I am a stray. I wander the city day and night searching for food, water and shelter. I am always wary of any strange noises. After 6 months on the streets, I should be used to them. But I’m not, because I’m always scared. Scared of cars, scared of people and scared of other strays.

            I eat from dumpsters behind stores and if I get really lucky, a small bird. Water is hard to find here in the big desert city. I’m thirsty a lot. During the day, I’m on the prowl for food and water. When the sun goes down, I search for a safe place to sleep. Sometimes I’m very cold and even a broken cardboard box will do. Summer is better because I won’t shiver all night. I’ve gotten very good at sneaking into places I shouldn’t be just to be in a safe place where I can sleep.

            I’m scared because one of my buddies ran into traffic and all I heard was a thud. I ran as fast as I could to safety. I never saw him again. I think he was scared into the path of a car. I remember hearing the car screech as it tried to avoid him. I miss having him to prowl with.

            I don’t know what happened to my mom. She left us to get food for her four kittens and never came back. I pray that someone found her and gave her a good home. We, her kittens, scattered looking for ways to stay alive and well.

            One day, my brother was sleeping in a parking lot near a vent to stay warm. A nice lady in a car drove up and scooped him into her arms. She put him in her car and drove away. I’m hoping he found a loving home with her. I hope someday I will too.

            My life is sad and probably won’t be very long life. Strays don’t have much luck living on the streets. We face disease, traffic, weather, other predators and hunger every day. I wish people would take pet over-population seriously. Then there would be a lot less of us trying to survive, knowing we probably won’t.

            Till then, I keep doing whatever I can do to stay alive.

            Because I am a stray.

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