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My days were spent doing kitten things, and not so kitten things. Some days I would lead Miss M’Lu around the house with my leash and then we’d turn around and I would follow her. It was a fun game. Almost everyday we would go for a spin in the Pet Stroller. I really liked that.

One morning I heard Miss M’Lu calling me, “Nina, where are you? Come here, girl, I’m going to give you a bath.”

I was playing with Ringo and we both heard her.

“What’s a bath?” I asked him.

“You’ll soon find out!” he said as he ran away.

I saw Friendly fly by, too. She flew through the master bedroom and hid in the closet past the bathroom.

‘What’s going on,’ I thought as I walked to Miss M’Lu. She picked me up and carried me to the kitchen sink. I saw one side had water in it and soap bubbles. She took my collar off and plopped me into the suds.

I was in shock!

“Mew’elp! mew-help!” I cried.   “I’m drowning!”

“Settle down, Nina. It’s just two inches of water and nothing’s going to happen to you.”

I stood there mewing frantically, but she kept talking to me quietly and petting me as I stood there. She had a firm hold so I wasn’t going anywhere. I finally realized I was okay and calmed down. Slowly she started to scoop water over my back. It was warm. Then she squeezed some cat shampoo over me and started to wash my back, tummy, legs and even tail. I began to relax as she gently massaged me all over. This wasn’t so bad after all.

She pulled the plug and the water drained away. When it was gone she put some conditioner on me and spread it all over. It felt slick and smelled good.   I was starting to get chilly.

On the other side she turned on the water. That scared me a bit. When the temperature was right she pulled out the little hose and turned the sprinkler on. She started to rinse me.

“Mew’elp!” I let out. I was afraid of the shower.

“This doesn’t hurt, Nina,” she soothed me.

Again I relaxed as the warm water did feel good.

When she was finished she squeezed the water out from by back and my legs. Then she picked me up and wrapped me in a towel, all the while talking to me and telling me what a good girl I had been. That was nice to hear.

She walked me to the bathroom and set me on the counter. As she unwrapped me I saw this cylinder

thingy with a big eye staring at me. As I stood there she plugged it in and aimed it at me. It made this really horrible loud noise and the air was blowing me over. I screamed!

“Mew’elp! Mew’elp! Mew’elp!” I screeched! “It’s going to kill me! Mew’elp!”

I saw M’ster Doc run in as I was struggling to free myself from Miss M’lu’s hold.

“What’s going on?”

“This stupid blow dryer was on full speed and my fingers couldn’t get it to slow speed after she started fighting me to get away. It scared the beejeebies out of the poor little thing!”

He unplugged it.

“Poor little Nina,” she said as she wrapped me in another dry towel and cradled me tightly to her.

I was shaking so hard I couldn’t even mew. As she held me close I calmed down. I was breathing normal again and felt reassured as I started to warm up being close to her.

She put me back on the counter. M’ster Doc had taken the monster away. She brought out a brush and started fluffing my fur to help it dry. I started licking myself, too, to help. After a while she took me to her study and put me down on the carpet in a spot where the sun shone. I continued licking under my tummy to dry it. Soon she came in with a bowl of nice warm goat’s milk. That did the trick. I lapped it all up and then curled in a circle to take a nap in the sun.

Throughout the week I kept running into the monster in the strangest places. It usually was running in slow mode, but I still didn’t like the sound. I’d hear it running in the bathroom or on top of the bed. Once it was on the kitchen floor and another time on the couch. It even appeared on the cat tower. I always gave it a wide berth. That monster was not to be trusted. Whenever she showed it to me I growled.

She kept giving me baths over time, but the monster was no longer ever a part of them. From then on I self-dried.

In discussion with Ringo I learned that he didn’t really mind taking a bath and tolerated the monster because it helped him to dry faster with his fur being so long and thick. Now Friendly didn’t tolerate a bath nor the monster. She hated them equally! As for me, I was okay with the bath. I always felt good afterwards. Isn’t it funny, three of us in the same house and all with different reactions. Poor Miss M’Lu!

