AUGIMUS, THE ASTRO CAT

Augimus was no ordinary grey tiger-striped cat. She was a space explorer, a traveler of the stars. Her owner, the astronaut Bucky Raygun, had designed for her a special cat-sized flying saucer, retrofitted with paw-sensitive buttons, allowing her to travel forwards, backwards, even sideways around the galaxy. Being a cat flying saucer, it ran on milk.

When Bucky Raygun first gave it to her, he said, “Now, be careful, Augimus. Space travel can be fun and exciting, but it can be very dangerous, too. Don’t let your curiosity get the best of you.” Augimus was only half-listening to her owner; mainly she couldn’t wait to get in the spacecraft and whiz around the stars. But she purred and nuzzled Bucky’s ankles to show her gratitude and ensure she would play it safe.

The next day after a breakfast of tuna treats, she hopped in her saucer and took off immediately. The saucer turned out to be very simple, the buttons were the perfect size and it turned out Augimus was a natural pilot. She flew around aimlessly for a brief while, and then decided to go exploring.

The first planet she landed on was Textilia, whose entire ecosystem consisted of fabric surfaces, such as corduroy trees and wool forests. Augimus drank in her surroundings, claws itching to tear into the whole landscape. There were few pleasures in the world as satisfying as scratching fabrics, and Augimus could hardly wait to get started.

The Tweed mountain range looked especially enticing, and Augimus couldn’t help but scratch the sides of the geologic wonders. It was perfect, not too yielding, but not harsh enough that her claws would get caught. Augimus purred contentedly, she could stay here all day.

Twilly, the gruff retired prospector who lived in the mountains was not pleased by Augimus’ presence. He awoke from his mid-morning nap when his lean-to began vibrating up and down. When he saw Augimus out the window, he knew she was responsible for his rude awakening. She wasn’t the first feline visitor to Textilia. He ran out of his lean-to, determined to shoo this unwanted guest. “This is private property!” he yelled, brandishing a large stick of what looked like Berber carpet. “Go scratch someone else’s home!”

Augimus high-tailed it out of there, hissing at Twilly for his rudeness. She then touched down on a planet called Cuto, a small pink planet orbiting a green polka-dotted moon with a lavender bow wrapped around it. Augimus exited the saucer and glanced around, noticing that everything on this planet was teeny-tiny and cutesie-poo. There were pug puppies in porkpie hats and vests handing out ice cream cones from their truck to little duckies. There were baby penguins driving taxi cabs and itty bitty kitten newsies selling papers with headlines like, “Widdle Mice Sooooo Cute!” and the op-ed piece, “Who’s a Good Boy? You Are! Yes, You Are!” The streets had names like Awww Avenue and Uhwushwushawushawhoo Boulevard.

Suddenly a crazed cry erupted from the sky. A deep, booming voice shouted, “Kitty! Kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty!” A little girl, who was actually fifty feet tall, reached down from the heavens to grab Augimus from the corner of Aren’t You the Cutest Road and Fuzzy Wuzzy Street. Augimus darted around the corner just in time. “Come back, kitty kitty! I think I’ll call you Twinkie. My widdle widdle Twinkums kitty kitty!”

Madly, Augimus dashed to her flying saucer, while onlooking bunnies in berets and mice in ascots pleaded with their eyes, “Take us with you!” She didn’t dare look back, though and once safely inside the spacecraft, she hit the Light Speed button and blasted home.

Back home on Earth, Augimus snacked on some salmon and parmesan cheese, sat in Bucky’s lap and allowed him to pet her and dreamed of traveling to other, more exotic (but safer) worlds.

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