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The World's Largest Kitten

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One afternoon the wizard Mister had adopted off of the street came home and placed a small, perfectly spherical ball of fur on the floor in front of Mister.

"Mister, this is Mouse. Mouse, Mister," the wizard, whom Mister had dubbed Sparky, said. "Try not to destroy anything. Or kill each other." And he left as if that was that.

Mister studied the ball of fur. It seemed to be emitting a regular panting noise and, when Mister crept closer to sniff it, an improbably large tongue emerged from the ball and licked Mister right across the face. It took a good minute of carefully rubbing his paw over his whiskers for Mister to get all of the slobber off. All along, the ball of the fuzz just rested there on the floor, panting happily.

After Mister was clean once more, he decided to take pity on the poor kitten. It clearly didn't have any proper notion of how to clean itself or how a real cat was supposed to act. He spent the next few hours painstakingly licking the kitten clean. This was difficult because the fluff that surrounded the kitten was very long and thick, and the kitten kept wiggling around and trying to drool all over Mister's face.

Mister demonstrated to the kitten several times how a proper cat licked its paw first and then rubbed at its face to keep it clean. The kitten pounced on the stub of Mister's tail where it was twitching in an impatient manner on the floor. Mister let out a dignified screech in response and, stub held high, stalked from the room.

***

Several weeks passed and, Mister was sad to say, the kitten's manners hadn't increased in the slightest. Its size, however, had. In fact, the kitten was now larger than Mister.

This first became obvious to Mister when the kitten came up to Mister's favorite spot on the armchair where Mister slept away most of his Sunday afternoons and flopped down right atop Mister with a resounding 'whump.'

The sound of air deflating emerged from Mister's mouth, and he scrambled as best he could to get out from under the gigantic kitten and back to fresh air. It was a lot of fur to swim through, but eventually Mister made it to safety.

The kitten just grinned at Mister, tongue hanging out of its mouth in a thoroughly uncivilized manner. It shamed Mister at times, how little he'd been able to train his adopted kitten. But then he remembered that he'd never asked to be a stepfather in the first place, and the kitten really was hopelessly dense about these things.

For example, the kitten just didn't seem to understand that when your pet humans called you by name, it was your proud duty as a cat to turn a cold shoulder to them. Instead, the kitten ran to its human when called, like the human was the master in that relationship. Absolutely scandalous!

And then the kitten would actually retrieve things. Sparky would throw a ball or a stick, and the kitten would go tearing off after it and bring it back to the human. That sort of thing simply wasn't done!

In fact, a terrifying number of the kitten's activities centered around their pet human. The kitten never left the house without him (although Mister now had to admit that that was probably because the kitten couldn't slip through the door the same way that Mister could), and the kitten followed the human around pathetically, begging to petted, instead of giving their human the proper disgusted look when he pleaded to touch them.

All in all, the kitten really was an impossible creature. Dim-witted at best, actively brain-damaged at worst.

Mister sighed at where the kitten still sat in Mister's favorite chair, completely oblivious to the fact that it had almost smothered Mister. Then, Mister shrugged in the best manner a cat could, and turned to lie on the kitten instead. That worked much better than the kitten trying to lie on him.

And, Mister concluded, as he burrowed himself into thick, luxuriant fur, at least the kitten made a good, warm, soft bed.

***

More months passed, and the kitten - quite shockingly - grew to be larger than the giant wild cats that inhabited that strange human realm known as the 'zoo' and whom Mister liked to tease by dangling dead mice just outside the reach of their cages. The kitten truly had grown into a monster to be feared, except for the fact that it was just as placid and eager-to-please as it had always been.

It let Mister muscle in on the food first, even though Mister had once accidentally gotten in the way of the kitten's paw when they'd rushed for the food and had ended up careening halfway across the room at just the slightest brush of the kitten's paw.

It also let Mister use it as an oversized mattress and didn't even complain properly the few times Mister's mischievous instincts kicked in and he'd dug his claws in past the layers of soft fur.

The kitten also, to Mister's horror, let their pet human walk it around on a leash. Of course, by that time Mister had given up any hope on the kitten retaining any catlike dignity. After all, it was almost a full-grown cat now, and it still hadn't even learned to lick itself clean or properly use the litter box.

All in all, Mister didn't mind having such a dull roommate, if only because the kitten proved to be such an excellent foot-warmer on chilly days. That was one of the few things that alarmed the kitten, yet it allowed Mister to warm his feet, nevertheless. So disgraceful to the name of cats everywhere...

"Here, Mouse," Sparky said, holding out the leash.

The kitten went when called, and dribbled merrily all over the human's face.

"That's a good boy. Good dog."

Mister turned up his nose in disgust at the whole situation.

"Let's go for a walk."

Tail swishing (and not even in a sarcastic way!) the entire time, the kitten followed their human out the door.

Mister sighed. That, he supposed, was what happened when a very silly human got the notion into his head that his newest kitten was actually a dog.

There was nothing Mister could do about it now, of course, and in the end it wasn't so bad. After all, the one advantage to having the kitten the size of a small horse around was that there was always plenty of food lying about. Digging in to the kitten's giant dish, Mister concluded that maybe everything had worked out for the best, after all.

Because the 'best', of course, meant what was best for Mister.