This is the story of a tabby cat by the name of Welly. The clever cat, with the lynx fur, is a shrewd, fearful, arrogant feline who has no master and no home.. He doesn’t seem to complain too much, since his garbage instincts provide him with all the food he needs.

In this tale, Welly meets a beautiful angora cat by the name of Princess. This lovely white feline is naive, sweet, and warm-hearted. Unlike Welly, she lives in a luxurious home, surrounded by a lot of attention. It seems that Princess was born in a very special place ! In fact, according to rumors, Princess is one of the four remaining cats, originating from a very small country called Milkeewayland.

Fate will bring Welly and Princess together, they will become the best of friends and share in exciting, comical adventures.

Chapter 1

In a far away land, near the city of Kittynokat, not too far from Goldog valley, stands a small village called Nokatstown. The small village got its unusual name simply because no cats are allowed to live there. Would you like to know why? Nokatstown owns the biggest fish market in the area. Everybody knows that cats love fish. So the people of Nokatstown armed themselves with guard dogs to watch over their businesses. Everywhere on the streets, large posters are put up exhibiting a cat, sitting proudly behind a large dreadful “X” with the heading “entry prohibited to cats”. However, for our feline friends, who can’t read properly those signs mean “crossroads for cats”.

Princess was the only cat allowed to live in Nokatstown because she didn’t have to hunt for her food, so the merchants did not fear her. Her mistress, Miss Penelope Slippers, a retired school teacher, would feed her with caviar, imported fish and creamy milk, nothing was too good for her cat. Actually Princess had the kind of life that most cats would envy, she had her own bed, her toys and stuffed animals, jewelry, even her own rocking chair !

For some time now, Welly had been lurking around the village. He knew about the laws, but it never really bothered him, especially when meal time came along ! On that late afternoon, Welly was walking down main street where all the fish stands were located, as always, dogs began to bark ferociously from their backyard, as they spotted Welly’s presence in the area.

Among them, were two bulldogs, one was called Kim and the other one Kam ; their master was none other than Mayor Theodore Kennel of Nokatstown. The mayor was really proud of Kim and Kam since they managed to keep Nokatstown free of unwanted cats, they indeed performed their duties very well !

As soon as they saw Welly, Kim and Kam came running out of their doghouse, passed right in front of their master, who was watching them with pride. The mayor’s dogs knew Welly very well and never missed an opportunity of chasing him out of the village.

They were giving our tabby cat friend a hard time, but the clever fugitive was really too fast for them ! The cat jumped on a fence and started licking his paws before yelling at his chasers in an angry voice :

- You might as well give up the chase...you poor slaves of obedience!

- You should come down from your fence Welly, and talk to us face to face, said Kam in an angry voice, we will teach you to respect the law ! You know, you are not welcome in Nokatstown !

- You don’t scare me Kam ! Welly cried out.

- One of these days we will get you Welly ! replied Kim.

The bulldogs disappeared, but Welly chose to remain quietly in his safety net till night fall. He knew that the mayor’s dogs did not go out after sunset. The small village would now become very peaceful, so Welly had nothing to fear, at least for the rest of the day !

As darkness slowly came down on the tiny village, Welly saw a light shinning through one of the windows, on the second floor of a modest apartment building. Sitting proudly in his favorite spot, Welly saw for the very first time, the lovely Princess taking a nap on the balcony.

Welly kept making a sigh as he watched Princess sleeping. Her ears became wavy every time a fly got near her. While breading the pure air mixed with the smell of left over dinners neatly placed in garbage cans nearby ; Welly began to mew softly at her in order to draw her attention.

Unfortunately, Princess was sound asleep. But for the school teacher, on the other hand... Miss Penelope came bursting out on the balcony carrying an old shoe which she threw without hesitation at Welly. The loud yelling woke Princess as she saw the tabby cat falling off the fence.

- That will show him to stay away from my window ! the old lady shouted out.

- Oh ! The poor cat is probably hurt, said Princess, as she witnessed the entire scene from the balcony. He’s not moving anymore ; maybe he’s dead ! Why did she do that? I don’t love you anymore... you rude mistress. You can forget about feeding me your succulent meals... at least for now !

Princess thought that Well was hurt but actually Welly was just pretending to be wounded in order to get Princess’ attention.

- I must go to him ! said Princess.

While her mistress tried to grab her in order to bring her inside, she jumped off the balcony. All the screamings and the warnings of the school teacher could not make her change her mind.

