Ten Cats in the Cupboard
by Heather Spiva
Ten-year-old Sasha Hopperdink lived in a house with ten cats.
Her mother, Mrs. Hopperdink, was allergic to cats and stayed as far away from them as she could.
Her father, Mr. Hopperdink, preferred dogs to cats and sniffed at her when she asked if he'd seen Fluffy, or Hickory, who weren't in their usual spot in the pantry cupboard.
"All that fur," he usually said, "we really should have dogs, much more fun, I think."
Sasha would usually raise her eyebrows when he said something like that, and reply with something like "But you can't fit ten dogs in a cupboard." But, usually, he never heard that part, and went back to carving wood sculptures in the basement.
Her brother, Michael Hopperdink, liked the cats and even helped her feed all ten of them. Yet, he always made sure not to tell his friends about them when they came over. Sasha's odd love for the ten kitties embarrassed her 14-year-old brother.
Despite her parents dislike for them, and her brother's embarrassment over them, Sasha loved them. One time, she even dressed all of them up in dolly dresses, and had a tea party.
Fluffy 1 and Fluffy 2 were fine at the tea, sitting around licking their paws. But Hickory, Dickory and Dock wanted nothing to do with it. Tawny, Tan, Black, White and Gray were more interested in batting at the cups and saucers than sitting still. They spilt more tea than she consumed, thoroughly turning her tea party into a circus act.
But, that didn't matter. The best part of having ten cats was that these ten liked to sleep in the same place, every day and night, which was in the pantry cupboard just outside their yellow and white kitchen.
Once, when Sasha's neighbor lady, Mrs. Snoodgrass, came over for a visit, she opened the pantry cupboard by mistake thinking it was the powder room. She nearly died of fright when ten cats came out for a visit!
"They're cats!" she stuttered, "And ten of them!" she shrieked.
Mrs. Snoodgrass left at once, leaving her hat behind. She couldn't stay in a place like that, she had said when she rushed out the back door. Sasha frowned. It seemed no one liked her ten cats - no one but herself.
One night, when everyone was tucked into their soft and cat-free beds, Sasha visited the ten and squeezed into the cupboard. "I'm sorry everyone doesn't understand. I love all ten of you, yes even you taffy, although you ate all my gummy bears at the tea." Sasha had taken Mrs. Snoodgrass' hat into the cupboard with her and the cats. She put on the hat, and let the fake grapes fall into her right eye, and let Dickory and Dock bat at the plastic banana and apple, perched over her other eye.
Suddenly, there was a rattle at the back door. It was a wonder Sasha even heard it at all, amidst the purring and meowing, and the sound of fur and swishing tails. Sasha was scared. Mom, Dad and Brother Hopperdink were all in bed. Who wanted in? Was it Mrs. Snoodgrass? Had she come back for her hat?
Sasha peaked through the cupboard door, opening it about an inch. She could see the kitty door opening up and a man squeezing through it! A mask covered his face, and he carried a large black bag. "Probably here to steal our stuff!" Sasha whispered out loud. The cats peered out the crack with her, watching the intruder deftly fit through the cat door.
"Well kitties, now's your chance to prove how great you all are!" When the thief moved across the room, stopping to inspect a loaf of bread and butter on the counter, Sasha opened the pantry door wide, and said. "Get him!"
The ten cats attacked the burglar, and made such a ruckus, that the rest of the Hopperdinks woke up. They tumbled down the stairs to discover the skinny thief, who was now covered in cat fur and scratches, and Sasha, who was now on the phone with the police.
"Unbelievable!" said her brother, his mouth open.
"Astounding!" said Mrs. Hopperdink, in the middle of a dozen sneezes and watering eyes.
"Well, I never!" said Mr. Hopperdink, finally persuaded that cats were far superior in intelligence and prowess than he once thought.
And faster than you could say "kitty, kitty", the police took the thief away, and peace was restored once more to the Hopperdink house. The cats got an extra serving of tuna, even though it was one o'clock in the morning. And Mrs. Hopperdink didn't even seem bothered by her extremely itchy nose.
Mr. Hopperdink was happy with the ten cats. "Maybe ten cats are just what we need after all."
Brother Hopperdink looked impressed and sighed with a smiled. "You have quite a great brood of cats there, sis."
Sasha smiled, glad to know that her family finally saw things her way. She put on Mrs. Snoodgrass's hat, moved the plastic grapes to the side and asked, "Tea anyone?"