For its entire life, the kitten never experienced any human care or kindness.

The kitten had never seen human care or kindness in its entire life.

The little cat sat down and began to wash herself right in the middle of the footpath. She was washing grains of sand and other dirt off her paw, and suddenly one of the wheels of a big baby carriage hit her right in her skinny side. The baby squeaked loudly and jumped aside, but was immediately hit by a woman’s shoe. Probably the girl could not find any other way to get the obstacle out of the way. After that she went on with the stroller as if nothing had happened. She was completely indifferent to the fate of this little lump, which hindered her simply by its presence.

The blot remained sitting where it had been thrown from the blow. If she hadn’t been so skinny, she might not have noticed the kick, but the little one had never known what it meant to eat to her heart’s content. She fell silent, lay down on the sun-warmed asphalt, and didn’t move.

Blot was neither hurt nor offended. She had never seen anything good from people in her life and simply did not know that it was different. She didn’t know that kittens could be loved and happy to have them, that they could have tasty food and clean bedding. And she could not imagine that a human being could caress animals with his own hands instead of hurting them, even in her wildest dreams.

Perhaps someone would have picked up Blotch if he had seen her. But the tiny girl-cat looked more like a dirty piece of fur and was almost invisible among the withered autumn grass.

Surprisingly, it was the blind grandmother Anya, who was prescribed by doctors to take daily walks, who discovered Klaksa. The elderly woman obediently set off every day to walk along different routes, tapping her Nordic walking sticks.

The blot lay in the same place without moving, and would have remained unnoticed if it hadn’t been for a fly that landed on her ear. The little one had already reacted to almost nothing, and only slightly twitched her head. But the fly was persistent and did not want to leave the cozy platform, which forced Klaxa to twitch her ear a little harder. It was this movement that the old woman saw. The piece of dirty fur turned out to be a kitten, which looked so unhappy that Grandma Anja’s heart trembled.

Suddenly the old woman heard someone calling, «Anna Vasilievna!» As a rule, only former pupils called her by her first name and patronymic. And indeed, raising her head, the woman saw that Kolya was standing in front of her. But how much he had changed! In his school days, he was one of the worst slackers — an incorrigible bully and a bigot. Now, in front of Anna Vasilievna stood a well-groomed, well-dressed man. In his thin-rimmed glasses he even seemed intelligent, and the former teacher would never have recognized him if he had not come up first. They talked for quite a long time — about school, about life, about classmates. All this time Nikolai looked curiously at Klaksa, who was sitting in Grandma Anya’s arms.

— Did you get a kitty cat? — Finally he asked.

— Kolenka, it’s too late for me to get a cat. She’ll outlive me, what will happen to her?

— What do you mean, Anna Vasilyevna! You’ll live to be a hundred years old! — Nikolai encouraged the teacher.

— Thank you, Kolya, but life has its own plans.

Nikolai looked at Blotch. The kitten did not cause him absolutely no emotion, but for some reason suddenly wanted to show himself in front of the teacher with the best side.

— Let me take your kitty! — unexpectedly offered Nikolai.

Baba Anya was very happy to give Klaksa into safe, as it seemed to her, hands. She thanked Kolya and went in the direction of the house. The former student stood and looked after her, wondering how much the teacher had aged — after all, at school she seemed almost immortal.

Then the man headed for his big beautiful car, but suddenly he remembered something and stopped. He let the kitten out on the lawn, wiped his hands with a napkin, got behind the wheel and instantly forgot about the meeting with the teacher.

Blot no longer reacted to the changing faces, hands, and surroundings. She seemed to herself a little rag, tossed back and forth like unwanted garbage. The little girl lay down, resigned to her fate, as suddenly she heard Anna Vasilievna’s voice above her: «I knew it! I knew it! Well, people don’t change, no matter what you say.»

The teacher remembered how fickle, boastful, and sometimes even mean Nikolai was at school, and discreetly stopped aside. From there she bitterly saw how her former student threw the kitten on the lawn and ran away on his own.

As if in a beautiful dream, a cup of fragrant, fresh broth floating with finely cut pieces of meat appeared in front of her. Her stomach churned with hunger, and she pounced on the food, forgetting everything in the world. Wanting to drink every last drop, she put her head so far down into the bowl that only the tips of her ears were sticking out. Having eaten enough, she suddenly felt a burst of strength and lust for life.

The blot was no longer an unwanted rag. Gradually she became a real cat, full of energy and vitality.

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