- Come here Princess...! she yelled out. Come here this minute...!

Princess ran as fast as she could to meet the one who managed to win her affection. She ran and jumped, again and again, always landing on her four legs while mentally counting the number of lives she had left. It's a well known fact that a feline has between seven and nine lives, at least in this story !

She was getting ready to jump on the fence, while our tabby cat friend was busy stretching his body, pretending to be shakened up by the angry Miss Penelope. His quick gesture made him fall off the board. The cat came tumbling down, landing on the back of Roger the gangster, the most notorious burglar of Nokatstown. The nasty crook had just robbed poor Charlie Doolittle’s grocery’s store. Roger was carrying a large bag on his shoulder and was trying to escape from the scene of the crime, when he felt Welly hanging on to his collar ; he immediatly tried to get rid of him. What an unfortunate incident for Welly !

- Get away from me, you ugly piece of fur ! Roger yelled out, you’re messing everything up !

- I would really like to get down, replied the cat, but I don’t know how ! Be careful... please don’t hurt me ! Welly was so scared that he couldn’t move.

At that moment, Darryl the policeman and Charlie Doolittle arrived, only to find the burglar struggling to free himself from a very mischievous opponent !

- I told you to get off me ! Roger cried out.

- And I told you not to hurt me ! yelled out Welly, as he started biting Roger’s fingers, while the robber was trying to grab one of Welly’s legs to free himself.

Not too far away, the lovely Princess was witnessing the entire event, she was so impressed by the scene unfolding right in front of her eyes !

- Wow ! she said, that cat is so brave, he is my hero ! Hum ! I really have nothing to fear by following him around the world !

Finally, the desperate robber gave up the fight when Darryl the cop was able to grab Welly without hurting him. As soon as he was on the ground, the cat disappeared as fast as he could.

- Run for your life Welly ! he said to himself, I thought for sure, that I was going to lose another life!

- This is incredible ! cried out Charlie Doolittle, while watching Welly run. Who would have thought that a dirty tabby cat would have helped us capture the most famous gangster of Nokatstown ? I will have to talk to Mayor Kennel, such courageous act must be recognized even if the hero is a tabby cat !

Without even trying, Welly became a hero. In spite of that, our friend forgot all about Princess, who was doing her very best to catch up with him, puzzled by this wild escape.

- Wait for me ! Stop please ! cried out Princess. Why is this cat running so fast ? What if he was simply running from all the attention, that would explain his strange behaviour !

The more she thought about it, the more she believed it. As soon as he felt safe enough, Welly stopped and turned his head to examine the beautiful white vision in the middle of this dark night, happily approaching him.

- You are so brave my friend, she said, timidly staring at him. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it possible to meet such a courageous cat ! I would also add, without hesitation, that you are already in bad shape because of my mistress !

- As you can see my dear, I am doing very well now ! replied Welly with great pride, this is what happens when you’re a hero. You fight with bad people, after enduring countless wounds inflicted in all kinds of circumstances and that’s not counting the number of times cars run you down !

- Yes, I can see that ! replied the lovely white feline, and so humble that he prefers to run away as soon as his mission is accomplished. You obviously feared the praises of the police and the store owner ?

- Hum, yes...yes, obviously ! quickly replied Welly, trying to hide the real reason for his escape. A hero has no right to accept the praises of those he defended against criminals ! he added.

- Oh ! Please I beg of you, she said, let me go with you on your missions ! Anyway, I decided to leave my mistress to come to your rescue. I was far from thinking that you would accomplish such a brave act in my presence. I have no regrets about leaving my comfortable home so that I can follow you everywhere. Would you like to tell me your name ?

- Welly and you ?

- My name is Princess !

- Are you sure that you want to follow me ? asked the tabby cat.

- Oh yes ! replied Princess, I would like to go on exciting adventures with you ; have some fun ; you know Welly, I never had the opportunity of travelling like you did !

- Okay then ! said Welly, you can come with me !

Chapter 2

Welly and Princess quietly left the village and soon disappeared on a deserted road, towards Goldog valley. After touring the country side for hours, they started to get very hungry. Suddenly the sun disappeared behind heavy dark clouds and rain came pouring down ; it was then that our friends had to seriously consider their future. Welly talked about finding shelter while his pretty companion sadly replied :

- I don’t know anymore if I made the right choice by following you outside the village, I am totally lost ! Where are we ! I am so hungry and so thirsty, my favorite pâté is sitting all by itself in the freezer and I have a mistress who must be heartbroken since my departure. Oh! look at me, I’m all wet and no one around to pity me ! I’m scared Welly... mew, mew !

