The little pink puffs weren’t the only things that were worrying her.
What really made her stomach twist was the random bits of fabric and paper that were mixed into the feline’s “gift.” She knew that she had seen those colors and designs before, but she couldn’t remember where she had seen them. When she finally discovered the truth, she couldn’t believe what her cat had done.
For Amanda Keppings, being a foster mum to fur babies was like a dream come true.
There was nothing more heartwarming than watching a pet find a loving, forever home. But one day, as she was browsing through some adoption sites, she found a particularly interesting case that broke her heart.
His name was Phoenix, and to say he had lived a tough life was a gross understatement.
On top of endless health issues, the orange and white ball of fluff had been bounced around from one home to another – with no family ever being able to commit to his adoption. Amanda knew then and there that she would have to step in.
It wasn’t long until the newest addition to her family came meowing and hissing through her front door.
But Amanda was an old hand when it came to making animals comfortable. It wasn’t long until the little guy was purring in her lap as she watched television. It was at the 5-month mark that Phoenix started to display an odd habit.
Some cats brought dead mice or birds home as “gifts” – not to mention bragging about their nocturnal prowess. But Amanda noticed he would bring in scraps of fabric.
Sometimes they were shoelaces or bits of a random string. It wasn’t long until a new kind of gift appeared on her kitchen floor.
At first glance, it looked like puffs of cotton candy scattered across her floor.
But when she looked closer and saw it was insulation, she started to worry. Materials like this would definitely hurt any pet who decided to chomp on it. That, however, was only the first layer of a larger mystery.
Little bits of paper were sometimes mixed in with the pink puffs.
The green and white scraps formed a design that looked familiar. It nagged at her for days. It was like trying to put together a puzzle without all the pieces. Whatever the source was, it didn’t look like the fuzzy boy was going to stop anytime soon. She had to take more drastic measures than the conventional training methods she had been using.
Through a mix of nighttime cameras and stealthy sneaking after her furry boy, she managed to pinpoint the source of the cat’s habit.
He would leap and crawl through the tree beside her house and then slide through a gap in the upper window … of the attic. She didn’t waste any more time. She had to see what he was doing.
Her first thought was that he was ripping out the insulation from her home. But when she finally found ground zero, the truth was equally troubling as it was hilarious.
She poked at the large hoard with a stick. Little bits of green and white paper fell out. The design was finally complete, and it made Amanda’s jaw drop to the floor.
The closest thing she could call it would be a “nest.”
Wads of insulation lay around torn scraps of clothing. But that wasn’t the only thing in there. There were feathers, dish towels, tiny stuffed toys, leaves, moss, assorted trash, and even a pair of reading glasses. But it was the leather wallet that really caught her eye.
The green and white paper was cash!
It seemed that Pheonix had somehow dragged an entire wallet into his horde and slowly ripped apart the money within – giving Amanda a few scraps now and then. She shook her head and opened the gnawed-upon wallet. Thank god there was a driver’s license inside!
Finding The Owner
It didn’t take long for Amanda to hunt down the owner.
The seventy-year-old man only lived a couple of blocks away. But it wasn’t enough to just give back the destroyed wallet with an apology; with the headaches, her kitty must have created, she had to go the extra mile.
She stood outside the old man’s house – a wrapped box in one hand and her cat carrier in the other.
When the thin, grey gentleman came to the door, and she asked if he had lost a wallet recently, his face immediately lit up with hope. She explained what had happened and then handed over the wrapped package.
Paying Back The Cash
The old man leaned down to look into the cat carrier – and at the little thief that had got the best of him.
With a chuckle, he tore back the paper to reveal a new leather wallet and four crisp, new $50 bills. His eyes turned wide. He shook his head and tried to give the gift back, but Amanda insisted he keeps it. After a nice cup of tea and a lovely chat, she went back home. There was one more thing to do.
Sending Out A Warning
Her story had a happy ending, and people would love the shenanigans that had unfolded, but there was a larger lesson to share with the world.
It was so important for pet owners to keep an eye on their pet’s behavior. They wouldn’t want their pets getting into something that could make them ill … or bring the cops.
Amanda decided to sort through her cats’ treasures to see if she could return any of them. Most of it was invaluable scrap pieces, but there were also a few small pieces of clothing and small toys.
She took a picture of the find and took out anything she thought someone could miss.
Amanda didn’t think anybody would come through to collect odd objects but thought it was the right thing to do anyway. She made a few posters to put up around the block.
The poster said, “Lost and Found. Please contact me if you have lost any small items, such as toys, and key rings. Call 5554692”
Being A Good Neighbour
Amanda wasn’t silly, and she thought there might be a few chancers who would call her to try and score some free things. So, she carefully wrote down all the valuable items and made notes about them.
There was a pair of small reading glasses, a small Teddy Bear, a dolphin key chain, a dog bone chew toy, a plastic rose, 4 random socks, and a little fabric bag. If someone were to call, she would first ask them to describe their item, then check if it fits the description.
As she walked around the block, she thought about how responsible she was for doing this. Most people didn’t care and wouldn’t be bothered. But she had to make things right, no matter how small the issue was.
A few kids stopped her at a light pole and asked, “What did you lose?” Amanda looked at them and replied, “It didn’t lose anything, I actually found something, so I’m looking for the owners” “Like a lost and found? The older boy asked, ”Yes, my cat actually has a habit of taking random objects from the neighbors,” she replied embarrassingly. “You’re weird,” one of the little kids said, and they rode away.
