Haley had taken it upon herself to be the judge, jury, and executioner without really knowing Ms. Kitty Kat personally because if she had maybe she would not have been so quick to get rid of her. Growing up average mousy brown haired, golden brown eyed Kitty Kat started life with the disadvantage of being named after her great-great-great grandmother the poor girl had to put up with being ridiculed by her peers as the meowing sounds and taunts here pussy, pussy only got more vulgar especially as she entered middle and high school the boys empathized the sexual connotations of her name. Not quite as bad but still annoying was when the girls at school sneered at her mix-matched, hand-me-down clothes. She couldn’t really blame them because they were rags, after being worn by her three older sisters and most of the stuff were two sizes too big which meant she had to roll up the sleeves and cuffs of the pants making her look and feel like a country hick earning her the nick-name Orphan Annie. She was the last to be picked in school sports, no-one wanted her in their classroom group projects, and she ate her lunch alone.

Even at home Kitty felt like an outcast. Both her parents worked physically demanding jobs on twelve-hour shifts her dad directed traffic around road construction crews in the summer and over the brutally cold winter months he did snow removal on deserted back country roads and her mom worked on an assembly line. Her two siblings twins Melissa and Mandy were two years older than her and although they were not identical twins they were joined at the hip they shared everything. Being in the same bedroom they got away with staying up late gossiping and giggling making Kitty feel left out even more. The girls annoyingly finished each other’s sentences and even exchanged unspoken looks that only they seemed to understand. In high school they even took the sign language class together so they could secretly communicate without muttering a sound. In fact they stopped talking to her altogether and just rolled their eyes at her and shrugged their shoulders whenever she did try to talk to them. Kitty felt like an outcast in her own family they were virtually strangers and it sadden her to the core as she harbored feelings of abandonment.

When the twins graduated high school and move out together Kitty’s parents also decided to rent a single bedroom apartment and let Kitty live in the bungalow as long as she paid the mortgage which was down to $25,000. Kitty took a typing course and found a decent paying job as a secretary at a large financial institution. To help her pay the mortgage she found a girl in the office who needed a place and they became roommates for a few years. Kitty hated the gossipy caddy girls at work, the mean supervisors, and the terrifying boss. She ate lunch alone and never went to a single office party because she didn’t know how to socialize. Over the years as renters came and went the damage they made to her aging home was never repaired because Kitty didn’t have the money nor know-how to fix it.

Before she knew it Kitty was a forty-two year-old virgin but it was also when she rescued her first cat from behind a dumpster. The poor scrawny thing was obviously malnourished and she nursed it back to health in only a month. Kitty named him Ace for being her first pet. A few weeks later she heard mewing behind a bus stop shelter and she was abhorred by the number of people who passed by with just a glance at the box full of kittens, five grey kittens to be exact. She took sick days, holidays and family days off just to bottle feed the babies who were only a few days old. Kitty realized that she couldn’t afford to register her cats with the city, spade and neuter them, nor could she afford costly vaccinations at the veterinarians so she never took them and as the number of cats increased she struggled to feed them and buy litter. She had two renters for a while but they both eventually moved out because of the disgustingly eye-watering smell of cat urine and also because at that point there were so many cats who were shitting and pissing everywhere due to not having enough litter boxes they cringed at stepping in it. When the roommates moved out the cats moved into the two empty bedrooms and Kitty just didn’t bother to find other renters actually in reality there was no-one in the world that would rent the toxic cesspool. Inevitably Kitty began to have breathing problems not to mention she had consistent diarrhea and skin irritation. At no time did Kitty even vaguely think that her health problems had anything to do with her beloved cats. It was beyond her comprehension that they could directly or indirectly harm her in any way. Just as she saw that her actions of loving the animals, feeding them and giving them a safe shelter was in no way hurting them but she was fooling herself. As she had topped over one hundred felines the situation became dire for both herself and the cats but she either was blind to the situation which was hard to believe because of the visual proof or she refused to acknowledge it. In fact Kitty was proud of her charity towards the cats and smiled at the irony of her name and how it was as if fate knew what was in store for her. She knew that she had become labelled as the neighborhood cat lady and it was by no means the worse name she was called in fact Kitty liked it.

Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson