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“Your cottage is being burgled!” announced my shocked landlady over the telephone. My first thought was: ‘My cats! Please let them be safe!’ I screamed home from work to my gorgeous cottage nestled on my landlady’s large property, terrified at what I would find.

I walked into my home to find it in a shambles with my belongings strewn everywhere. Marlene, my shaken landlady, stood trembling at the door. My two beloved cats, Strudel and Pretzel came ambling inside, puzzled to find their mommy home so early. Thank God they were safe.

“It doesn’t look like much has been stolen” I said, relieved.

“I interrupted the burglars” Marlene explained, “because of Pretzel.” I glanced at Pretzel who was now stretched out on my dining room table. “Pretzel? What did she do?” My black-haired kitty friend was notoriously shy of humans, but would spend hours rolling on the lawn with Marlene’s Doberman, Jonty. It wasn’t unusual to see Pretzel’s furry black head disappearing into the huge jaws of the family’s watchdog.

“I was making lunch when I heard a cat crying at my back door,” Marlene continued. “When I looked outside I saw Pretzel. Couldn’t believe it, really. She’s never been to the house.”

“And then...” I urged.

“I thought she was hungry so I gave her a piece of sausage, but she ran towards the cottage and started crying again. So I put out some milk, but she did the same thing.”

“Really?” I remarked, astonished at Pretzel’s unusual behaviour.

“Yup. That’s when I realised that something was wrong. I ran to the cottage and shouted your name. Then I heard something go ‘thump’ in your lounge and realised what was happening. So I ran back home and phoned the police and then you.”

“That’s amazing!” I gasped. I walked over to Pretzel and stroked her silky fur. “You brave girl you” I whispered, and kissed her head. Immediately she started purring loudly.

Some people have Dobermans to protect them. Me? I have a cat with a brave heart hidden beneath long black fur.

Diane van der Westhuizen
CAPE TOWN, South Africa

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