Urban Cats

The air was sour this side of the stone tree forest, right next to the thunderpath. The tomcat quickly scent-marked a stone tree despite his scent being overwhelmed by the pungent breath of the loud shiny beasts, for it was in his nature to mark his territory. He made the pass as quickly as possible, hurriedly slinking back into the sheltering stone spires of the white stone trees.

It was safe neither in the forest nor outside it, for outside he had to beware the two-legs and their beasts, while within the stone tree forest he had to watch out for its other inhabitants. They all shared the same stone tree forest; with too many of them in this small space there were always fights for territory. He usually won, for unlike the other cats he was still whole, and still had his fighting instinct within him.

When passing the dawn-ward border the tom made sure to mark it well, for on the other side was the territory of another tomcat, still whole and a fierce fighter. Their fight over this border two sunrises ago had left his claws sore. It was an intense battle, and despite the threat the tom loved the thrill of the battle. He made a quick pass by the shallow stone creek that ran along the edge of the stone tree for a drink before resuming his patrol.

The dusk-ward border was different. Here, the halfs shared the space. These cats were not normal anymore, not whole. They were changed after being caught by the two-legs and were never whole again. Their ears were clipped, not torn from battle but a clean cut of a two-leg’s touch. The tom knew he could exert his strength and expand his border into the territory of the halfs; they were weak and non-breeding, lacking the fire that made a tomcat, well, a tomcat. He knew they would not fight back. He took his border over by two tail-lengths and sprayed his scent markers over the spires of the stonetree.

There were more and more halfs these days, growing fat on false two-leg food and slinking up to their grubby hands begging for more. It was like the halfs had lost all sense of being a cat. They were unnatural, unable to breed or hunt and reliant on two-legs for protection. Some even slept within the two-leg nests higher up the body of the stonetree.

Unlike them, the tom was whole and strong, and felt a stirring to breed. He was getting restless, it had been many moon cycles since he had last bred a female. Not for the lack of trying, but all the females, while they still smelt whole, were unable to bear kit. They bore the marked ear of one touched by two-legs. One day, he would find a truly whole female.

There were always new cats coming in, brought in by the two-legs. They were weak and died easily when the two-legs did not bring food, for the halfs had forgotten how to hunt. The tom and his neighbour would meet the new cats in stride, whipping them submissive and out of their territories so that they would learn to not trespass. While the tom could not overpower the other in their battle for territory, he was unusually grateful for the rivalry, to have another whole tom with him amongst the shame of halfs.


– Excerpt from a potential cat anthropomorphism novel idea, depicting the strays living under HDB blocks.

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