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CatPat 02-25-2016 09:39 PM

"The Cats Of Stony River" by Joyce G. Reilly
Joyce gave permission to post of the whole book to our friends here before they put it of Amazon for money.

I have read of this and it is a very sweet story! It is of very smart, speaking cats who use the computers and only belong to certain people who can be trusted of keeping their secrets. The people of the book are friends she knows and also of a small town she knows.

With much love,

CatPat 02-25-2016 09:43 PM

Chapter 1 – Pook, Saav, and Bart

The tiny kitten lay in a sweltering fever, panting, so thirsty but unable to lift her head or even get up to drink from the puddle less than six inches away. She was dying, but she wasn’t afraid or sad. Anything would be better than this miserable, painful existence. She could hardly breathe; her chest felt full of water, as if she were drowning slowly. Cuts, gashes, and bruises burned and stung her whole body as the hard rain pelted the sore places and the harsh wind tugged and snatched at her scruffy fur.

“Come on,” whispered a voice in her ear. She felt fierce licking on her head but was too weak to respond. “Only about ten feet. You got to.”

“You go,” she rasped in a whisper. “Leave me. Just go.”

“I’m not leaving you,” said the other kitten stubbornly, frantically licking at the sick kitten’s face.

“Go,” she said.

“Not without you. C’mon.”

The sick kitten didn’t have time to answer as the world closed in, dark and silent, around her. She didn’t even have the time to say good-bye to her loyal friend.

A half-grown kitten awoke with a frightened start, and for a moment she thought she was again left out in the rain, abandoned, injured and ill, unable to help herself get to the safety of the small cottage that lay ten feet away.

“Saav, you had your bad dream again,” said her friend and sister, Pook. She looked up at the bigger kitten, also half-grown.

Her savior. The kitten who stood by her and yowled up a storm until the human in the house came outside to see what the noise was all about.

“Maybe,” Saav sighed, curling up next to Pook, “maybe someday the dream will go away.”

“When you finally convince yourself you’re really safe,” Pook said gently. “You went through an awful lot, trying to get well. Give it a little more time. More time to eat all you want, more time to sleep in warm places, more time for all the fresh water you can hold, and more time for these good memories we’re building today to take the places of the bad dreams of old yesterdays.”

“More time,” purred Saav sleepily. “Yeah. Just a little more time…”

CatPat 02-25-2016 10:00 PM

Upon rising later that morning in the middle of July, Joyce Becker knew it was going to be another scorching, humid day in the mountains of western North Carolina, and on her way down the hall to the kitchen, Joyce paused at the thermostat and ratcheted the central air conditioning down a couple of degrees. She had two cats and a wolfdog, and she was constantly being reminded that her housemates wore fur coats, even in the summer, and not the kind to be taken off, dry-cleaned, and hung up in the closet wrapped in plastic during the warm months.


The two cats, barely a year old and still kittens, were sentient beings. They talked, read, used computers and telephones, had senses of humor, and definitely had ideas of their own while remaining fairly feline as well. Joyce had no idea where they had come from, but ten months ago, a strange band of feral cats had come through their tiny hometown of Stony River. It had been a strange time for the townspeople as stories and tales of the feral cats singing and telling stories long into the night in the valleys and ridges began to circulate. Most of these stories had come from mountain campers and hikers at first, and then from the vacationers with remote getaway cabins in the mountains. Soon the townspeople became curious and decided to check out these tales, and several hiked the ridges and camped in the valleys, and heard the cats for themselves. A handful of people had seen them, and one got a couple of pictures of a group of cats sitting in a circle high on a ridge west of the town, but no one could tell whether they were singing, talking, or just yowling.

These two lost and hungry kittens had shown up in Joyce’s backyard, having been left behind when the clowder moved on further into the mountains. The grey and white one sat next to a nearly dead little black kitten, squalling, screaming and yowling as loudly as she could. From the first day, they made their speaking talents known out of necessity. Their other talents developed as they were taught how to read and use a computer and a telephone.

