Once upon a time there lived a girl cat and a boy cat. They were very good friends even though they lived with two different families. Their two families lived on the same street so whenever the girl cat and the boy cat went outside they would play together. They would run and chase things and climb trees but not too high. Sometimes they would even pretend fight but made sure that they never hurt each other.
They just loved playing together.
Then one day when they met outside, the girl cat all upset said, "Something strange is going on in my house. My people are gathering everything together and putting it all in great big boxes and closing all the boxes. The whole house is being emptied. What do you think it means?"
The boy cat didn't know but said, "Let's ask the cat from the old house across the street. Maybe he knows."
So they ran across the street and waited until the old cat came out. When this cat heard the girl cat's story, he replied, "That sounds just like what happened to a little grey cat who used to live down the street. His people put everything into boxes and then a few days later, a great big truck came and took everything away and the little grey cat went away too. I think it means that you, little girl cat, will go away soon with your people."
"Oh no," said the little girl cat, "I don't want to go away and leave my very best friend in the whole world. What can we do?"
"Well," said the old cat, "I don't think you have much choice. We cats never get asked what we want."
"I have an idea," said the boy cat. "If you are not around the house when they leave, then you won't have to go away. Let's run away and then we can always be together."
"Oooh," said the girl cat with a shiver, "I'm afraid. Where are we going to sleep and what are we going to eat?"
"I'll look after you," said the boy cat bravely. "We'll be okay".
"You'll be sorry," said the old cat. "It's hard not to have a family to look after you."
"Well it's harder to think of my best friend being taken far away. Come on let's run away now. I'll look after you, really I will."
"Okay," said the girl cat in a scared little voice. "Goodbye, old cat, live long."
And so the girl cat and the boy cat started bravely up the street.
At first, it seemed like a wonderful adventure to be all on their own and they ran and played for the first few hours. When it got dark, they started looking for a nice cosy place to curl up to sleep. One place that looked inviting was in thick grass tucked into the corner of a house and they went closer to see how comfortable it would be.
Just then a dog came running, barking around the corner. "Get away, get away and don't come back or I'll chew you up!" the dog yelled and the girl cat and the boy cat ran as fast as they could.
When they finally dared slow down, the girl cat said, "That was awful. I was so frightened. It is much scarier being out here than I thought it would be and I'm also getting very hungry. Aren't you?"
"Yes," said the boy cat, "I was scared too and I am also getting hungry. Let's see what we can catch."
So for the next while they worked very hard at finding things to eat but only found enough to take the worst hunger pangs away and started getting really tired.
"I think we need to get some sleep," said the boy cat. "Maybe things will look brighter in the morning. We should be safe over there under the porch if we sort of keep an eye open for big dangers."
Then they settled down under the porch even though the ground was hard and prickly and they both dropped into exhausted sleep.
So the two little cats struggled on, spending most of their time trying to find enough to eat and a safe place to rest each night. As the days and nights got colder, they had to curl up closer to try to keep warm and it was even harder as they got thinner and thinner. They never had any energy to play the way they used to. This went on for many days and weeks until they were far, far away from their old homes.
"I am awfully cold and tired and hungry," said the girl cat. "What are we going to do? I don't think I can go on much further. I almost wish we had never run away."
"Oh little girl cat, I am cold and hungry too," answered the boy cat. "But at least we are together. Maybe we can think of something to do to solve our problem."
"Do you think we could find a new family for both of us to live with," said the girl cat. "Wouldn't that be nice?"
"Hm," said the boy cat, "that's a pretty good idea. Let's ask around and see if anyone knows of a friendly house?"
So whenever the girl cat and boy cat met another cat, they would ask politely if the stranger knew of a friendly house who might want them but the answer was always, "No, and get away from my street, there are already too many stray cats around."
The poor two little cats got thinner and more raggedy looking each day. Their poor little paws were sore and it was harder and harder to go on.
One day, they happened to pass a house where a pretty blond lady was just opening the door to let a cat go outside. "Be careful out there, Diamond," she said in a kind, soft voice, "and let me know when you want back in."
