Luca’s Home: Longer manuscript

By Danielle Gordon & Edward Williams | Illustrations by Danielle Gordon

Do you ever wonder about the adventures of our cats and dogs before they joined our families?  This is the story of one kitten’s journey.

Luca was born in a garage.At night, while his family slept nearby in a purry pile, Luca listened to the wild cats outside.

They howled and hissed as they ran around tall trees, up and down fire escapes and across rooftops.

Luca just knew they had great adventures.

Luca wanted to have great adventures too. He wanted to dart, scamper and scurry like a wild cat.“Be patient,” his mother said. “You are still a little kitten.”
As Luca grew older, he started to go out and about.

Everyone in the neighborhood knew Luca. Every day, he stopped to tease the grumpy dog next door.

“Go away, Luca!” the dog barked. “You are a trouble maker and you are going to get me into trouble. Ruff! Ruff!”

But Luca just couldn’t stop. He was having way too much fun.

“Luca,” his mother said, “why don’t you play with your brothers instead of teasing the grumpy dog?”

Luca tried. “Hey guys, let’s go on an adventure!” But they did not like adventures at all. So Luca went exploring on his own.

One day, Luca spotted a butterfly.

She zigged and zagged, flying up and down, all around, with Luca chasing behind.

When the game was over, the butterfly flittered away, waving goodbye with her wings.

Luca looked around. He did not know his way home. He was lost.

Luca asked some birds to help him find his way home.

“I am an excellent jumper and leaper. Could I fly with you and look for my garage?”

“Jumping and leaping are not the same as flying,” the birds chirped.

They flew away, leaving Luca alone.

Luca remembered the wild cats from his neighborhood.

“If I can’t find my way home,” he thought, “I can be a wild cat. After all, I am a brave and adventurous kitten.”

But the wild cats hissed at him. “Too small,” said one. “Not much of a fighter,” snarled another.

“Get lost!” they all shouted.

Luca decided he had to be bigger before he could join the wild cats.

He found a tiger, the biggest cat of all. “Could you teach a little guy like me how to become a HUGE cat like you?” Luca asked.

“You could be eaten if you stay here,” the tiger rumbled. “I might eat you myself if I get hungry.”

Luca ran.

Luca kept running until he was deep in a shadowy forest.

He saw a pack of wolves. They reminded him of the grumpy dog from his old neighborhood. He really wanted to tease them.

But Luca was a smart kitten. “Those are big, hungry wolves,” he thought, “and they might eat me if I tease them.”

He slipped away, keeping low to the ground so the wolves couldn’t see him.

Luca headed north. It got colder and colder as he traveled.

He came across a friendly old polar bear. “I do not like the snow that keeps landing on my head or
the ice stuck between my paws,” the shivering kitten said.

The bear let Luca snuggle against his warm fur. “I would like to sit all day with you,” the bear told Luca, “but it is time for me to find my dinner.”

Luca said goodbye and set out to find a warmer home.

Luca headed south until the sun made his fur warm and shiny.

A gorilla spotted the kitten. She asked if he was lost.

Luca told her his story about wanting adventures, losing his way and ending up without a home. “I cannot find my family,” Luca said. “Can I stay with you?”

“You can’t stay with me because there are dangerous hunters here,” the gorilla said. “I think a farm would be a better home for you.”

Luca decided to give it a try.

All sorts of animals lived on the farm. “Do you have room for a kitten?” Luca asked the farmer.

“Everybody here has a job,” the farmer said. “The cows make milk. The chickens lay eggs. And the cats catch mice so they don’t eat all the grain.”

Luca liked to chase butterflies, but he had never caught a mouse.

“I can’t use you then,” the farmer replied.

A cow overheard the conversation. She thought a zoo might be the place for Luca.

“Zoo animals don’t have to work,” she mooed. “They just sit around looking good.”

Luca went to the zoo. He knew the giraffe must be in charge because she was the tallest animal he had ever seen.