They weren't blood sisters, but they were born within a day of each other and had been raised together. The little black one, Saav, was the first to speak to her, delirious in fever, telling Joyce that she didn't feel well, and that she hurt all over. Pook spoke up at that point, figuring that the worst that could happen at this point would be this human possibly killing the kittens out of fear. She asked if Saav could get some help, as she was worried about her, and told the human she had watched as another, older cat in the clowder died painfully after making the same wheezing, rasping sounds Saav was making, and she knew her friend and sister was in trouble. Saav had been the

CatPat 02-25-2016 10:04 PM

one the band had left behind; Pook chose to stay with her and try to help her, and got her to the nearest house.

The only outward sign of alarm was the human’s hands shaking a little as she grabbed them up and tucked them inside her raincoat.

Pook, who had never been touched by a human before, trembled in terror. What have I done? she wondered. Have I killed us?

Joyce took both kittens to the vet immediately and discovered that not only did the scruffy little black kitten have pneumonia, she had wounds all over her from the clowder’s bigger kittens fighting her away from food and water. Pook was severely malnourished, and was put on vitamins and special food along with Saav. With medication and loving care, the frail little Saav recovered, but because of neglect and illness, the vet thought that her growth might have been stunted but otherwise would survive and even thrive. Pook, she felt, would do well and grow normally.

Joyce spent a few days in shock and disbelief with these two talking, sentient kittens, afraid to tell anyone, but she gradually got used to the fact that some cats were very, very different from others. It was such a shock that she took three days’ vacation from work, claiming a family emergency had occurred and she was needed. That excuse wasn’t too far from the truth. She closed herself up in her cottage and didn’t answer the phone or talk to anyone in the outside world. Well-meaning friends and relatives were politely turned away at the door, Joyce claiming stomach flu. That was pretty effective; no one wanted that.

Saav was very ill, and required nearly round-the-clock care. It was so surreal to Joyce that at first that she went through a bottle of wine in the first four days of sentient kitten ownership. It was impossible to fathom. And who would ever believe her? And if this news got out, what if the kittens fell into the wrong hands? She had never told anyone, and cautioned the rambunctious, impetuous and mischievous kittens not to speak to anyone else, for fear that someone might take them and exploit them…or worse. And so the secret remained confined within the walls of the little cottage, keeping the kittens safe.

As the days turned into weeks, Saav got stronger. Pook began improving immediately, but the weaker, sick Saav took quite a bit longer to recover. After almost a month of care, she began to run and play with the others, who were careful to be gentle. Joyce introduced them to books during their recovery, a quiet activity that kept them alert and learning but not so physically active until they were stronger. When Saav could finally sit up for longer periods, she taught them how to use the computer, and set up

CatPat 02-25-2016 10:08 PM

learning programs for them, much like home-schooling for young human children.

At night, tucked in her double bed, hearing the whispering, keyboard noises and mouse clicking from the computer room across the hall, Joyce often shivered with amazement, praying for their continued safety.

"Morning, Mom," said Pook, sitting on the counter in the kitchen. At first the kittens had called their owner by her name, but after learning to read and then learning about and understanding human families, they asked if they could use “Mom.” They liked the idea that human families stayed together, instead of the feline way in which kittens were almost always separated from their mothers before they were full-grown and very few, if any, ever knew who their fathers were.

"Morning, Pooks," she answered, finding her way to the coffeemaker. Saav came in from the living room and greeted them. It was a favorite morning ritual; greetings, followed by oysters or sardines and warm milk for the kittens’ breakfast, and a visit with Joyce as she got ready for work. This before-work visit was actually a romp, as the kittens tried to make it as difficult as possible for the hapless human to get dressed. Joyce called it “PookandSaavotage.”

The routine was going to be interrupted by one thing today, though. Pook and Saav were going to work for a friend, Carrie Sullivan, who had a rodent problem in her antique shop downtown. The kittens would spend the day there ridding the building of the unwanted pests, and the little cats were looking forward to something new and different. They had known Carrie all their lives, and were excited to finally see her shop.

