Once upon a time there lived a cat named Mutt that was raised by dogs. When he was a baby, he was very popular with the other dogs. He was just like them: energetic, adventurous and eager. After a year, something strange started to happen to the cat. His body got long and sprightly. His eyes lost their warm twinkle and turned haughtily beautiful. But the most incredible change of all was that Mutt was no longer interested in spending time with the dogs. ‘Can you guys keep it down? I’m trying to read a book here,’ cat would say to the family of dogs when they licked each other’s faces and gossiped loudly at the end of the day. The dogs couldn’t be blamed. They were a naturally gregarious lot. It was Mutt who was the deviation now.

Changes in Mutt

Then one fine day, the cat stopped wagging his tail when he met a member of his family. Tail wagging was a cultural norm among the dogs. Mutt’s lack of compliance sent waves of confusion among the ranks. For a while the theory was that the cat was depressed. Then one of the dogs informed the group that Mutt wasn’t depressed; he didn’t wish to wag his tail anymore. Apparently it was ‘too much effort’ and moreover, it showed too much ‘eagerness.’ The cat was summoned before the dogs for a meeting where he refused to comply with tail-wagging. This was too fundamental a deviation for the family of dogs to handle. And so the cat was ostracised.

Loneliness creeped in but not for long…

A depressed Mutt sat in the window of an abandoned house looking out the window at overcast skies. Suddenly he saw a creature that looked just like him peering at him from another house. ‘Let me not alienate people anymore,’ he thought and wagged his tail which, unfortunately, in cat speak meant, ‘Don’t you dare come anywhere near me.’ Thankfully, cats can talk through telepathy and so the other cat sent Mutt a message:

What’s there to get all uptight about?  

I’m not uptight! I want to talk to you.

Then why are you curling up your tail?

I’m just trying to be friendly.

You don’t need to do that. Just fix me with a cold stare. That’s how I’ll know.

Really? That actually sounds perfect!  

A whole new world, Mutt thought happily, not realizing it had been his all along.

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