Comet the Kadoatie
The Kadoatery is a place where owners can drop off their precious little balls of fur while on holiday. It’s nice enough there – you go in, look up pleading with your sad kitty eyes until someone feeds you, sleep in a warm comfortable ball, and then get picked up and returned home to a wonderful, leisurely life of lounging on windowsills and storing hairballs under the couch. That is the story of a Kadoatie.
Comet was not one such Kad. He couldn’t remember much of his babyhood, but he assumed it was one of those sad stories of a litter of kittens left in a cardboard box on the street in the pouring rain. In any case, he had been a street Kad all his life, roaming around picking at trash, completely unaware of the luxury offered to others like him.
He didn’t complain, of course, not even when his snowy white coat became matted with dirt or the stormy sky battered him with rain. He did dream of something better – a warm house, a roaring fire, a laughing family...
Sometimes he sat outside houses, peeking in. He knew he belonged in there. Other small critters lived in those houses. Their owners held them, fed them, and loved them. Comet dreamed of one day being a house Kad. He dreamed of somebody to love and to love him in return.
It was during one such daydreaming session that Comet found himself wandering Neopia Central. He came upon the plaza and ambled around, sniffing at the air and prancing through the dewy grass. It was nice being outside on a beautiful, sunny morning. He did love the outdoors – but living in a house would give him the privilege of shelter without taking away his freedom to roam.
He paused, front paw in mid-step, and sniffed at the air. It smelled like Pizzaroo. His little stomach growled and gurgled, but soon the smell disappeared as he trod further along the path, keeping to the outside. People didn’t notice him anyway—he was so dusty and covered with dirt that he nearly blended in—but he preferred to stick to the side where the least amount of eyes would follow him. Comet was a bit shy.
He passed by the plushie shop, looking up at the passing crowds with luminous, curious eyes. His dusty paws carried him to the Wishing Well, where dozens of people were tossing in coins, some smiling and joking, some looking anxious, and a few looking very befuddled. He continued walking past the Well, and then he came upon something he had never seen before.
Comet was sure he had never set foot in this section of the plaza, because he surely would have noticed this. Standing tall and shining in the sun was an enormous statue of him, perched on top of a large square building. Comet stood frozen in shock, staring up at the huge replica for quite a while. When he finally pulled his eyes away, they fell on a sign beside the building that read, “Kadoatery.”
At first, he thought he was dreaming, but as he stood at the side of the dirt pathway, flabbergasted by this unfamiliar building, he caught snatches of conversation as people hurried by him.
“—feed the Kads.”
“—hope I’ll make it in time—”
“Let’s go, we’re gonna miss them!”
“I wish I had a Kad.”
Comet’s eyes widened, and his thoughts drifted to his grumbling stomach. They had food here – it must be some kind of shelter for Kadoaties just like him!
He padded over to the entrance, carefully weaving through the legs of the people and pets as he stepped inside. He kept looking up, afraid he might get stepped on, for he was very small and very easily squished. Comet couldn’t tell exactly what was going on; he couldn’t see past the forest of legs or hear above the excited chatter. He smelled the food, though. There were a thousand smells flooding the place—hot dogs, pizza, warm gooey baked goods, delicious soups, juicy burgers, melted cheese...
Comet closed his eyes, savoring the incredible blend of smells as his stomach constricted like a clenched fist. He hadn’t realized he was this hungry. The alluring aromas stirring his appetite made painful pangs crop up in his belly.
Then suddenly the noise of many people talking at once faded. Comet opened his eyes. All the people had gone, and the place was empty. The traces of all the wonderful smells were slowly dying away. He perked up his ears and looked around, finally able to see.
“Well, hello, little guy!”
Comet jumped, caught off guard by a loud voice above him. He whirled around, gazing up with scared eyes at the source of the noise. A friendly-looking red Scorchio was smiling down at him.
“You don’t look familiar. Are you a stray?”
After a moment’s hesitation, Comet nodded. He curled his tail around his bottom and ducked his head a little, still fixing his eyes on the Scorchio. Sitting this way made him feel a little safer, though he couldn’t explain why.
“Poor thing, you look scared to death.” The Scorchio rummaged in his pocket and pulled out a handful of cookies. “Here.”
He placed them on the ground at Comet’s feet. Comet glanced up at the Scorchio before dipping his head and gobbling up the cookies. It felt good to eat, though the cookies only seemed to whet his appetite. But a Kadoatie has a relatively small stomach, and now that he’d started eating it wouldn’t take much more to fill him up.
The Scorchio smiled. “Plenty more where that came from. People come in here to feed Kadoaties like you every day. Not really strays, of course – this is generally just a place for owners on vacation to drop their Kads.”
Comet’s ears drooped. Not for strays – he didn’t belong here. This was a place for real pets.
“Hey, don’t be sad! We can take you in, little guy!” Encouraged by Comet’s ears perking back up at this comment, the Scorchio continued. “Plus, we’d probably be able to get you a home. People go crazy for Kads.”
Comet’s eyes widened. A home? This was too good to be true – tasty food and the offer of a home? He let out an enthusiastic “mew!” and the Scorchio laughed.
“Exciting, huh? You must’ve been through a lot.” He slowly extended his hand, and Comet bowed his head, giving permission for the Scorchio to pet him. “I volunteer here, so I’m the one watching over the Kads right now. Let’s go find you some more food and get you cleaned up, okay?”
Comet purred contentedly, leaning into the Scorchio’s hand. What a stroke of luck – and all just because he had been wandering and daydreaming.
- - - - -
It felt good to be clean again. Comet strutted back and forth, showing off his sleek white fur. His stomach was full, he smelled like strawberry shampoo, and he felt like a new Kadoatie. He couldn’t stop talking, emitting happy little mewls of utmost joy as he paced back and forth, padding around on his clean white paws. The Scorchio looked on in amusement. He was filling out some paperwork at the desk.
“I set up a cage for you,” he said. Comet paused in his pacing, staring. The Scorchio, sensing Comet’s unease, continued, “Don’t worry – they’re roomy enough. It gets the job done until the Kads get picked up. Or in your case, adopted.”
Comet thought for a moment, then resumed pacing. The Scorchio checked the clock on the wall. “Well, they’ll be hungry any time now. And that means this place will be full of people again. I better get you set up.”
He and Comet headed over to an array of cages. A wall of Kadoaties stared down at Comet in silence. Comet mewed. They all mewed back. He breathed a sigh of relief; he’d been afraid these Kadoaties wouldn’t associate with him since he’d just come off the street.
“All right.” The Scorchio opened an empty cage and placed Comet inside. “Here.”
He fixed a cardboard sign to the front of Comet’s cage.
“Looking for a Home”
Comet gave a grateful mew. The Scorchio smiled, gave him a pat on the head, and left, heading back to the front desk. Comet stretched out, walking in circles around his cage.
Suddenly a bell jingled, chiming in the entryway. Then the doors of the Kadoatery opened and Comet stood up tall, gave his proudest smile, and waited for someone to take him home.