He climbed a tall tree so that he could talk to her face to face.

“I know how to dart, scamper and scurry. And I am very cute,” Luca told her. “I think I would be a good addition to the zoo.”

The giraffe slowly shook her long neck. “Zoos are for exotic animals like tall giraffes and big elephants and striped zebras,” she said.

“No one comes to the zoo to see an ordinary kitten, not even one as cute as you.”

On his way out of the zoo, Luca saw a mama duck waddling along, her ducklings marching behind her single file.

Luca asked if he could join their parade. “Yes,” she quacked, “as long as you stay in line and do not tease the ducklings.”

Luca tried his very best. But no matter how hard he tried, he just could not stay in line and he just had to tease the ducklings.

“Luca,” the mama duck said, “you just aren’t duck material.”

Luca was sad. He met an old cat living in an alley. “I guess I’m never going to find a new home,” Luca sighed.

But the old alley cat had an idea.

“I’ve heard of special places called shelters where animals can go for help finding new homes. Do you think we should give it a try?”

Luca thought a shelter sounded like the best idea yet.

They went straight to the shelter. Luca knocked on the door with his little paw.

“I promise to behave and to keep my cage clean,” Luca told the humans.

They patted him on the head and gave him his very own ball. “You can stay here as long as you need,” they told Luca.

Luca met a nice dog at the shelter.

“You can stop looking for a home,” she told Luca. “The right family will come here and find you.”

But Luca was not so sure. “I can’t catch mice and I’m not big like a tiger or exotic like a giraffe and I can’t fly and I tease ducklings.”

The dog just smiled.

One day, not long after Luca arrived, a family came to the shelter looking for a special kitten.

They looked like a nice family, so Luca tried to be his cutest, which is very, very cute.

The family loved Luca from the moment they saw him. “Luca, do you want to come and live with us?” they asked.

“YES!” Luca said, so excited that he started doing rolly pollys. The family rubbed his belly and scratched his chin.

Luca and his new family got into a red car and drove to his new home. Luca purred all the way.

Luca’s home has a sunflower garden on the roof and a tall tree in the yard.

On summer days, Luca likes to tease the dog next door until he barks and barks. At night, Luca
curls up in a purry pile with the other cats in his new home.

He still misses his family, but he no longer worries about being cold or alone or hungry, and there are no wolves or tigers.

“Adventures are fun,” Luca thinks, “but it sure is good to be home.”

The real Luca was found in the parking lot of an animal shelter in Chicago.

He came up to a shelter volunteer who later said it seemed like Luca was asking for help finding a home.

He is very, very cute.

Copyright 2010 by Danielle Gordon and Edward Williams.
The authors and illustrator retain sole copyright to their contributions to this book.

About Danielle Gordon 773-580-4130
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1 Response to Luca’s Home: Longer manuscript

  1. This looks like a wonderful book!As one who works at an animal shelter, I would make the following suggestions…. For the mama cat to advise Luca the Kitten not to chase great adventures because it's dangerous for cats to go outside I think most animal shelters will not adopt out cats (except "barn cats"/ feral & semi-feral cats) to people unless they assure us that the cats will be kept exclusively indoors. The risk of a premature death and of becoming lost for indoors/outdoor cats is so much higher than for indoor-only cats.. When Luca is at the shelter…a) to point out the shelter holds Luca for 3- 4 days to give the original family an opportunity to find Lucab) that the shelter then spays/nueters and microchips Luca, provides vaccinations, tests Luca for cat diseases, and provides healthy food twice a day to Lucac) that the shelter staff and volunteers treated Luca with affectiond) to have Luca talk to another cat (instead of a dog) at the shelter. In real life, it's unkind to place cats near dogs at a shelter. . And when Luca does connect with his forever family…:a) for Luca to be an indoor only cat and feeling good and safe about that!While I do offer a number of suggestions, I love the vivid, colorful illustrations and the overall story line!!!


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