- Don’t cry, you have nothing to fear, I will protect you ! Welly promptly replied, I think you’re still very beautiful even in the rain !

- How can you find me attractive with all these fur balls ! said Princess, as she looked down at her wet coat.

- Look over there Princess ! said Welly, that beautiful castle in the middle of the field, that’s where we will find shelter !

- It’s nothing but an old barn all crooked and very ugly ! added Princess, feeling more and more miserable.

-You should be grateful that we found something, replied Welly, right now, we have to thank the kitty angel for watching over us ; because we have no home. You decided to come along with me remember ! I did not force you !

- I am not a homeless cat...me ! replied Princess in an angry voice.

- Oh ! I apologize...! replied Welly, in a mocking tone of voice, if you really do have a home, what are you doing outside in the rain !

Princess was now discovering her friend’s pretentious character and was planning on letting him know, as soon as she felt safe enough to do so.

- I hope that you are not too upset at the thought of having to wait till morning to return to your comfortable home and eat your favorite pâté ! added Welly.

- You are nasty and arrogant, replied Princess. My mistress was right, you tabby cats are all alike, lazy and coward !

- Not me ! replied Welly, since I participated in the arrest of a burglar. You remember that, don’t you ? So you see, your mistress knows nothing about us, tabby cats !

- I’m sorry, you are so right ! said Princess, I wonder why Miss Penelope always seems to be suspicious when it comes to tabby cats !

- Your mistress is only saying what everyone else says about us, commented Welly.

- Let’s go inside, I don’t like this cold rain..! added Princess.

- You go first Princess ! said Welly.

- Are you afraid to come in with me ? replied Princess.

- Of course not ! he added, don’t be ridiculous I’m simply being polite !

The truth is, Welly is a very suspicious cat, he was scared to walk inside the barn because he had no idea what was in there ! Maybe the barn is occupied by other animals, who would not be very happy to see their home being invaded by our two friends ! On the other hand, Welly was a very proud cat, he did not want Princess to see how afraid he was ! After all, Welly was her hero.

Princess walked in first, the barn seemed empty. As soon as she felt safe enough she decided to jump between two rotten boards and make herself comfortable, unaware that she had landed in RAOUL’s mansion. How was she supposed to know that this old barn was home sweet home for a bunch of felines of the worst kind !

Raoul was the unbeatable cat who in his entire life had never lost a fight with members of his species. He was a though one; the members of his gang did not seem to mind his ever changing mood. Raoul was big, ugly, dirty and smelly, he was also agressive and intolerant.

This was no safe place for Welly and Princess. Luckily for them, Raoul and his friends were not home. There was only one scared Welly slowly making his way inside the barn. Our hero was trembling and his hair seemed to be standing straight up like a scared porcupine. Naturally Princess still believed that she was safe in Welly’s company.

- You’re trembling ? she asked, is it because you’re wet ?

- Oh yes ! he replied as he began to sneeze, I am very susceptible to disease.

- You ! You’re kidding, added Princess.

- Yes, I’m kidding, replied Welly soaked to the skin, anyhow, you see what happens to me when my fur gets wet ? Honestly, either i’ts bad quality or I’m coming down with a cold !

- My fur must be of good quality, since my hair is not rigid like yours ! Princess replied, as she got closer to Welly to touch his fur. Oh well ! What do you expect, I am of pure breed !

- What about me, replied Welly, in an angry tone of voice, what am I ? A smelly old tabby cat ? This really hurts me Princess, since I was just about to suggest that we try to find some food !

- You know where we can find some food ! replied Princess, I am so hungry!

- Not me ! said Welly, I will just let myself die of hunger since nothing matters to me anymore in my miserable life.

- I’m sorry Welly ! replied Princess, rubbing herself against the tabby cat, I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings !

Princess layed down in front of Welly and timidly rubbed her nose on his. Suddenly, the sound of footsteps brought our friends back to reality. From the front door a loud voice yelled out:

- Come on, you idiots, wipe off your paws before entering ! said Raoul as he was getting ready to walk in, I hate mud stains on the floor of my mansion.

Raoul and his gang were home. Welly and Princess are about to discover that they are no longer alone.