"I like Carrie," smiled Saav as she pawed Joyce’s pen out of her tote bag and whacked it across the bed.

"I do too, Saav," she said. "She is a wonderful person."

“I like her jewelry,” Pook commented. “She wears pretty stones.”

"You girls are going to have a blast there," said Joyce, putting on her shoes. She was a part-time newspaper photojournalist in the nearby larger town of Albemarle, and luckily, was able to dress casually, which included tennis shoes. Her newly-syndicated editorial column was taking off now, allowing her to slow down to three days a week at the paper.

"It'll be fun," smiled Pook, batting Joyce’s watch off the nightstand.

Joyce had known Carrie for five years, ever since she had moved to Stony River. She had been the first friend she made here, and she loved the gentle, kind, and loving Carrie who had shown her around, introduced her

CatPat 02-25-2016 10:13 PM

to wonderful people, and even helped her find her tiny two-bedroom home just three blocks from downtown.

"How often will we get to go there?" asked Saav, cramming the pen under the pillows.

"I'm not sure. We'll let Carrie tell us when she needs you and for how long, I guess. Would that work?" Joyce suggested.

"Sure," agreed Saav.

"Depends on how bad the vermin are," said Pook, pouncing on Joyce’s ID card. "If there's tons of em, we're looking at some considerable time. Those suckers reproduce fast and furious!"

Joyce smiled. "Yep, they sure do. Worse than rabbits, I guess," she said.

She snagged her blue cotton jacket out from under Pook, sending her rolling, and tickled her little grey and white belly. Pook giggled and sat up, swatting at Joyce without claws.

The ride in Joyce’s car was as usual, Pook sitting in the passenger side seat looking out the windows, Saav stretched out on the rear window deck between the speakers, baring her fangs at drivers who got too close behind them. Joyce had considered trading in her decade-old Chevy Monte Carlo, but Pook and Saav complained so bitterly about everything she brought home to test-drive that she gave up and decided to keep it. Pook and Saav, this morning, probably wouldn’t have objected to riding in a cart behind a horse, for they were going to see Carrie and her shop for the first time. It was typical of their first year of life; so far, it had been one “first time” after another, and all of them had been exciting.

The two kittens entered Sullivan’s Antiques and Gifts, dutifully following Joyce. Carrie, the short, slightly chunky brunette with the big brown eyes looked up when they came in. She looked as radiant as usual this morning, dressed in a pretty cotton multicolored paisley sleeveless sundress that reached almost to her ankles. Her shoulder-length curly brown hair was swept away from her temples and clasped in the back with a turquoise and silver barrette, and at her throat was a lovely matching choker. Her tanned skin was flawless, and she wore very little makeup. Joyce always thought she was one of the most striking women she'd ever seen, and constantly teased her about using her as an armrest, as Joyce was 5’11". Her friendship with Carrie was deep and lasting.

Carrie greeted her cheerfully. “Hey there, Joyce, how’re you doing?”

“Hi, Carrie. I’m great! I brought your rodent patrol team,” smiled Joyce, setting the frail little Saav up on the counter. The bigger, green-eyed

CatPat 02-25-2016 10:21 PM

Pook jumped up next to her sister, and yowled at Carrie to be petted. Saav batted her golden eyes at Carrie and purred loudly.

“Aww,” Carrie cooed, petting them. “They are just adorable. Hard to believe these sweet little things are really killers in disguise.”

“They’re good at seek and destroy, too,” sighed Joyce. “You should see my house. It's scary."

Carrie laughed. “I HAVE seen your house, many times. It looks like cats live there! Why do you think I love coming over?"

Joyce laughed. "Because of my spaghetti?"

Carrie poked Joyce's shoulder. "No, it's your animals. I couldn't care less about you."

"Oh, thanks, now I know," smiled Joyce.

"Really, though, I appreciate this so much. So do the Lowerys. There’s a door between here and the restaurant we’ll leave open so they can get back and forth. The Lowerys have promised plenty of treats for every rat or mouse caught.”

