Once upon a time, there was a little boy and he had a pet cat. The pet cat’s name was Rufus. Rufus the cat was a big, fat orange cat that loved to play around the house all day long. He loved catching little birds, playing with shadows and jumping on butterflies. One day, Rufus noticed that somebody had left the gate open in the back yard.
Rufus was a very curious cat so he walked carefully, carefully to the open gate in the back yard and he walked outside. When he was outside of the back gate, Rufus could see all kinds of things he’d never seen before and smell all kinds of things he could never smell before. Why he smelled a delicious smell coming from down the street!
Just down the street, there was an old man selling food out of his food cart. He was selling lamb kabobs that you put on pita bread. People were lining up to eat his delicious lamb kabobs on pita bread. Well, Rufus the cat could not resist the delicious smell so he walked over to the cart and he rubbed his head against the old man’s leg and said, “Meow meow!” He was hoping that the old man would give him a little bit of the lamb kabob he was selling. The old man looked down and couldn’t resist this cute little kitty so he gave him a piece of lamb.
Rufus went on his way after eating the piece of lamb but then Rufus saw a little mouse running along the street. Rufus loved to chase mice! He ran after the little gray mouse as fast as he could down the street. The mouse ran down a side alley so Rufus ran down a side ally. The mouse ran around a big garbage can so Rufus ran around the big garbage can! Then the mouse squeezed into a teeny, tiny mouse hole so small that Rufus couldn’t reach inside of it. He took his little paws and tried to get the mouse out of the hole but alas… the mouse escaped.
Rufus decided he had had enough fun for this day and it was time to go home. Rufus looked around and realized that he didn’t know where he was. He was so excited chasing the tiny mouse that he didn’t realize where he had gone. Rufus was lost. There was no trace of his beautiful home with the beautiful backyard or the family that he missed so much. Rufus began to walk outside in the ally to see if he could find his way home.
All of a sudden, dark clouds began to gather and it started to rain. Rufus became very sad. He slinked his way down the street and hid underneath a car that was parked on the street just to stay dry. The rain lasted all day long and into the night. The rain eventually cleared up but the night was cold and Rufus got a very bad chill. He began to think that he would never, ever find his way home again.
That morning Rufus heard a car door slam as someone got into the car that he was sleeping underneath. He ran away from the car as fast as he could. Rufus walked around trying desperately to find his home walking here, there and in every direction. Rufus didn’t care about mice, or lamb kabobs or anything else except finding his wonderful family and his beautiful backyard.
But then, Rufus smelled something familiar. Rufus smelled the very distinct smell of the little boy who owned him. It was very faint but it was definitely coming from one direction. Rufus followed the smell up the street. It was getting stronger and stronger. Rufus ran as fast as he could and suddenly he heard the little boy saying “Hello! Have you seen my cat?” The little boy was pasting pictures of Rufus on every street pole. He was crying because he was so upset that he had lost his pet.
The little boy then heard the little jingling of Rufus’s bell coming up the street. The boy looked down the street and saw Rufus, soaking wet and chilled. Sure enough there he was… his orange cat Rufus! He shouted out, “Rufus!” If Rufus could have spoken English he would have shouted, “Boy!” but he didn’t. What he did say was, “Meow!” and he ran as fast as he could to the little boy. When he got to the boy, he nuzzled his head against his legs, snuggled and purred. The boy picked Rufus up and snuggled his nose against Rufus’s nose and held him close so he could keep him nice and warm. The boy brought Rufus back home… back home to his nice, warm cat bed and a nice big dish of yummy cat food. Rufus was home, safe and warm.
Rufus got to play in the big, beautiful backyard again but even if someone left the back gate open… Rufus never left the backyard again.