- Who is it ? asked Princess as she stood up.

- I don’t know, replied Welly, as he took deep breaths to prevent himself from screaming and betraying his cowardness.

- I do not like that arch and dominating voice said Princess, she immediately vanished.

Welly was too frighten to follow his friend in her attempt. He decided to climb a stack of hay. On the other hand, his quick gesture made it impossible for him to reach Princess ; since he found himself in front of a beam, which he had to cross to get on the other side of the barn, where Princess waited patiently for him.

- Come on Welly, you can cross ! signalled Princess.

- The beam does not seem very safe, replied a scared Welly.

- Welly, you can do this ! replied Princess, just walk along the beam, quickly before those strangers discover you !

- You seem to think that this is very easy to do, added Welly. Oh well ! I guess I have to try, here we go !

The beam was located right above Raoul and his friends. They had just entered, when all of sudden small pieces of hay came tumbling down on their dirty fur. Raoul slowly lifted his head and spotted Welly trying to cross the beam. All of a sudden the beam cracked, and our hero came tumbling down, right in the middle of his ennemies.

Yes, Welly had quite a fall which cost him another life ! Still shaken by his fall, he laid very still on the floor of the barn. All of a sudden he heard the soft voice of Sabrina the kitty angel, telling him that he had three lives left to live ; he started counting rapidly. He remembered his fall from the fence and the one from the beam. According to him, he should have five lives remaining; but the angelic voice replied :

- Remember the truck that ran you down last year and that young boy who threw you in a bag before dumping you in the river. I would like to give you an extra life to replace the one that you will probably loose, when you go in front of Raoul and his gang, but I am not allowed to grant you such a wish.

Sabrina had spoken with truthfulness. Raoul was simply waiting for the intruder to wake up so that he could challenge him to a mortal combat. Welly had one chance in a million of winning, but Princess was joyfully singing and dancing in her hiding place :

- La, La, La...! My friend Welly will save us ! I know in my heart that I have nothing to fear.

Raoul was without a doubt built like an athlete, except for his flat face which was still carrying the mark of an iron. Actually all of Raoul’s friends had hard faces with marks left by ennemy claws. One of the cats had an ear missing, another had lost an eye, and the worst of all had a marble lodged in his ear ; and let’s not forget the numerous lumps on their bodies left by recent combats. No, there was absolutely no way for Welly to come out of this alive. Finally, our tabby cat friend woke up lifting one eye very carefully just to see his opponents staring arrogantly at him.

- I must come up with a plan that will save both Princess’ life and mine ! he said to himself. Ah! I think I know what I must do ! This might work !

Almost as if he had been stricken by lighting, a brilliant idea came to mind. He stood up and started shaking as he said in a trembling voice :

- Thank you for delivering me, my new found friends ! A witch has been tormenting me every night since I killed her black cat. She will no doubt submit you all to her dark spell if you make me lose this combat. She loves winners, not happy losers. Oh ! If only I would have known about all the suffering which awaited my faith by winning the combat against her cat, I would have let him destroy me.

- To prove it to you, Welly went on, my new mistress forced me to climb on her broomstick, she then carried me way up in the air before dropping me. My fall ended in your mansion.

- I thought I could escape from her by hiding here, but you can see for yourselves what her evil mind has done to the beam that I was trying to cross, he added. Oh ! Please deliver me from the one who wants to keep me on as her slave ! You must win this fight since she is watching us, she has magically transformed herself into a beautiful white cat. This is how she attracts all her heros into her sorcerous claws.

Welly pointed at Princess as he continued his story. Meanwhile, unaware of Welly’s plan, Princess was watching her hero, anxiously waiting to see how he would prove his braveness to her. Raoul looked at Princess and suddenly realized that Welly might have been telling the truth about the witch.

- Mercy, he cried out, please deliver me from her evil claws !

The poor tabby cat approached his enemies to meet his faith. Suddenly, Raoul started shaking and so did the rest of the gang.

- Are you crazy ! said Raoul in a troubled voice, as he looked at Princess, I have no intention of becoming a slave to that witch ! If you accept to win the battle, we will give you a full bag of succulent fish and even a huge ham !

- It’s not enough, replied Welly, for I have to live the rest of my life in the company of that witch. I also want your mansion, your furniture and even your whiskers.

- We must give him everything he is asking for, said one the frighten tomcats.

- Okay, but you must let us leave, replied a defeated Raoul.

