A Short Fable by Suzanne Gunn

She had three cats and a dog and a lame vegan tiger named Spritz.

Spritz had been donated by a circus that could no longer afford the liability insurance.

At first the cats and dog were terrified of the great beast but over a period of weeks they grew to be a family. The biggest cat, Papa Grey, couldn’t understand why the new cat wouldn’t hunt and started to bring Spritz nice freshly caught mice. Finally Spritz ate one and immediately craved another. It had been warm and soft and rich to the palate. So much better than oatmeal and soy gruel. In his heart and mind ‘something’ clicked into a new position and he began to change inexorably into a very real tiger.

Two cats and the dog were missing when she realized that Spritz was somehow different and scary. She went outside to call Animal Control and watched through the window as the tiger sprayed his scent on her recliner. Ah, she thought, Spritz was more than a name.

The Animal Control officer was kindly. He called for assistance from the zoo and, after the tiger was gone, helped her remove the damaged furniture, wrote her a ticket for harboring a wild animal and asked her out to dinner.

“All in all,” she mused over a perfectly chilled martini, “a rather nice ending.”

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