Pook and Saav perked their ears forward at this. What luck! The Lowerys owned Lowery’s Porch, the finest seafood place in town, a cat’s heaven. This was going to be fun! Unlimited hunting and treats. They traded a wink and an expectant smile.

Carrie leaned forward and lowered her voice. “I’ve heard something about your cats. Is it true that they can talk? Didn't they come from that weird feral band of cats you could hear singing at night?"

Joyce stared at her friend, alarmed and frightened. She trusted Carrie implicitly, but this question from Carrie was completely unexpected, and something to which she had not considered an answer. Joyce had no idea these kittens would ever be associated with the feral clowder.

“Who spilled?” asked Pook sharply, looking at Joyce. Saav bristled.

The two humans froze, staring at Pook.

Joyce’s heart nearly stopped. Carrie’s eyes went wide and her hand flew to her cheek.

Joyce looked daggers at Pook, and shook her head quickly.

"Well, too bad!" Pook said. "We know we can trust Carrie. Cats KNOW these things. So! Who spilled?"

This outburst from Pook was a complete shock. Joyce couldn’t believe this was happening.

The two women looked at each other, and finally Joyce shrugged. "Well, Carrie, now you know. Just don't tell a soul, please. If this got out --"

“Oh my God!” Carrie exclaimed.

CatPat 02-25-2016 10:59 PM

“We didn’t know people would really do that back then, Mom. We were only messing around, and we really didn’t know how serious our situation was. Not till later, really, when we started reading more about what people can do to animals,” said Saav.

“We know now,” said Pook earnestly. “We do understand how bad things could be for us. It’s just that we knew we could trust Carrie. Please believe us. And we won’t do it again.”

“No, we know now. We haven’t spoken to anyone but you two since,” Saav added. “That’s the truth.”

Joyce, torn between amusement, love, frustration and fear for the kittens could only accept what had just happened. She slowly nodded.

Carrie shook her head in amazement. “Kitties, you can talk to me all you want. Just don’t talk to the customers or in front of them, okay? It might scare them or give somebody a heart attack...or a very dangerous idea about you two. Deal?"

Pook looked truly sorry now, and Saav sighed. For almost a year, they had been wanting to share their secret with someone besides their owner, and they had decided upon Carrie months before. But this should have been discussed with Joyce first, and they knew their mistake. At least she knew now. That was good enough, as they couldn't think of anyone else they wanted to tell.

“Okay,” said Saav. Pook nodded, and turned her attention to inspecting the counter and the cash register. Saav spied a large glass bowl full of hard candies, and promptly set to exploring it. The people talked as the feline girls checked out the counter and its contents.

"You don't seem all that surprised," Joyce said to Carrie.

Carrie shook her head. "I heard the feral clowder singing, and one time I was walking in the woods and saw them in a circle, and I heard their voices. I thought if they sang like that, they spoke, but I didn't get close enough to hear what they were saying because I didn't want to scare them." She shrugged, and gave a chuckle. "I always figured animals are smarter than we think they are, anyway. It’s true. Wow! Actually somebody who works out there at the paper with you said he distinctly saw and heard both of them talk to him when you brought them to work. Said it scared the hell out of him, and he had heard about the feral cats singing months ago. I think he quit when the cats talked to him, thought he was going crazy. Of course I won't say anything. You have my word on it."

Joyce glared at Pook and Saav. She was upset and frightened, but not angry at the willful Pook and the easily-led Saav. “You girls weren’t supposed to talk at work,” said Joyce sternly. "You knew better."

Pook blinked. Saav washed a paw. On the day they had gone to work with her, they had spoken to a few people briefly and disappeared, making one quit, another take a quick vacation, and yet a third man become extremely nervous around cats. The place never sponsored a “Bring Your

CatPat 02-25-2016 11:15 PM

Pet To Work Day” again, and Joyce never knew why these three had been upset. Until now, that is.