- I give you my word, replied Welly.

In a quick gesture, Welly rubbed his nose against Raoul’s and Princess saw the leader of the gang dancing round and round. You had to see Welly in this faked combat ! His ennemies all fell to the ground in front of an excited Princess. She was screaming of delightful pleasure and admiration, when Welly started pulling out their whiskers. Raoul and his friends then quickly left the barn. Welly danced with joy, as he looked at his beautiful companion sitting on the edge of the broken beam. He proudly said to her : “We did it Princess, they are all gone !” Princess came down and stood in front of her companion and said :

“I am so proud of you, Welly !”

Now that our two friends felt safe again, they began to enjoy a delicious meal, thanks to Raoul and his gang, they then laid down for a well deserved nap !

Chapter 3

Daylight was filtering its lovely rays of sunshine on the floor covered with fishbones. In a shaded corner slept our hero and Princess, who smiled while dreaming of Welly. At the sound of a rooster, our lazy friends’ ears started flapping without slowing down the purring of the two cats. Even the pigeons on the roof could not wake them up.

All of a sudden, barking sounds from the other side of nearby hills made Welly jump. He stood up and rushed over to Princess to wake her up.

- Let me sleep, I am so tired ! she replied, while yawning.

- Come on Princess, said Welly, we must leave right away. Don’t you hear those dogs barking ?

- They are hunting dogs who are simply running probably in the fields nearby, calmly replied Princess as she laid back to sleep.

- I would love to believe you my friend ! said Welly, but unfortunately, my ears know how to recognize the barking of mayor Kennel’s bulldogs, Kim and Kam !

Welly was right, Miss Penelope was not the type of lady who would let her rare breed cat in the paws of a dirty tabby cat. So, she decided to beg her old friend the mayor to organize a searching party around Goldog Valley.

The mayor was able to round up a dozen volunteers happy to help in the search. Dressed up in his favorite african safari outfit, the mayor of Nokatstown was accompanied by his two bulldogs. They would without a doubt pick up the smell of our two friends.

- The cat came this way, Penelope ! the mayor yelled out !

- I hope that dirty cat had no time to tarnish the purety of my lovely Princess, replied an angry Miss Penelope, if he did I will burn him to crisp !

- Don’t worry Penelope, my dogs will tear him apart ! said Theodore Kennel.

- Forgive me for saying so Theodore, I wasn’t aware that bulldogs belonged to the same species as hunting dogs ! said Miss Penelope. However I will be the first one to agree if your dogs bring back that ugly cat.

-You will be able to see for yourself how efficient Kim and Kam are ! added mayor Kennel, as he tried to reassure his friend.

So the mayor set out to let his dogs loose in the surrounding fields and the volunteers, at the mayor's signal, did the same with their dogs. Meanwhile, back at the barn, Welly knew that it wouldn’t be very long before the dogs discovered them, he turned to Princess and asked her if she still wanted to go home :

- Here is your chance my friend, you can leave, I will not stop you !

- I don’t know anymore, she replied, but if what you say about the mayor’s dogs is true, you are in great danger ! You’re my friend, I cannot risk your life to save mine. Do you have a plan ?

- Yes, replied Welly, follow me !

Welly decided to rub himself against the huge ham left there by Raoul and asked Princess if she could give him a few of her hair from her lovely fur. They then placed the hair on the meat. As soon as they had finished setting the trap, they quickly left the barn.

The mayor’s dogs arrived shortly after and discovered the ham. The meat was destroyed within seconds. In fact, those dogs were not crazy ! Why not have a succulent meal and then move on to the chase ! Their colleagues got the same idea and soon a fight broke out between the hunting dogs.

Their masters found them fighting over a piece of meat left in the corner of the barn. As soon as she saw the tuft white hair, the old school teacher fainted in the arms of her friend the mayor. The angry mayor, dropped the old lady on the floor before pulling the hair from the bulldogs’ mouths.

- You idiots ! said mayor Kennel in an angry voice, you ate the cat ! I will shoot both of you. I will teach you a lesson you will never forget !

- Oh ! my God ! replied Kam, we’re in big trouble !

Seeing their master so upset with them, charging his rifle and getting ready to shoot ; they quickly realized that they had to run for their lives.

- Let’s get out of here...! said Kim, there’s nothing more we can do.

They left the barn followed by the rest of the frighten dogs. When the old lady came to life again, she demanded that the remains of what she thought belonged to her beautiful Princess, be given to her.