The little girl cat stopped and looked longingly at the lady and the house. "Oh, if only we could find a house and a sweet lady like that," she said wistfully. "Do you think the cat, I guess his name is Diamond, and the lady would let us in?'
"Maybe if we try really hard," said the boy cat. "I think we have to for we can't go on any further or we will both die. But first we must try to make friends with Diamond."
So the girl cat and the boy cat sat down and watched while Diamond sat on the top step of the open porch. They both moved a step forward, but immediately, Diamond started growling, "Go away, this is my house and stray cats are not welcome on my porch."
"Oh kind sir," said the little girl cat, "we don't mean to cause any trouble, but we are so very cold and tired and hungry. We have been travelling for forever and can't go on much further on our own. Couldn't you allow us to come into your house? Your person seems so nice and kind and we would be very good."
"Didn't I just say that this is my house?," growled Diamond in response. "I don't need a couple of vagabonds around to share with. Go away." And with that he took a couple of menacing steps forward which made the girl cat and boy cat retreat to a safe distance.
"Now I am going back inside for a nap," said Diamond, "and I don't want to see you two around the next time I come out." With that Diamond stuck his tail in the air, stalked up to the door, meowed, and when the door was almost immediately opened, disappeared inside.
"I guess we better move on," said the boy cat.
"No," said the girl cat. "I can't go any further and I am going to wait right here until Diamond lets us come into his house. I don't think he is as mean as he sounds and, anyway, I am going to stay here.
"But little girl cat, what if he won't ever let us in?," asked the boy cat.
"Then I will just die right here," answered the girl cat, stubbornly.
And so they settled down to wait and each time Diamond came outside they again very politely asked him to please help them and let them come inside. Diamond kept growling and threatening and chasing them away but they never left. This went on for days.
Then one day Diamond came outside as usual and the girl cat and boy cat were not in their usual spot. So Diamond went looking for them, for after all, cats are always curious and he found them in a corner of the back yard where the poor little girl cat was lying on her side breathing hard and the little boy cat was very carefully washing her face and telling her, "Come on, my dearest friend, please try to get up. Please don't give up."
When the boy cat saw Diamond, he said, "Little girl cat is dying, won't you please help? Please, sir?"
And when Diamond saw that the little girl cat really was very, very weak, he felt sorry for them and said, "Do you think girl cat can make it up to my house with your help? If she can, then I will really try to get my lady to let the two of you come inside and look after little girl cat."
So little girl cat made a last supreme effort and got on her feet and by leaning on both boy cat and Diamond, they made it to the back door where Diamond meowed very loudly and the door was opened after a few seconds by the blond lady.
Then Diamond stood aside and boy cat carefully helped little girl cat inside with Diamond following. At first the blond lady just stood and stared at them and then, with tears in her eyes, got very busy. First she filled a bowl with cold, clean water and placed it right in front of the two little strangers. Then she opened a can of delicious smelling food and gave each of them their very own plate and even helped little girl cat get down the first few mouthfuls. Next she went upstairs and returned with two just cat-sized thick blankets and put one down for each lifting little girl cat very tenderly onto one. Then she kindly left them alone for a while to finish eating and to finally, after such a long, long time, sleep without having to keep one eye open watching for dangers.
Both little girl cat and boy cat slept for 20 hours waking just long enough to eat some more.
Two days later, the two little cats got frightened when the blond lady against their protests put them into a box with a door on it but Diamond, who was supervising this, said, "It's okay, she is probably just taking you to see a nice man who will look at you and make sure that you are not sick and then you will come straight back again and I will show you where everything is."
And sure enough, that's just what happened. The man did prick them with some needles but that didn't really hurt and they both remembered having that done before and then they were home again.
And what a home. They had again all the food they wanted to eat, lots of toys to play with and the blond lady had a very nice warm lap when wanted and knew just the spot behind the ears where scratching felt so good. They also got their very own collars so they wouldn't get lost when going outside.
After a while little girl cat and boy cat understood that they had been named Pearl and Sapphire and so Diamond, Pearl and Sapphire lived happily ever after with the blond lady.