Amanda just shrugged her shoulders and carried on putting up posters. She had 5 more to go, and the street poles were empty. She noticed a few passersby stop and read her poster. “Hmm, she thought, perhaps I am helping after all,” and carried on pasting posters.
It was getting late and she needed to get back home.
A Good Feeling
As she walked back home, she noticed more people reading the posters. “I wonder how many calls I’m going to get,” she thought. When she arrived home her naughty cat, Phoenix stood at the door waiting to greet her. The cheeky cat happily rubbed his fur against her pants; he was happy to see his human. “And what have you been up to?”
Amanda asked her naughty cat. He meowed back at her as though he understood exactly what she meant by that and ran towards the kitchen.
Amanda took her shoes off and followed him; she was hungry, and so was he. Happy his owner was home, Phoenix followed him and started rubbing himself on her legs again.
Amanda was trying to get a box out of the cupboard, but her persistent cat was making it impossible, “What’s the matter, boy?” she sweetly asked.
An Annoying Feline
“Meeeeoooow he responded” he responded. “Hey, what’s going on? I’m feeding you right now. “Meow Meow,” he responded again. “You’re so hungry today, boy,” Amanda said as she put his bowl down on the floor. “There we go, big boy,” she lovingly said.
But what Phoenix did next shocked her.
Usually, Phoenix was already munching out her hand before the bowel even hit the floor, but today he completely ignored it. Amanda nudged the bowel closer to him, but he just snubbed it and walked around and around her legs again. She started to get worried and thought that he might be sick.
She picked up her cat, who looked her straight in the face and said, “Meeeoow.” Amanda checked his body and his fur; he seemed fine. With no injury, cuts, or bites. What could be his problem, she thought?
The irritable cat promptly jumped out of his owner’s hands and started rubbing himself on her again. At this point, she was getting slightly afraid and almost considered calling the vet when the cat suddenly ran out of the kitchen.
“Phoenix!” Amanda yelled after him. She followed her cat. He ran straight to his cat bed and wanted her to come with him. What Amanda found next made her jump with fright. She thought her cats’ burglary days were over, but clearly, he didn’t have enough yet.
In his bed were 2 half-eaten sausages. He was stealing people’s dinner now. This had to stop. What was she going to do? She couldn’t return half-eaten food. This was the last straw.
She always bought Phoenix the best, most expensive quality cat food; how rude that he still went out to find scraps when he was so well-fed.
She didn’t know what else to do, so he shouted at Phoenix. She angrily pointed to the sausages and said, “Who did that?” Phoenix looked at her. He didn’t understand why she was so upset. “Meeow he said and playfully clawed at her pointing finger.
“It’s not a game, Phoenix!” She shouted, “You are embarrassing me with the wild street cat ways” Phoenix just looked at her and carried on walking around her legs.
Exasperated, she got up and walked back to the kitchen. She was mumbling under her breath about what to do when Phoenix came back into the kitchen to annoy her, this time with a sausage in his mouth.
Amanda was at her limit, she shouted at Phoenix, and he ran away to his bed. She needed to rest; it was an eventful day.
The next morning, Phoenix sat on the couch happily licking himself as though he had done nothing wrong. Amanda started getting ready for her day when her phone rang. It was somebody calling about the posters. “What do they look like?” she asked. “They are a small pair with initials engraved on the side.” Amanda checked her inventory and sure enough, the neighbors’ descriptions matched. “I’m sorry about this. My cat has a terrible habit. You can come to collect them anytime.”
The man came to collect his reading glasses. When he saw Phoenix, he told Amanda that he was often at their house because he was friends with their cat. The neighbor was kind and laughed it off.
A Strange Call
A few hours later, Amanda received a second phone call. This time it was from a disgruntled woman. “I live just behind your house at number 18,” she said, “I know your cat because he always visits me every lunchtime and tangles up my kitting threads.” Amanda tried to stifle her laughter. This cat had brought her more drama than she could ever have imagined.
The lady said she had misplaced a special bag she kept in her knitting basket and wanted to find out if she had it. “There are very important valuables inside, and I can’t afford to lose them,” Amanda said that she would check and call the neighbor back.
A Real Treasure
The tired cat owner walked over to her inventory and checked for a bag; there was one. She picked it up. It looked old and weathered, and it didn’t look valuable at all. “I wonder what’s inside,” she thought. She opened the zip, and the bag was empty inside. Maybe this wasn’t the angry neighbor’s bag after all. But it did fit the description.
As she closed the zip, she felt something hard on the inside lining of the bag. She rubbed her fingers around the object to get a better feel, it was hard, and it had been sewn into the bag.
Digging For Treasure
Her curiosity got the better of her. She had to find out what was inside the bag. She decided to quickly cut the bag open and check what was inside. She was a great seamstress and would sew the bag back up so the owner wouldn’t be the wiser. Amanda knew she was prying, but this was the most exciting thing to ever happen to her.
She slowly took her manicure scissors and started to cut the inside thread. She pushed her fingers through to feel for the object. Her fingers found the hard object, she wrapped her fingers around it and pulled it out. She was amazed at what she saw in her hands.
Amanda was left in a predicament. She had found the neighbor’s bag, and it was valuable. There was a huge red ruby sewn inside. “It must be worth thousands of dollars,” she thought.
She picked up the phone to call the neighbor back with good news, but something stopped her. Phoenix was back, and he was causing a commotion.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.