- Mr. Mayor, said one of the volunteers, it’s very difficult to figure out what is cat meat and what is pig meat !

- Just do the best you can, replied the mayor.

From where they were standing Welly and Princess could see the dogs running in the fields and disappearing into the horizon. No one could tell if our “meat eaters” disappeared in to another country or if they landed on another planet. One thing for sure, not one single dog dared to return to Nokatstown. Meanwhile, hiding behind a bush, our friends were rubbing noses, patiently waiting for the appropriate time, when it could be safe for them to leave.

But, seeing her former mistress crying in the arms of the mayor, made Princess feel very guilty. How could she pretend to be dead, while that poor lady loved and missed her like a mother misses her child ? She stared at her mistress for a while and then looked back at Welly and said to him:

- You know my friend, I’m not having fun anymore ! I have deeply hurt my mistress. This is wrong Welly, I have been a bad Princess, maybe I should go home !

- If you do this, Welly sadly replied, I am a dead cat. I will admit that I was seeking vengeance toward those bulldogs for making my life so miserable in the village, but I had no intention of hurting your mistress. Tonight, I will personally take you home to be with her. You are very lucky to have someone who mourns you !

- Lucky ? replied Princess.

- Yes. Have you ever seen anyone mourn a tabby cat ? We live alone and die alone. We are common and this is reason enough to consider us useless. You know, I just realized that I could never measure up to your standards. We can remain good friends if you’de like ! I will gladly come and serenade you under your balcony and your mistress can keep on throwing shoes at me.

-You are so funny ! said Princess as she began to laugh at her friend’s comment.

- I’m serious ! replied Welly in a shy voice, I guess I’m not very good with words.

- I think you manage quite well... ! said Princess as she gave her friend a reassuring smile.

- Listen, you must remain here, said Welly, I will go and follow those humans.

- Why do you want to follow them ? asked Princess.

- Simple ! By following my ennemies, I will be able to find out what they are up to. Even if they think you’re dead, the mayor is still very upset with me. I don’t think he will ever forgive me for losing Kim and Kam.

- What do you think he is going to do ? asked the beautiful white feline.

- Oh ! He will probably come up with a strategy of vengeance toward me. It’s essential that I find out what they are planning on doing with me, I will be able to do that by spying in the mayor’office. I’m hoping that they will do nothing before tomorrow. I will bring you home tonight, then I will be able to defend myself without risking your life.

- The mayor will leave you alone, replied Princess, if my mistress tells him that I am still alive!

- You are so naVve my dear friend ! The mayor tried to kill his dogs because of me and they will probably never come back this way again ! Believe me, this man is after me and I have no intention of letting him win !

- But what if the mayor sets a trap for you before night fall, replied Princess, it would not be very smart to risk your life for me ! I can go home on my own !

- Absolutely not ! replied Welly, I will not let you walk alone at night on the streets of Nokatstown, it’s too dangerous ! You’re not used to being on your own and you might not know how to protect yourself !

- Okay then, she added, but be careful !

- Let me tell you something. If I would have chosen a safe and secure life I would now be dead of hunger ! I am accustom to taking risks and facing danger, do not worry about me I will be fine !

Welly followed the pack of hunters, disappointed by the turn of events. Our friend entered the village and discovered that it had been invaded by hundreds of cats. Sure enough, the tabby cats were all over the place ! They had nothing to fear since there were no more dogs left in the village.. There must have been at least fifty cats per table enjoying a fiesta at the merchants’expense. The merchants were screaming, yelling, threatening ; brooms were flying all over the place but nothing seemed to scare away our friendly felines as they kept on satisfying their hunger, with delicious pieces of pink salmon and succulent tuna.

The merchants were very upset with mayor Kennel, after the cats finally left, they began to count their losses and decided that they would seek compensation for the damages. They arrived at city hall where Mayor Kennel and his volunteers were trying their very best to bring comfort to a grieving Miss Penelope. When he saw the merchants, the mayor tried to reason with them.

- Gentlemen, Gentlemen, please...! he said, I am not responsible for the chaos caused by hungry felines! I will conduct a council meeting and we will get more dogs to protect our town, but unfortunately the town cannot afford to pay back your loss !

- What kind of a mayor are you, Theodore ! replied one of the angry merchant.

