The smell of cats was overwhelming. They’d rubbed their scent over every step and corner, and used the bare dirt of the ground floor as a latrine. Once indoors I could hear them, too. Voices drifted down the stairwell from the top floor. I went up the stairs, then paused almost at the top, when my head was just above the level of the floor. I spied on the scene.

About twenty cats were gathered in an open circle, at the top of which Queen Annamaria sat upon a cinderblock dais.

–from “Saving Scrumpy”