Dainty Bird Diner tidbits


She sat primly on the front step of the diner. Her tail wrapped around her paws, posture up. Attentive rather than lazy. Watching, waiting--disinclined to move, as cats often weren't.

No one had bothered her so far, which made her bold, but also no one had paid her much mind, which also made her impatient. She wanted... food. She could smell it. Easy and reachable in some hands that passed. Better than hunting, which took time and energy. And the little cat's mind was curious in a way that was not hampered by danger or poor decision making.

The door opened again, and she "Miaaaaoooowwrrrrr," as cutely and loudly as she could up at the person, the demanding version of begging.
Ashley was an ideal mark for a begging cat.

She was short enough to hear a small meow, and especially a large one. She had a soft spot for animals. She missed having a feline friend around, Agostina's cat now safely in her new apartment and all. So when one appeared outside the diner, eyes impossibly large, Ash was taken in. Had to be careful not to... accidentally control it, though. She didn't want a nose bleed for dessert.

"Hi there," she said, a standard cat greeting. "Are you the diner cat?"

Shuffling off to the side so she wouldn't block the door for anyone else coming in or out, she bent lightly forward, waiting to see how friendly the cat was before even considering risking a petting. She hoisted her crossbody bag onto her back so it didn't slide inconveniently downward.

She had no food on her, though her hands would definitely smell like bacon.
A young woman stopped, and finally the prim paws shifted in a sense of anticipation, rounded head craning upward with curious sniffs. She understood the words, but her mind was very feline at the moment, and as such it meant very little. Cat? Yes, she was cat. A very charming little huntress, her tail flicking once as she let it unravel from her paws.

The lean, the hand--these were expected. And she was not skittish. After all, she was not some stray house creature. She was a mighty beast, an apex predator. If anyone here should be afraid, it should be the creature without needle teeth or hooked claws.

Not that Hope had either of these on display right now. She was all rapid sniffs and wide eyes, narrowing in on the bacon-scented digits. Closer, closer--trying to get a lick of that smoky, salty smell if there wasn't a sudden retreat.
It was impossible to keep the smile off her face as the cat turned its face up, puffy little inspecting cat breaths on her fingers. A rough cat tongue catching finely against her skin. Cats had the weirdest tongues!

"Are you sooo hungry," she cooed, beginning to settle into a crouch. "Who owns you here, hmm?"

Ashley tilted her head, looking for a collar, but so many people chose not to collar their cats. Which wasn't safe if they ever went outdoors especially! Ugh.
So hungry! It was true. But what was the woman going to do about it? That was the question as licks continued, growing more and more invasive as she sought out oils between fingers and under nails. She thought about gnawing, but didn't--yet.

For the moment she was content to take what she could get, and feeling even better now that the human had settled in in a more cozy stature. She's been snared.

A little growly meow around licks. Starrrrving kitty, save her, give her something to chomp.
She recognized that little hungry rumble. A desperate kitty sound, trying to play to people ears while putting across an important message.

Ashley glanced back toward the restaurant, not having brought out a doggie (or kitty) bag. What was a good snack for a cat? Bacon or sausage felt too fatty. Egg, though. Hmmmm.

"Okay. Stay put. Noooo following in, please," she said, and these words were for herself more than the cat. Warning to Ashley, who had once convinced a cat to bring her a towel.

Do not. Summon. The cat. With you.

She rose slow, testing herself. Testing the cat a little too.

"Be riiiiiighhht baaaaccckkk."

And she would, at least if the cat didn't follow.
Stay put?

She heard, a part of her not-so-animal brain acknowledging it, but she didn't understand it until there was movement again, rising. This meant the licking hand to stop, and the little cat sat back on her haunches fully again, elegant bowling-pin shaped, and licked her jaws, staring meaningfully up at the soft face of the woman.

Stay... but she'd be back. The cat would remain there for the moment, to see what was going to happen with this long-voweled promise.
No following. No nose bleed. No accidentally sending ants crawling out of the floor to spell out the word "CAT" on the ground while she waited for eggs. She poked her head up to the diner counter, meekly mewling for some scrambled eggs to-go, in a paper carton was fine. It was a cheap, quick, and slightly confusing transaction, but Ashley did it for the promise of the cat outside.