At that moment the merchants started chasing the mayor with their broomsticks. That’s when Miss Penelope opened her hand bag and started paying all the merchants. She felt responsible for the entire mess ; actually none of this would have happened if the dogs had remained in the village. The merchants accepted the deal without any kind of gratitude toward the old lady. Miss Penelope had a lot of money and it was the opportunity of a lifetime for those merchants to steal as much from her as they could. The merchants were being very dishonest. A merchant who had lost ten fish pretended that he had lost twenty. The poor school teacher, still very heartbroken, did not feel like arguing with them. She paid them off, and sadly walked away.

Welly had witnessed the entire scene and said to himself : “You people are nothing but a bunch of thieves and manipulators. How can you take her money without feeling some kind of guilt !”

Chapter 4

Welly found a hiding place on the roof of the mayor’s mansion and waited all day for the mayor to conduct a reunion with his council but nothing happened. The mayor spent the entire day at home resting and threating his wounds left by the merchant’s broomsticks. Welly realized that the story of the wasted fish was the one and only thing on the mayor’s mind. He decided to go back on the hill, to his beloved Princess, where he found her napping.

- Wake up Princess, he said, as he gently rubbed her with his paw, it’s time to go home to your mistress !

- I wasn’t sleeping ! she replied, I was thinking of you ! Are you okay ?

- Yes, I’m fine, replied Welly. You know, it’s too bad that your going home, I would have liked to show you the lovely city of Kittynokat and introduce you to some of my friends !

- How thoughtful of you ! replied Princess, but it’s useless Welly, my mistress needs me. Come we must go !

Welly and Princess began their journey back to Nokastown. As they arrived in front of the old lady’s door, our two friends looked at each other and exchanged their farewells. Afterwards, Welly energetically rubbed his paw on the door and at that moment it slowly opened. He then ran toward the stairs while Princess rubbed herself softly against the legs of a stunned Miss Penelope.

When she saw her, her mistress went from being surprised to being cold. How could she recognize her cat, with that ugly dirty hair full of fur balls ! Also, there was a lot of tuft missing on her back, the school teacher refused to let her in.

- Go away ! she replied, you ugly tabby cat !

- Miss Penelope it’s me Princess ! replied the poor cat. Don’t you want me anymore? Please let me in ! I’m sorry, if I hurt you, I promise I will never run away again !

Princess then tried to dash between her legs, attempting to walk inside the apartment and lay down on her comfortable cushion, located in the hall way. She was hoping to make her understand that she was quite familiar with the surroundings, that this was her home. But the old lady refused to listen to her and kicked her away.

- My poor Princess is dead, she said in a sad voice, and no one will ever take her place. I am warning you, leave my home !

Quietly sitting on the steps of the stairway, Welly waited patiently for the emotional reunion to take place, but froze when he saw Princess being thrown out of the apartment. The poor animal sadly returned to her friend.

- This is all my fault ! Welly cried out.

- No, my mistress didn’t love me! poor Princess replied, she only cared about my looks and her false pride about owning a beautiful rare breed feline.

- You must go back, Welly insisted, even if you have to bite her legs to be able to get in !

- Why? asked Princess.

- Because your mistress must understand that you are the one she lost and that she has now finally found you. After a good bubble bath, your hair will get back its brilliance and shine. Of course, you have to wait a few months for the lost tuft to grow back...!

- I don’t want a mistress who treats me like some kind of trophy ! I want to stay with you, said the lovely white feline, as she was slowly realizing that she might be facing a new destiny !

Suddenly, Welly’s attention turned to a little mouse who happened to be taking a stroll in the hallway. Princess, taking advantage of Welly’s distraction, ran down the stairs ; at that same moment a young boy opened the front door and she walked out, she was going to show Welly that she can live like a homeless tabby cat.

Meanwhile Welly, not realizing that Princess was gone, decided to take a short nap and let his friend sort out her feelings. When he woke up, he began searching for her, and calling out for her :

- Princess, where are you.. ! Answer me, please !

He began to panic as he suddenly realized that his friend was nowhere in the building. He quickly tried to think of a way out of that building, but unfortunately no one came to the door. He desperately waited hour after hour, worrying about his Princess, hoping that nothing bad had happened to her. Finally after waiting for what seemed a lifetime Welly was able to walk out.

He ran down the streets, but could not find her. “Where could she be ?” he asked himself. He then started to wonder why she hadn’t waited for him. He searched through dark alleys, roofs, fences and garbage cans while feeling a sharp pain in his heart. “What if she’s hurt ! Or what if another tabby cat got to her !” Welly started crying and feeling very guilty.

