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She dashed down the dirty, crowded city street, like a cat on a mission. She veered to the left to avoid a bum lying on the sidewalk, barely aware of having done so, as it was a regular thing. Dimly, she heard a child say, "Look Mama! A kitty!" She paused briefly, and turned her head in time to see the mother ushering the toddler away, muttering about rabies. Normally she would have been offended, but today she had other things on her mind and let the comment go.

She darted down the alley and under the dumpster. There was her baby, the last of the litter. Determination surged through her and she grabbed the kitten by the scruff of the neck. Quietly, she padded past the sleeping tom, who was her brutish mate. With the kitten in tow, her steps were slower, but no less determined. She walked briskly through the crowds, avoiding the feet of the humans, who neither saw nor cared about her or her kitten.

Anyone watching them would have seen a shabby, half beaten mother cat; one ear half gone, a slight limp from a bad leg, and many patches of fur missing and a small kitten barely old enough to be weaned, miraculously still intact, as though fiercely protected from the elements of the harsh, cold world. But of course, in the city, no one pays attention to anything.

As she walked a firm pace, the crowds thinned and the neighborhood was cleaner. She paused in front of the small white house, with a tire swing gently swaying in the breeze and a tricycle beside the house. This house spoke of love. She walked slowly to the porch and set her kitten down. With deliberate care, she bathed her baby one last time. The kitten looked at her and meowed weakly, barely able to move.

She looked at her kitten one last time, love filling her eyes; then she walked to the door, scratching and meowing loudly. When she heard footsteps, she dashed down to the sidewalk.

The door opened and a female adult human stepped out the door. "Oh, look, honey," the woman called to her mate, "Someone left us an adorable gift from God."

"Well, bring it in so we can feed it," the booming voice of her mate replied.

As the door closed behind them, the mother let out a soft "mew" for her baby, then turned and walked away, satisfied.
 
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