A story by Helen Nyman
Illustrations by Emma Pennisi
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One of the dancers, called Fifi, was paying special attention to her whiskers, as last year at the party King Freddy had winked at her and told her that she had the prettiest whiskers he had ever seen. She was hoping that maybe this year he would say something nice about her to Queen Suzi and that just maybe the Queen would call her to be one of her ladies in waiting. What she didn’t know was that the Queen always chose unattractive ladies in waiting. In that way, she herself looked more beautiful!
The cat’s chorus was rehearsing the music for the party. There were two Russian cats, one Swiss who was particularly good at yodelling, and five Afro-American cats who brought a tone of gospel to the singing. They were arguing as to who would sing the national anthem to open the festivities, and it was finally decided that Boris, a very handsome cat from Siberia, would have the honour this year as he really did have a superb voice, especially when he’d had a saucer of coconut milk with a drop of vodka added to it.
There were only two police cats on the island as most of the inhabitants were well behaved, but just to keep the occasional trouble maker in order, King Freddy had appointed Sergeant Nelson, a black cat with only one eye - he’d lost the other eye in a nasty fight years ago but didn’t really like to talk about it. Sergeant Nelson’s right hand cat was officer Sam who was an excellent runner, which was a great advantage when he had to chase naughty kittens who liked to steal fish from the fish shop when they thought no one was looking.
It was the day before the party and everyone was very busy doing last minute things and preparing special food dishes to take to Queen Suzi, who made it quite clear that she appreciated any gift that involved food.
Amber was in a real tizzy as she had promised to help the royal cook Tilly with the final preparations for Cat Prides food, but the fish shop was full of busy shoppers and she just remembered that she had an appointment to take her kittens to be vaccinated at the hospital in half an hours time. “Heavens”, she said, “I’ll never be able to do everything on time!” The three little ginger kittens were quietly sleeping in a basket under the counter, but as usual Lucky the black kitten was missing. Amber knew just where to look. You see, Lucky had a passion for climbing trees and he liked nothing better than to run right to the top of the palm tree that grew outside the fish shop. Rusty could never understand where Lucky had inherited his climbing skills from, but Amber said his Grandfather had been a great tree climber, and no one ever dared to question her!
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