- Why did she do this ? I told her that the streets of Nokatstown were even more dangerous at night than in the daytime, especially for unwanted cats. She has always lived a safe and secure life, she has no idea of the obstacles she might be facing ! Oh God ! What if I never see her again !

He finally picked up her smell near the river bank, and then he saw her. Princess was quietly sitting there having a pleasant conversation with an old dirty tabby cat, a retired naval officer.

Princess’ new found friend was telling her all about his trips around the world and his duties on board the ships which included chasing unwanted mice. He gave Welly a warm welcome and said to him ironically :

- If you’re the one she calls Welly, you better count on her, to make you travel.

- Yes, Welly ! happily replied Princess, I want to find my country of origin. Blacky is kind enough to give me directions on how to get there !

- Blacky, that me ! said the old black cat.

- Very nice to meet you ! replied Welly.

- Hum ! I think your friend is upset with you Princess ! said Blacky, who noticed that Welly seemed a little annoyed, it might have to do with the fact that you walked out on him !

- Is that true Welly ? asked Princess.

- Of course I’m upset ! replied an angry Welly, you scared me to death ! What’s this business about travelling ? Why the sudden interest in your country of origin ?

- I want to find out if I’m really that rare ! replied Princess. I need to find out my origins because of my previous mistress. I should be angry with her but I can’t. There must be other rare breeds in “Milkeewayland” who would love to be spoiled by Miss Penelope ! The poor lady will surely die of lonelyness if she does not have a companion to pamper !

- I think you’re right ! replied Welly.

- You see, my previous mistress is convinced that I was eaten by dogs. What I would like to do, is to find her another rare breed cat.

- I think you have a good heart Princess, especially for such an ungrateful person, replied Welly.

- Come on Welly ! she said, Miss Penelope took very good care of me while I was living under her roof ; like a mother takes care of her child. One day she found me in a pet shop and gave me a home, I cannot accuse her of being ungrateful !

Welly came and sat beside her and asked Blacky to show him how to get to “Milkeewayland”. The elderly cat started laughing at his new found friends and said with a far away look in his eyes :

- It’s quite possible that I know how to get to Milkeewayland, since I travelled the four corners of the world and visited unknown countries to most cats. The name “Milkeewayland” sounds familiar to me. Hum ! Give me a minute to recall my adventures. Ah ! “Milkeewayland”, a beautiful magical place located at the North Pole.

- Now listen carefully, said Blacky, as soon as you get to the North Pole you must cross the valley of the Green Giant ; it’s the most quiet country side of the territory. Once you have crossed the valley you will find yourselves in front of the leprechaun moutain which you will have to climb, since Milkeewayland is on the other side of the mountain.

- So, what your saying, replied Princess, is that we have to go to the North Pole ? Isn’t that the home of the jolly old man with the white beard ?

- That’s right my beautiful Princess ! replied Blacky. You see, the North Pole is in front of you. You must follow your path and never look back ! If you should swerve from your path ; you will have to face many detours before arriving at your destination.

- How can we be sure that we are not deviating from our chosen path ? replied Welly, the road will not always be straight forward; numerous obstacles will have to be faced.

- What if there’s a river or a lake ? asked Princess.

- You will have to find a way to cross it, replied Blacky, either by boat or you might have to swim across.

- What about a volcano ? asked Welly.

- You may cross it, said Blacky, but just make sure that it is not actively erupting when you decide to do so.

- What about a huge brick or cement wall ? asked our tabby cat friend.

- You can always dig a whole in the ground, that should get you on the other side replied Blacky.

- What if we run into wild animals who would not appreciate our presence in their territory, asked Princess.

- Since they must also sleep, just be vigilant, you will figure out a way to get by, replied Blacky.

- Okay, said Welly, it’s now quite clear to me, what we must do. Good luck Blacky, and many thanks for your help !

- Blacky ! added Princess, I hope we see you again some day, take care of yourself.

So off went our two friends ; to what we may say, the greatest adventure of their lives! Welly was singing and Princess was applauding her hero ! Some day, they will have kittens of their own !

Will they ever return to Nokatstown ? Maybe ! Wouldn’t be fun to follow Welly and Princess on their journey to Milkeewayland, and see if they do fine another rare breed cat for Miss Penelope !

Pérignac 1994