She blew on them to cool and stave off the steam as she stepped back toward the exit, not wanting to feed a cat too-hot eggs. But she knew that she was more likely to get a cat (looked like a kitten, really!) climbing up her legs than to get it to wait for patiently chilled treats.

Huffing and puffing a few times with almost comedic enthusiasm, she stepped out of the door, spotting the giant-eyed feline waiting so, so pretty.

"Look at you!" she cheered, both excited and hushed, waving her hand at the eggs one last time to bring them nearer to a palatable temperature. "You want some egg?"

Hmmm. Maybe better to do this by the parking lot and not by the door.
Hope sat patient while she waited. She did not bother trying to draw the attention of anyone else, now, content with the one she had on the line. It was some mixture of feline possession and human sensibility, and she cleaned her paws while she waited, the epitome of disinterest... until the door opened with the scent of the woman and the waft of hot, fresh eggs. She swallowed, and stood in anticipation.

Her tail waved under the fresh attention, a snakey movement in the air, without irritation. "Mraawwwaaa," she responded in her tiny feline voice, trilled anticipation.

But she didn't immediately stoop to offer this supposed egg, and the little cat's rear end sank back to the ground in a crouch, ready to move, to climb and attack the box if it was not offered soon!
She smiled, cheeks rising, eyes narrowing at the enthusiastic reception. Ashley saw that change in posture, and knew that especially with a kitten, some kind of climb was immanent.

"Let's get away from the door, okay?" she said, the began a careful shuffle toward a grassy area less in the way of potential diner traffic.

If the kitten followed, she'd settle into a crouch, poking at the egg and finding it a more palatable texture to tug a piece free and begin to offer out.
At least following put some of her energy into that rather than jumping. Her steps were quick and light and utterly silent to average ears. It was no issue to keep up, and she was right there when the lady came back down closer to her level.

Glacial blue eyes fixed hard on face, and then hand as it moved into the takeout container, pupils flexing.

The offering was taken swiftly, one paw coming up to wrap--clawless--around the hand that supplied, to hold it still while she took the warm morsel of protein. Overall demeanor? Starved, clearly. Never eaten a day in her life, needed it so bad.
Oh goooosssh. The warmest little toe beans she'd ever felt pawing onto her hand. Ashley only withheld a squeal to avoid scaring the kitten. Struggling to maintain a crouch, she let herself fall onto her butt, the eggs in their paper boat held in the hand not occupied by a cat.

"Okay, you gotta let go so I can feeed youuuuu," she said, knowing she could hold the egg down, but it seemed like it would encourage eating too fast?

It would all depend on how pushy the kitten was. Poor starving baby. Some part of Ashley's brain wondered if she might... take her home?
Unaware she was on the verge of being adopted, and more aware of the fact that she was being denied a face full of food, the cat licked at the fingers that had held the egg, searching for more, and--finding none and in theory hearing what was said, she sat down with a puff (not a thump, not heavy enough) and meowed again. Demand, demand! Compliance was the key to keeping this encounter from becoming a matter of WILLS.

The littlest huntress was very willful, and she would get what she wanted, one way or another.
She saw the fussiness. With her hands free, she was able to tear off another portion of egg to hand over. Something small and safer to eat. Ashley was content to hear this process, hearing the occasional coo of a passerby.

"I gotta find out if anyone owns you," she murmured, tilting some where she sat, looking for clipped ears, some sign that this cat was a pet.

It was very taken care of, but so tiny. Too tiny to be out here. She resolved to go inside and ask after the kitten after food was done. And if no one owned her, well...

Maybe. Ashley would give it a shot.
The cat would continue to eat whatever came her way, as quickly as she could, as if each little curd of egg was a tiny sparrow about to fly away.

No one owned her, of course, and she thought about this as she ate. No one could own her. Even if she was nothing more than the tiny cat sitting here, she was untameable.

Big thoughts for a very small were currently eating fairly politely from the hands of a human.
Little egg bites. She praised the cat with soft little "om noms" of her own, tearing off small, wobbly shreds of scramble bit by bit. As the container lightened and her offerings became shrimpier, Ash decided it was best to maybe leave this here to keep the kitty in place.

