"The little red cat"

The little red cat suddenly stopped. Behind him kittens played on a summer field, catching each other and fighting playfully. It all looked so happy, but in front of him, on the surface of the water pond, he saw his Mommy. And she was weeping bitterly. He padded into the water and tried to touch her, and as he couldn't, he jumped into the water. Now he was all wet and Mommy's reflection vanished on the waves.
"Mommy!" he called. "Is anything wrong?"

The little red cat turned around. A lady was standing at the waterfront, with sad, but loving eyes. The little red cat sighed and climbed out of the water.
"This must be a mistake", he said. "I shouldn't be here".
He looked back into the water and saw the reflection of his Mommy again in there. "I am still a baby. Mommy says this must be a mistake. She says, I should not be here".

The friendly lady sighed and sat down in the grass. The little red cat climbed on her lap. It wasn't Mommy's lap, but it was at least almost as good. When she started petting him under his chin, exactly the place he loved so much, he couldn't help himself but started to purr, even if he didn't want to.

"I fear this is no mistake. It's your fate to be here, and your Mommy knows it deep in her heart", the lady said. The little red cat sighed and leaned his head against the lady's leg. "But she is so sad. It hurts me so to hear her crying like that. And Daddy is sad too".
"But they knew from the beginning that this would happen", the lady said with a caring look on the little cat.
"Have I been sick?"
The little red cat was surprised. Nobody had ever talked about it, and he often listed to them when they thought he was sleeping. They were always just talking about how sweet he was and how fast he had grown.

"No, they didn't know you were sick", the friendly lady said "But still they knew that they had chosen the tears".
"No they didn't", the little red cat said. "Who would chose tears?"
The lady softly kissed his little head. He felt safe and warm and loved - but he was still sorrowful about his Mommy. "Let me tell you a story", the lady said to him.

The little red cat looked up and saw the other animals coming closer. Cats - Big Boy and Snowball, Shamus and Abby and also Little Cleo and Robin. Merlin, Toby, Iggy and Zachary, Sweetie, Kamatta and Obie. Also the dogs - Sally, Baby and Morgan, Rocky and Belle. Even a little lizard named Clyde, some rats and a hamster named Odo. Expectantly all of them laid down into the grass aroudn the lady and looked up at her, waiting. She smiled and started:

"Long, long time ago, the little angels went to see the Leader Angel and asked him for help because they were so lonely. The Leader Angel lead them to a big wall with lots of windows and let them have a look on all kind of things through the first window - dolls, plush toys and toy cars and a lot more.
"Here you have something you can love", the Angel said. "These things will help you not feeling so lonely any more". - "Oh, thank you very much", the little angels said. "That's exactly what we need."
"You have chosen amusement", the Leader Angel explained.
But after some time, the little angels came back. "You can love these things", they said. "But they don't care about that we love them".

The Leader Angel took them to the second window. The looked through it and saw all kind of different wild animals. "You can love these animals", he said. "They will know that you love them".
The little angels were delighted. The run out to the animals. One founded a zoo, another opened a conservation area, others were feeding the birds.
"You have chosen gratification", the Leader Angel said.
But some time later, the little angels came back again. "They know that we love them", they said. "But they do not love us back. We want to be loved as well".

So the Leader Angel took them to the third window and showed them the humans. "Here are humans you can love", he explained to them. The little angels rushed out to the humans.
"You have chosen responsibility", the Leader Angel said.
But soon they were back. "You can love humans", they complained "but often the just stop loving us and leave us. They break our hearts". The Leader Angel shook his head. "I can't help you any more. You have to be content with what I gave you".

There one of the little angels noticed another window, and he saw little and big dogs, cats, lizards, hamsters and ferrets. The others gathered there and gazed at them. "What about these?" they called.
But the Leader Angel pushed them away from the window. "Those are emotion trainers", he said.
"But we have problems with their operating system".

"Would they know that we love them?" one asked - "Yes", the Leader Angel answered reluctantly.
"Would they love us back?" another asked - "Yes", the big Angel answered.
"Will they ever stop loving us?" they shouted - "No", the big Angel admitted. "They will love you forever".
"Then they are exactly what we are looking for!" the little angels shouted.

But the Leader Angel was very flustered. "You don't understand", he explained to them. "You have to feed them. You have to clean their home and always care for them."
"We will love to do that", the little angels said.
And they didn't listen. They bend forward and picked the tame animals into their arms, and the love from their hearts reflected from the animals' eyes.

"They are not well programmed", the Leader Angel shouted, "There is no guarantee for them. We don't know how long they will work. Some of them stop working very quickly, some hold longer!"
But the little angels didn't care. They hugged the warm soft little body and their hearts were filled with so much love that they almost burst.
"We have our chance!" they called.
"You don't understand", the Leader Angel tried to explain for a last time. "They are are made in a way even the most durable of them will not survive you. Your fate will be to suffer from their loss!"

The little angels looked at the animals in their arms and gulped. Then they said bravely: "That doesn't matter. It will be a fair trade for the love they give us".
The Leader Angel looked after them and shook his head. "Now you have chosen tears", he whispered.

"And that's the way it remained", the friendly lady said. "And every Mommy and every Daddy knows it. When they take you into their hearts, they know that you will have to leave them some day, and that they will have to cry."

The little red cat sat up. "Why do they take us with them then?" he asked surprised.
"Because even the shortest time of your love is worth the grief".
"Oh", the little red cat said and stared at the pond again. There was still the picture of his Mommy, weeping. "Will she ever stop crying?"

She nodded. "See, the Leader Angel was sorry for the little angels. He could not make their tears disapear, but he liked them a lot."
She dived her hand into the pond and let the water drip from her finger tips.
"He turned this water into healing tears. Every tear includes a little of the happy time and all the purring and petting and happiness with you. When your Mommy cries, her heart is healing. It might take some time, but the tears will make her feel better. After some time, she will not be that sad any more when she thinks of you, and just remember the wonderful times you shared. And she will be able to open her heart again for a new kitten."

"But then she will cry again some day!"
The lady smiled at him and got up. "But she will also love somebody again. That's what she will be thinking of". She took Big Boy and Snowball into her arms and scratched Morgan on her ear where she loved it so much. "See, the butterflies are coming. Shouldn't we go playing?" The other animals started running ahead, but the little red cat didn't want to leave his Mommy yet.

"Will we ever be together again?" The friendly lady nodded.
"You will be in the eyes of every cat she looks at. And she will hear you in the purring of every cat she pets. And late at night, when she's sleeping, you will be close to her and you both will have peace. And soon, one day, you will send her a rainbow, to let her know that you are safe and you will be waiting here for her."

"I like that", the little red cat answered and took one last long glaze at his Mommy. He saw her smile underneath her tears and knew that she remembered how he almost fell into the bath tub.
"I love you, Mommy", he whispered. "It's OK when you're crying".

He looked at the others, who were already playing and laughing with the butterflies.
"Oh, Mommy! I will go playing now, okay? But I will always be with you, I promise."
Then he turned around and followed the others...

- Author unknown