Chapter 1

An Unexpected Detour

Puff had a fear of flying on that plane;
The idea seemed dangerous and insane
Till he imagined floating in the clouds
Above noisy streets and bustling crowds.
A young cat soaring with birds in the sky
Then seemed like something he might like to try.

Now he learns he will be caged in a place
Of shadows, without much comfort or grace.

“You will not be alone while you are there,”
Kathy says. “There will be other cats too.
There is no need to fear; you will be fine.
Rest assured—nothing will happen to you!”

Puff observes her eyes gazing down a bit.
There is more to this than she will admit,
Puff thinks, while caged and sitting on his bed,
Carried by Kathy’s father just ahead
Of her mom and her in the airport hall,
Passing small stores like in a shopping mall.

Farther down they step on a moving floor,
The likes of which Puff had not seen before.
Puff hopes Mr. Taylor will stop a while
And let the floor move them along in style.
But Mr. Taylor keeps pace to the gate,
Determined not to be a minute late.

Soon they arrive at where they need to be,
At the ticket counter at half-past three.
They now have their tickets and their bags checked
As they turn to Puff feeling pet-neglect.
Kathy opens his cage and lifts him out
While Puff’s face portrays a sad feline pout.

“I will miss you very much, my dear Puff,”
Kathy says, as she holds him to her heart.
“So please be a good cat for me, okay?
I promise, we will not be far apart.”

She gives Puff a gentle kiss on his cheek,
As Puff suddenly feels alone and meek.

Puff senses there will be trouble ahead,
But he tries to stay positive instead.
He knows Kathy likes when he winks his eye,
But just as he does—she begins to cry.
Kathy places Puff in his cage once more,
Wiping her cheek as she closes the door.

Mr. Taylor puts Puff’s cage on the track
Of the bag carousel as Puff turns back.
He watches the family wave goodbye,
Wondering where he is going and why.
Soon he disappears behind rubber flaps
Leaving cold, muted echoes from their slaps.

His cage descends on a ramp to a plane,
To a cargo bay where he will remain.
There he is lifted and stacked by a wall,
Snugly fit with the others, short and tall.
The animal cages line in neat rows
Where Puff feels the need to cover his nose.

He watches other animals pass near;
Some are fast asleep and others in fear.
Some have cleaning practices to attend,
While others made up their minds to pretend
They are at home where they have always been,
Never taking the time to take it in.

Kathy mentioned they were going to Rome.
Puff thought, Why leave—when we can roam at home?
Then she continued it was a fun place,
With fine food to put a smile on his face.
Soon Puff lies down in his comfy cage,
Ready to sleep and for dreams to engage.

Then a loud noise blasts from outside the plane,
As Puff jumps high and bangs his head in pain
On the top of the cage—then plummets down,
Landing on his back with a painful frown.
The cargo bay vibrates from large turbines
Moving the plane forward between white lines.

Puff shifts to the back of his steel cage
As the plane lifts; animals scream in rage.
Then it levels out and the shaking stops
As the pressure build-up in their ears pops.
Soon soft music calms the animals down
While the plane ascends far away from town.

Once again Puff tries to take a catnap;
Heavy-eyed, he falls asleep in a snap.
He dreams of a land very far away
Where different kinds of animals play.
There are tall mountains, difficult to climb,
With the scent of freshly cut grass and pine.

Finally, after many hours pass by…
Puff dreams of a tall castle in the sky.

Then the airplane jolts as it touches down,
Waking Puff—who jumps, then lands with a frown;
Rubbing his forehead, still sore from before,
He thinks, I feel like I am in a war!
Soon the lights begin to turn on inside,
As the large cargo bay door opens wide.

Then Puff and his cage are placed on a track
Transporting him and others to the back
Of a cargo truck—not too far away,
Which seems to Puff to be a safer stay.
He thinks, This last transport should not take long.
Little did he know he was very wrong.

Puff’s cage is lifted and soon finds a place
In the back of a truck with little space.
It is filled with cats and dogs biding time
To be released from their cages and climb
To the arms of loved ones expected inside,
Like a groom awaiting his lovely bride.

Puff’s cage sits next to a calico cat
Watching closely what Puff is staring at,
As Puff observes his cage drift very near
To the edge of the truck, fanning his fear.
Just one small bump is now all it would take
For the driver to make a grave mistake.

Puff turns to the cat, who without a sound,
Appears very focused and duty bound.
Reaching toward Puff’s cage with all her might,
She stretches very far—then holds it tight.
Puff knows this cat is doing all she can
To stop him falling with a noble plan.

But a slight turn forces Puff’s cage to slide
Away from his friend and the shortened ride,
To crash hard on the runway upside down,
Compelling a sad and dejected frown.
Puff sits quietly, watching the moon rise,
Wondering if he can believe his eyes.

But it is a warm night in Italy,
And things could be worse, Puff thinks wittily.
He searches the darkness for someone near
To rescue him from his increasing fear.
Soon another plane starts to turn his way,
Then pauses far off, much to Puff’s dismay.

He sees some people getting on the plane
And meows quite loudly—but all in vain.
The plane’s engines completely drown him out;
He could not be heard even with a shout.
A truck appears from where the other went
In a hurry for a scheduled event.

After passing near Puff it turns around,
Its blinding lights forcing his small head down.
Then Puff perceives two men coming his way;
Their feet move quickly. Should he run away?
Soon they lift and toss his cage in the truck.
Is he in trouble or perhaps in luck?

The men thought the cage belonged on the plane
Preparing to leave this noisy domain—
The exact plane Puff watched the people board.
As the small truck moves rapidly toward
The plane, he sees inside its cargo bay,
Hoping it is a peaceful place to stay.

The men pass Puff’s cage to the loaders where
They speedily place it inside with care.
As the cargo bay hatch begins to close,
Exhaust fumes saturate inside Puff’s nose
While he observes one last glimpse of the moon,
Hoping to be with his family soon.