The next morning, Luka was weak from hunger and sick from being out in the cold rain. Dew had settled on his gray fur. He dragged himself to his feet and continued his journey, not knowing where he would end up. After many, many failed attempts, he finally caught one scrawny mouse, but it was not enough to curb the appetite of a growing cat. He spent another night in the field.

The next day, he marched on for hours, keeping his eyes on the greens hills and forest ahead. There was some kind of red, human-built structure on the horizon. Maybe he could find another home. Or, if no one would take him in, maybe he could find shelter and prey in the forest.

Finally, after much light-headed walking, he collapsed in the tall grass and closed his eyes.

:::

When he awoke, Luka was in a large, dark room filled with dried grass and other animals: huge black and white and brown ones he'd never heard of. He could hear rain hitting the roof, and through the window, he saw that the moon was high in the sky.

It was warm and dry in here and he was feeling much better already. A big-boned she-cat with shaggy chocolate-colored fur padded up to him. She dropped a mouse in the hay in front of him and purred, looking at him with warm amber eyes. Luka thought she was beautiful.

He uneasily accepted the mouse, and after taking a few bites, he pushed it towards her to let her know he was grateful. She shared the rest of it with him, and then began licking the fur on his head to clean and dry him, the way his mother used to.

Luka ducked his head in embarrassment. He didn't want this beautiful cat to treat him like he was just a kitten to be taken care of or something.

She looked at him with puzzlement, then walked away to settle in another corner.

He regretted his cold attitude, and carefully slunk across the room to join her. Cautiously, he licked her ear to let her know he wanted to be friends, not to be taken care of. She purred, and he lied down next to her, paws tucked under his chest, and they fell asleep listening to the sound of the rain.