.
For the rest of the days they had together, Becky would run outside after school to hug her cat–the highlight of her day. Her mom would coo to Oreo through the window while washing dishes. Her brother and father would play with Oreo outside and share a laugh. Oreo was a Cuadra, through and through.
As Becky continued her Saturday morning short story tradition, more and more special felines became characters in her repertoire. Today, Becky brings the Saturday morning tradition back to life.
Next time…we’ll journey through the true story of Fraidy the siamese cat.