she howled as she raced away from the school yard. She just had to find some peace and quiet.
The quietest place Katie could think of was her own backyard. She knew nobody would be home. Both of her parents were at work. So were her neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Derkman. Mr. Derkman was at the office, and Mrs. Derkman was at school watching the parade with all the other Cherrydale Elementary School teachers.
Katie wished she could be back at school, too. She had really wanted to be part of that Halloween parade. But she knew she couldn't be there now. All the kids were afraid of her. And besides, this black kitten suit was a lot more than just a costume. Katie really was a kitten. At least until the magic wind came back, anyway.
Katie walked quickly through the tall grass. Her stomach grumbled as she walked along. She was so hungry that even the thought of eating a mouse sounded good to her.
How disgusting was that?!
Katie purred sadly.
I'm never, ever going to listen to Suzanne again,
she vowed to herself.
I should have fed the kitten when I had the chance.
A few minutes later, some familiar houses came into view. Katie had found her way back to her own block. She was almost home.
Katie moved her four little feet as fast as she could. Finally, she reached her front yard.
Katie could feel herself getting excited as she spotted the big tree in front of her house. Suddenly, she had an overwhelming need to scratch at the tree. She didn't know why. She just knew that there was nothing else she would rather do at that moment than scratch and scratch and scratch at the wood.
As soon as Katie reached the tree, her claws popped out from her front paws. She stood up on her hind legs and began to scratch at the bark.
“Aaaahh,” Katie purred contentedly as she felt the soft wood of the tree under her claws.
Scratch, scratch, scratch.
She couldn't believe how much fun this was. Katie scratched harder and harder. She purred and purred.
A car horn beeped in the distance. Ordinarily, Katie wouldn't have even noticed it. But to Katie's sensitive cat ears, the horn sounded very, very loud.
Katie thought. Suddenly, it was kind of scary just to be outsideâeven in her own yard. Katie felt so small. And everything else seemed so loud and large.
Maybe it was best to go inside her house. At least she knew she would be safe there.
Katie raced onto the porch and squeezed herself through the open downstairs window. She landed in her living room. Quickly, she scampered over to the couch and curled up on a soft pillow.
Mmm . . . it felt so warm and cozy ...
“Ruff! Ruff! AROOOOOOO!”
Katie's ears perked up, and her whiskers suddenly twitched. There was danger coming. She could sense it.
Oh, no! Katie had forgotten all about Pepper. How could she have not remembered her own dog? What a strange day this had become.
Pepper growled angrily in Katie's direction.
“Pepper, get away from me!” Katie shouted at her dog.
Pepper stopped for a moment and cocked his brown and white head, listening. Katie could tell he sensed something was different about this cat.
“That's it, Pepper. You know it's me, don't you, boy?” Katie said quietly.
Pepper looked at the kitten curiously. He was obviously trying to figure out what was going on.
“That's right, it's me,” Katie purred to him. “You're the only one who can recognize me when the magic wind does its switcheroos.”
Pepper may have suspected that the kitten was really Katie, but that didn't change the fact that he was still a dog and she was still a cat.
Pepper growled again as he raced in her direction.
“Oh, no!” Katie meowed. She quickly leaped up onto the windowsill. Then she squeezed her way out of the house and back into the yard.
The window was only open by a small crack. A tiny kitten could fit through it, but a big cocker spaniel couldn't.
Still, just to be sure Pepper didn't find some other way to get out of the house and come after her, Katie climbed up the tree and balanced herself on a branch. No dog could get her up there.
Pepper leaped up onto the couch and scratched at the window.
“Pepper, stop it!” Katie hissed down to him. “Mom's going to be mad if you leave marks on the window!”
But Pepper wouldn't listen. He just stood there barking and barking at the Katie-cat in the tree.
Katie couldn't believe it. She was being barked at by her own dog. The magic wind sure had made a mess of things this time!
Still, she felt pretty safe up in the tree. And it was kind of comfortable up there. “This sun feels really good right now,” she purred.
She stretched out her long black body and let the sunlight warm her tired back and legs. Then she reached down with her rough pink tongue and began licking her paws.
Small pieces of black hair got caught on the rough parts of her tongue. They tickled and itched as they slid down her throat.
This is disgusting,
. I can't believe I'm licking my own feet! And I'm going to get a fur ball stuck in my throat if I don't stop swallowing all this hair.
But she kept on licking. After all, she was a cat now. And that's what cats did. They licked themselves clean.
Finally, Pepper grew tired of barking at the kitten in the tree. Katie figured he was hot and thirsty from all the barking.
Now that Pepper was quiet, Katie decided to leave. She stood up on all fours and gave a little push on her back paws. In a moment, she was in the air, leaping from the tree branch to the grass below.
As she moved through the air she straightened her body, positioning her legs so that they would be the first things to hit the ground when she landed. A moment later, she was standing on the ground, her body ready to run.
As she raced through Cherrydale, Katie leaped up on fences, then pounced down to the ground. She pushed herself to jump farther and farther.
Wow, it would be nice to be able to jump this far when I'm human,
I could be the star long jumper on the school track team!
A few minutes later, Katie stopped her running and jumping and stood still. She opened her mouth slightly and smelled the air.
“How weird is this?” Katie meowed softly. “I'm smelling with the roof of my mouth!”
No matter how she might be doing it, Katie knew exactly what she was smelling. Meat! Delicious meat! And it was coming from that trash can over there.
If she had been a fourth-grade girl again, Katie would have been totally grossed out at the idea of eating from a trash can. And she certainly wouldn't be eating meat! But Katie wasn't a fourth-grade girl. She was a kitten. A very hungry kitten.
Katie shouted excitedly as she dashed over to the trash can.
But before she could reach the meat, Katie was stopped by a tall woman in a black coat. The woman scooped her up in her arms.
“It's you again,” the woman said in a crackly voice.
Katie looked up at her. It was Mrs. Hamilton!
“You can't make a meal out of my garbage,” the old woman said as she gently stroked Katie's fur. “Come. I'll take you someplace where you can get a proper meal.”
“Okay, little one,” a man with a gentle voice said as he placed Katie down on a soft table covered with white paper. “You stay here, and I'll be right back.”
Katie replied nervously as the man walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.
Katie was scared. Mrs. Hamilton had put her in her car and driven her to this place. After they'd gone inside, she'd handed her over to the man.
And then he'd left her all alone in this cold little room with no windows and only one door. Katie felt scared and trapped.
she shouted out nervously as she leaped from the table to the floor, searching for a way out.
But there was nowhere to go. There was just the one door. And that was closed.
Katie began to paw nervously at a wooden cat tree in the corner of the room. She scratched and scratched, going around and around the wooden post until she spotted a small metal bowl of water in another corner of the room.
Katie was one very thirsty kitten. She stopped scratching the post, padded over to the water, and began lapping it up.
As she was drinking, Katie's whiskers began to move slightly. They could sense that something was changing in the air. A slight breeze had begun to blow.
Within seconds the breeze turned into a strong wind. Before long it was a tornado, spinning and spinning right around Katie.
Katie shouted out nervously.