Mitch was in the middle of his daily run, jogging along a path bounded by a creek on one side and trees and shrubbery on the other. It was a peaceful natural area, and he loved to jog there in the mornings because he felt more energized after being out in nature. In the evenings, he usually would come there to walk with his dog, Riley, to relax after a long day at work.
Mitch was approaching a large clump of shrubbery when he heard a small noise coming from the bushes. He stopped running and listened, not sure of what he’d heard. Then he heard it again – a short, high-pitched meow. Intrigued, he slowly approached and looked into the nearest bush. Peering at him from inside the bush was a pair of yellow cat eyes. As he watched, a small pink mouth opened and meowed again. Then a small, black kitten timidly crawled out, sat in front of him, and meowed up at him with its tiny voice.
Mitch stared at the kitten in surprise. He had certainly not expected to come across something like this on his daily run. The kitten wound itself around his legs and continued to let out tiny meows as he tried to decide what to do. The kitten didn’t look very old. It had probably been weened not long ago. But it was kind of dirty and looked slightly underweight. He didn’t think it belonged to anyone. He considered taking it home, but he wasn’t sure how Riley would react to it or how the kitten would react to the dog.
The kitten began climbing his leg, then made its way all the way up to his shoulder, where it crouched and began purring. Mitch instinctively reached up and petted it, and that was it. He was going take the kitten home.
Cutting his run short, Mitch returned to his car and headed home. When he opened front door, Riley greeted him enthusiastically, jumping at him and trying to lick his face. Mitch had to hold the kitten out to the way as he tried to calm the yellow Labrador down.
Mitch ordered the dog to sit, then took the kitten into the living room. He put the kitten on the floor then called for Riley. The dog ran into the living room and stopped instantly when he saw the kitten. Mitch watched anxiously to see how the two would react.
Riley crept up on the kitten slowly, curious to investigate the newcomer. The kitten hunched down and gave a short hiss, but didn’t attack immediately. Mitch took it as a good sign.
Riley sniffed the kitten, and the kitten leaned back as the dog invaded its personal space, but it still didn’t attack.
Riley finished sniffing, took a step back, and sat down. He panted and his tail wagged. Then he dropped to all fours and let out a short yip, wanting to the play with the kitten. The kitten stared at it with narrowed eyes, as if it considered the dog and its request beneath him. But Riley continued yipping, and the kitten finally gave in. It lunged at Riley with its claws sheathed, and the dog jumped and ran off. Riley paused at the entrance to the living room and looked back. The kitten was standing where Riley had been. It stared at the dog a moment, then ran after Riley.
The two continued like that for a few minutes, with the kitten keeping Riley on the run throughout the house, playing chase. Mitch settled down on the couch with a sigh of relief. He would still keep an eye on the two for a few days, but he thought that them not immediately fighting and playing instead was a good sign and that they would become good friends.
This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, “run”: