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Misty, the One in a Million Cat
Story by Debbie Lewis, Illustrated by Jay Corrales �2005

Angel sat in his room holding his cat Misty and wondered what to do. He had heard his mother tell his father, "Tomorrow morning, we will take Misty to the veterinarian to be spayed."

"Spaded??" Angel said to himself. Angel didn't know what spaded meant. A spade to him was one of the shapes on his playing cards. He could only imagine what Misty would look like if she was spaded. "Yes," Angel's father told his mother. "It is not right to have a cat who can multiply."

"You can multiply?" Angel asked Misty. Misty just purred in reply. Angel was just learning to multiply in school and it wasn't easy. He knew Misty was a special cat but a cat who could multiply? That was really special.
Angel's mother came to tell him that tomorrow Misty would be spayed by the veterinarian so she couldn't multiply. Angel knew better than to argue with his mother but he knew he would have to stop Misty from being "spaded."
Angel called his best friend, Sarina.

"Sarina," Angel said, "I need your help. Mom and Dad want to take Misty tomorrow to be "spaded" because she can multiply. Will you hide her?"

"Misty can multiply?" asked Sarina. Sarina didn't know what "spaded" meant but she knew that Misty should not be stopped from multiplying.

"She is a one in a million cat," declared Sarina, "and we have to keep her from being spaded."

So they made a plan. Angel brought Misty to Sarina.

"Remember, you can only keep her until my parents change their minds about having her "spaded". And I get to come to your house so Misty can help me with my multiplication homework."

"OK," said Sarina, "but you have to let her help me too."

Angel went to sleep that night feeling that, for now, his problem was solved. Tomorrow he would tell his parents that he needed a cat who could multiply and try to make them understand.
Angel awoke to the phone ringing. It was Sarina. "Angel, you must come to my house now! she shouted. "Misty has multiplied! She is not just a one in a million cats! She is a million cats in one!" Angel was still half asleep. "Sarina," he mumbled. "Why are you so upset? I know Misty can multiply and she is a one in a million cat, not a million in one cat. That is why I hid her with you." "Not multiply, multiply! She multiplied!" Sarina yelled. "Angel, come over here now before my parents wake up and see for yourself!"
When Angel reached Sarina's house, he saw what she meant. Misty had multiplied. Into hundreds of cats who looked just like Misty. There were Misty cats all over the front yard. "How did this happen?" Angel asked. "It is your fault," said Sarina. "You should have let your Mom and Dad take Misty to be 'spaded'. Now what are you going to do?", asked Sarina.

"I have an idea," said Angel. "Misty is a special cat. She knows how to play and she keeps me company when I am lonely. These other Misty cats are probably just like her. We can give them to other people who need a one in a million cat. It will be easy to find them all good homes." "Well," said Sarina, "it is worth a try. Let's go."

So they gathered up as many Misty cats as they could carry. But everywhere they went, they found that no one had wanted their one in a million cat "spaded" either. The whole town was overrun with everyone's million and one "unspaded" cats.

Angela and Sarina went back home. Misty and her Mistys were waiting. And there were even more than before. They wanted to be petted. They wanted Sarina and Angel to play with them. They wanted to be brushed. They needed their litter boxes changed.
Angel sat down on the steps and started to cry. His original Misty crawled on his lap and started to talk. "Angel," she said, "I know you think I am a special cat, a one in a million cat. And yes, I can multiply. But as you can see, that is not a good thing. But spaying me is. If you want to keep me your one in a million cat, then I must be spayed, which means there won't be a lot more Mistys to take care of. Now if you agree, then I will show you another trick, but you must close your eyes." "Yes," said Angel, "I made a mistake. I didn't understand what spading meant. Now I do and I wish that I had let my parents take you to be spayed. Please do your trick, Misty."

And Angel closed his eyes.

When Angel opened his eyes, he was back in his bed in his room. Misty was curled up next to him purring. He looked around. Had the other Mistys followed him home? He did not see any other Mistys in his room. Was it all a dream? His mother opened the door to his room. Was he in trouble? Did she find the million and one Mistys in their front yard?

"Good, Angel," she said. "You are awake. Your father wants you to help him take Misty to the veterinarian to be spayed. There are too many cats already who can't find good homes like ours. After Misty is spayed, she won't have kittens who need homes. That will mean other kittens and cats will have a better chance of finding homes."

"Yes Mom," Angel exclaimed, "I want Misty spayed. She is my one in a million cat and I want to keep her like that."

Thank goodness it was all a dream about Misty and her million and one Mistys. Misty was spayed, not "spaded". Angel learned how to do his multiplication homework with his teacher's help.

And Angel makes sure he tells everyone he meets that they should get their dogs and cats spayed because he now knows that a one in a million cat is better than a million and one cats!

About The Creators Of This Story

About The Author

Debbie Lewis is a Florida Native, vegetarian and life long animal lover who, since childhood, has been involved in spaying/neutering of abandoned cats. Her inspiration for her animal work is her mother, who was an activist in the 1970s in her community, advocating for government sponsored free and low cost sterilization services and an early proponent for mobile spay/neuter units.

Debbie believes that by focusing on the education of children about the need to spay or neuter and care for their animals and making free and low cost sterilization easily accessible in every community, the result will be a future without unwanted and suffering animals and the millions of dollars spent in our communities to kill healthy animals could go toward more positive uses, including providing veterinary care for animals of people who love their pets but can't afford the medical care.

About The Illustrator

Jay Corrales was born in Kansas and moved to South Florida in 1990. He is presently attending Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, where he is studying graphic design.

This story is reprinted on The Animal Spirit by request of the author. Publishers may contact The Animal Spirit for contact information for the author and illustrator.

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