The day after my infamous bath Miss M’Lu took me for my first extended tour of Meadow Lake. That was one on my funnest days! We went around one side of the lake in my stroller. I saw a big fountain in the middle shooting water in a round spray. It was so pretty against the woods behind it. I watched as a graceful blue crane took off from the water’s edge and flew up over the trees to disappear among the fluffy clouds.

As we were going along the pathway we met a resident walking his small dog. I had seen dogs going by the house before but had never actually met one. We stopped and Miss M’lu took me out of the carriage and put me down on the sidewalk as they neared us. She held on to my leash as they came closer. The dog started yapping, but I held my ground. I was curious more than anything else.

“Hi,” she said to the man. “My kitten has never been with a dog before and I just want to see how she reacts.”

He told his dog to be quiet and it did. I stood there and waited. The dog’s tail was going a mile a minute as he came near me.

“Mew-hi,” I ventured.

He came right up to me and we sniffed noses.

“Yapp-hi, yourself. New to the neighborhood?” he asked me.

“No, Just haven’t been out this way before.”

“Well, that little tyke doesn’t seem to be afraid of him,” the man said to Miss M’lu. “Looks like she’ll do fine with dogs.”

“I was a little worried about her reaction. I’m trying to train her as a therapy cat and this getting along with a dog is a big step.”

“Therapy cat, well that’s a new one,” he smiled. “Guess I’ll see you around.”

“That’s a given,” she said as she put me back in the cat stroller.

We kept on going and soon enough a golf cart filled with five people came chugging down the pathway. Miss M’Lu parked to the side on the grass to let it go by. Instead, it stopped right next to us.

“Oh how cute!” someone exclaimed. “It’s a cat!”

“Can I hold her?” another one asked.

I was introduced.

“This is Nina and she’s in training to be a therapy cat.”

“Oh, isn’t that the cutest thing you ever heard!” one of the four ladies said.

Miss M’Lu put me on the lap of the one who had asked to hold me.

“She’s so soft!”

“Let me hold Nina,” her seat mate asked.

And so I was passed around from lap to lap and fussed over. I purred my best and loudest and was rewarded with many pats. Even the driver held me and let me play with his steering wheel. I was enjoying myself, they were so friendly.

When they took off they waved to me. I felt like a celebrity!

We continued up the pathway and passed a small pond with a fountain in it, just like the lake. I could see frogs around it. We continued on and crossed the street to a gazebo. It had real tall grasses that reached into the carriage. It was so much fun swatting at them. We took the path around the gazebo and I was able to whack at the large clumps of miscanthus grass. When I finished playing with them we went towards a huge building. As we walked in front of it, Miss M’Lu told me that one day she was going to bring me inside and that it would be a whole new adventure. It sounded exciting.

We started back and as we neared the house the neighbor across the street was in her driveway. We walked up to her.

“Hi, Juanita, I’d like you to meet Nina.”

“So I finally get to see the little black kitten who I see watching me from her window when I walk by.”

She picked me up.

“Now aren’t you a cutie,” she said. “How’s her training going?”

“So far so good. She met a dog today with no problems and she’s been associating with other residents as well and she’s been her charming little self.”

“She’s a charmer for sure,” she agreed as I nuzzled up to her.

“Well good luck with her,” she called out as we crossed the street to our own home.

As soon as we got inside and my harness was taken off I ran to find Ringo.

” ‘Ingo, ‘Ingo, where are you?” I mewed.

He was in the study and raised up a sleepy head. “What’s all the fuss about!”

” ‘Ingo, I just had the most fantastic day!” I blurted out happily. I couldn’t talk fast enough.

“I met a dog and he was an okay dog! Then I met a bunch of persons in a peoplemobile and they all hugged me, and then I saw some frogs and a big blue bird and, and…  

                                  

Ringo crossed his arms and lay there, resigned to listening to his little protégé ramble on and on… .