How not to be stealthy when you're driving spy cats to the job

How not to be stealthy when you’re driving spy cats to the job

Continued from: It’s good to be a spy cat (Part 1)

Black is not my color. But it has some advantages I have come to appreciate. Slipping through shadows. Stealth entrances. And sneaking up on Pfizz.



“Boys!” Horgan yelled above the noise of the open window. “This is supposed to be a stake-out! Can’t you at least pretend to be quiet?”

We were in the back seat of Horgan’s pickup on the way to the “assignment.” His sister lives in Cheektowaga, only a short drive from Horgan’s butcher shop in East Aurora. It was blistering hot in the cab of his truck, which didn’t have air conditioning.

I was supposed to infiltrate his sister Hannah’s yard as a “stray cat”. Unfortunately, her own cat, Lilibeth, had met all of us at Thanksgiving—that’s why I needed the disguise. According to Hannah, Lilibeth had been acting strangely. Spending lots of nights away from home. Coming home once with another collar. Hannah tried to keep Lilibeth inside, but she kept getting out. Once she put up signs around the neighborhood, and Lily was found three miles away. Hannah was worried another family was going to steal Lilibeth forever.

I asked Horgan why Hannah didn’t just ask Lilibeth what was going on. “Teach her how to speak Cat. Then she can ask Lilibeth herself.”

Horgan sputtered. “That’s classified information!”

Lester and I shared a look. “It’s not hard,” Lester said. “Most people could do it, if they tried.”

“Yeah,” I added. “It’s mostly about understanding eyebrows and whiskers.”

“And tails,” Pfizz said. “Oh, don’t forget claws.”

“Purr frequencies.” Lester demonstrated with a loud, fast, happy blurt. “Mraow pitch.” A warning rumble.

“Shredding patterns.” Pfizz marked Horgan’s seat with an intricate wavy line of scratches. He tilted his head to look at them. “Although that’s more cryptography than linguistics.”

“What?!” Horgan cried. “That’s enough! Learning Cat is for CIA operatives only—it’s one of our most treasured secrets. I can’t just walk in and start talking to my sister’s cat. That’s what you’re for. My sister can’t know why you’re there.”

Typical. This was such an undercover case, the person I was working for didn’t even know it. Spy cats solve all kinds of problems for humans, and they never appreciate us.

“What am I supposed to do, then?” I asked. “Follow Lily? What if I get trapped in this other house forever?”

Horgan snorted. “Not likely. The reason you’re taking point is you’re fluff–er, long-haired enough to hide the GPS tracker, a spy camera, and a tool belt.”

Now he was talking. I checked the tool belt, which lay underneath Lester’s tail. Lockpicking kit, mini-grenade launcher, and three pebbles for ammunition. I should be fine.

I wondered what Lilibeth had gotten herself into. Hannah kept a fine home, for a human. Clean enough litter box, plenty of kibble, evan a cat flap in the garage door.

Why would Lilibeth want to leave?

to be continued…