"Stay heeeere, okay?" she said, setting the carton down onto the grass with the last morsels speckled within.

Carefully, she'd rise, hoping not to scare the kitten, but wanting to go into the restaurant to ask about ownership.
The supplier of the food quickly became far less important than the steady stream of slowly cooling egg. And so when the carton went on the ground, the cat didn't even raise her head. Assumed, honestly, that the woman was going to go and get more food, as that was what she's done the last fine. So it was all fine by her, and in the meantime the little cat sometimes called Hope proceeded to lick the carton as clean as she could.

Little flecks of egg on her whiskers and above her brow, her next move was to chew on the carton itself, dangerous little teeth puncturing. A brief fixation while she waited, mind already beginning to jump to other places and activities she could do before her time with paws on the ground inevitably came to a close.
It took a few minutes. Nervously peeping her way to the front counter, asking a question that was met with confusion in return. What cat. Whose cat?

A little pink in the cheeks, Ashley returned slightly embarrassed, but determined. This was a tiny kitten, clearly hungry, and while very pretty, seemingly abandoned here. No collar. No clipped ear. Nothing. And so it was with a private loneliness that she crouched near the creature, speaking soft.

"You ready to go?" she asked, reaching a hand out for a tentative pet.
She had chewed through as much as she could. The egg still sat heavy and warm in her belly, and truthfully she was content. But when the woman came back, it was not with more food as Hope had expected. She was empty handed, and there was a look in her eye that made the cat pause, sniffing the air between them with a lack of understanding.

Yeah... she was probably ready to go. But what a strange thing to say to a cat? More quietly, less demanding, she meowed again. To her mind, a goodbye. And maybe a thanks, even, for all a cat did not feel gratitude quite like a person did.

One last pet for the road, she figured, even if she did flatten a little under the hand, unaccustomed to being treated like a housecat.
Shy kitten. She heard the meow, pretended it was an affirmative sound. Even if Ashley didn't keep her, she could make sure she was safe and healthy and had somewhere else to stay. Foster her! Or something!

Careful, slow, she bent forward, seeking to scoop the kitten with all the care in the world, supporting her little back feet as needed.

It didn't occur to her for even a moment that the cute creature might try to fight her beyond some reluctant kitty wiggles.
Though the little cat was big on attitude, she did know one thing with unfortunate certainty: she was very small, and vulnerable off her own feet.

So the realization slowly dawned on her that she was at risk of being picked up, and the response was swift after that. With an uneasy growl low in her throat, she twisted almost violently in the gentle grip, seeking to break away without outright attacking. But she would do what she must, if the woman tried to keep her. She needed to get every paw on the ground and make a break for it--her time here had already been overspent.
Oh gosh, oh gosh. The sound was bad, and Ashley felt an intense flush of embarrassment reach her face. She eased the kitten down slowly, her hands trying to hold her loosely, but inevitably providing opportunity for an easy escape.

In her mind, she tried to will for stillness, asking a power she never managed well to please, please work for her. Settle the kitten, Ash, please.

"It's okay, it's okay," she hushed, regretful and likely unsuccessful to boot.
The power grasped uselessly, unfelt by the creature that wasn't really animal at all. The grasp was weak, and while the reassurances were heard, they were not heeded.

For the best that she get out of here, immediately. Full on eggs given kindly, the cat was still quick when it counted, and she kicked and wriggled her hind legs completely free and then bolted, straight across the lot and away from the small mark of civilization. She never stopped to look back at the kind woman who had taken such gentle pity on her.
And then, Ashley lost her.

She shifted from her crouch to fall onto her butt, rendered weak by her own defeat. The cat whizzed off faster than Ashley could have imagined, and she frowned, eyes trailing from the vanished creature to her own empty hands.

Her nose didn't even bleed, which was almost hurtful in its own way. She could grasp this power if she wanted to.

Sighing, Ashley grabbed the paper carton from the grass, realizing how strange it was for her to be sitting here by herself in front of a piece of trash.

She rose, wondering if she'd frightened the kitten to its death somewhere, and walked to throw away the evidence of her failed feline friendship.
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