“We were just bored and decided to mess with a couple people out there. No one believed it anyway,” Saav admitted with a sigh.

“Lucky for you two. And lucky for all of us,” Joyce said firmly. “Remember that article about those specially-trained dogs being kidnapped and held for ransom with no food or water for days and days? You want that to happen to you?”

"No," said Pook sadly. Saav shook her head. Joyce decided to let it go, and turned to Carrie.

Suddenly there was a loud thump and everyone looked around.

Saav, exploring the candy bowl, had slipped over the edge of it and landed headfirst in the middle of the peppermints. “Gaaaaahh!” she grumbled, scrambling out backwards and landing on her rump on the counter. She righted herself, her tail lashing, and glared at Pook.

“Dummy,” giggled Pook from on top of the antique, 50s-style cash register that was the focal point of the counter.

“Nobody asked you,” growled Saav, then saw both women looking at her. “What are you people staring at?”

“Nothing,” laughed Carrie.

“You two be careful in here,” admonished Joyce. “Don’t break anything, there’re some very beautiful and fragile things in here.”

“Looks like the only thing that we have to worry about is Saav breaking her head,” snickered Pook.

“Oh ha ha,” snarled Saav, baring her fangs at her sister.

“Are they always like this?” asked Carrie.

“No. Sometimes they’re worse,” Joyce replied.

“Oh dear,” said Carrie, raising an eyebrow. “This will be interesting.”

“I’m afraid ‘interesting’ is rather optimistic. I hope you survive it,” Joyce sighed.

“Oh, we’ll be fine,” Carrie assured her. “Won’t we, girls?”

Pook twitched her whiskers and Saav blinked innocently.

“Oh geez, I know that look. Usually when they do that, I come home and discover lamps overturned and my earrings in the litterbox. Good luck, Carrie, I’ll pick them up at five,” said Joyce. “If you need me, you know where I am.”

“I sure do. See you then, and thanks!” Carrie smiled.

CatPat 02-25-2016 11:39 PM

Pook and Saav watched her leave, and Carrie put a bowl of fresh water down for them under the counter.

“Saavy, did you want a peppermint?” Carrie asked.

“I don’t know. Do I?” asked Saav. She’d never had a peppermint before. Pook came over and sniffed at the candy dish.

“Smells…different,” Pook said, frowning. “Kinda like Mom’s toothpaste stuff she uses all the time.”

“Want to try it?” Carrie offered.

Pook and Saav nodded. She took two pieces out, unwrapped the red and white candies, and set them in front of the cats.

“Just lick it,” she advised. “If you bite it, it will splinter and you might not like that much. Those splinters could be sharp for little cat mouths.”

“Hmph,” said Pook, deliberately biting hers into pieces. “Yow! That’s some stout stuff!”

Saav, who had only licked hers a couple of times, backed away a bit. “Phew, that’ll clean your clock. No offense, Carrie, but I don’t think these were made for cats.”

“Absolutely not,” agreed Pook. “But thank you for letting us try them.”

“Yes, thanks, Carrie,” nodded Saav. “It was worth it.”

“It was,” Pook smiled.

Carrie laughed at them as she put the candies in the trash can. “I agree, Saav, I don’t think cats’ tastes were taken into consideration during the making of these things. Go get some water, it’s nice and fresh, and it will help get that taste off your tongues.”

“Okay,” said Pook, and the kittens jumped down and headed for the water bowl.

“So where’s the vermin at?” asked Pook, looking up from the bowl when she was done. “I don’t see any in here.”

“Mostly in the back storage area,” said Carrie, “and in back of the kitchen. The adjoining door is open, and you can go back and forth. They know to expect you.”

“Okay, we’ll go see what we can find. C’mon, Saav, let’s get to work.” The kittens bounded through the shelves and furniture and together with tails high and ears perked, they trotted through the back door of the showroom.

“I don’t know how to hunt,” said Saav as they entered the dusty storage room. She sneezed.

“Sure you do. It’s an instinct that you just never learned to use because you never were able to. You were too little, then you got too weak

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