A Trip to the Zoo: Part 1

Stinky bounced from paw to paw in excitement waiting for Periwinkle to arrive. Finally he heard that familiar whoosh, and Periwinkle tumbled out of the teleportation tunnel. Before she could even catch her breath, Stinky grabbed her paw and began running toward his mom’s car. Mom Janet helped them into the backseat and buckled their seatbelts.

Dad Tom started the car, and they were off on their latest adventure. Periwinkle finally had the opportunity to speak. “Stinky, what’s with the big hurry? I didn’t even get to give you a hug or whisker kiss.”

Stinky, replied, “I’m sorry Periwinkle, but we have a reservation, and you were a tad late arriving.”

Periwinkle looked at him quizzically and said, “That sounds strange to have a reservation for an adventure. Where are we going?”

Stinky wouldn’t tell her, as it was to be a surprise. But as they drove, Periwinkle had the sense they’d been to this same place before. She finally spoke up and said, “I recognize this road. Are we going back to the Mill Mountain Star?”

Stinky just shook his head, no. Periwinkle thought he was being very rude and decided if he wasn’t going to talk, neither was she.

In a short time, however, they arrived in a parking lot. Mom Janet and Dad Tom put on their personal protection masks and helped the tabbies out of the car. It was then that Periwinkle saw the sign: Mill Mountain Zoo, and she squealed with delight. Dad Tom picked up Stinky and put him on his shoulders, and Mom Janet did the same with Periwinkle. They explained it was a very long, up hill walk to the entrance, and they didn’t want the duo to use all their energy getting there.

While the the humans walked, Stinky explained that they were going to have breakfast with the animals and then tour the zoo, which is why they had a reservation.



After taking a photo and checking in, the tabbies had some time to wander around before breakfast. The first thing they saw was a huge black creature with white and black spiky things. “What the heck is that?” asked Periwinkle.

Mouth open in awe, Stinky just shook his head and looked to his mom. She told them that the creature was a rodent called a porcupine and related to squirrels and chipmunks. The spikes she explained were quills and that he had approximately 30,0o0 of them. After Mom Janet told them he had a very bad odor, they were happy he was in a glass enclosure for more than just his quills. They watched him eat a banana for a while before moving on.



As they walked to the next exhibit, Periwinkle said, “I think he had a cute face with those long whiskers.”

Stinky replied, “Maybe, but I sure wouldn’t want to meet him in a dark alley!”

Next to the porcupine’s enclosure was another large, glass one. On the outside was a sign that read, “Porkchop.” A zookeeper lady told them they were looking at Asian Small-Clawed Otters, and that the male was Porkchop and the female was named Laura. She also pointed to a sign with information about the otters. Stinky called his dad over to read the sign to them.

While he read, the tabbies were mesmerized watching the otters. Laura was lying on her back playing with a rock in her front paws while Porkchop watched.

Periwinkle remarked, “They are smaller than we are, Stinky!”


As they watched, Laura lost interest in her rock and the two otters curled up together to nap. “Awww,” said Periwinkle as she put her paw in Stinky’s. She continued, “They look just like we do when we curl up together.” While the tabbies watched the otters nap, they were called to breakfast.



Breakfast Time

Stinky’s parents fixed plates for each of them with items from the buffet, while Stinky and Periwinkle approached a zookeeper holding a perch with a very big bird. She told them the bird’s name was Rita and asked if they would like a closer look. She then helped the tabbies onto her shoulders. They tried to talk to Rita, but she just looked at them with disinterest. They thanked the zoo lady for the up-close visit with the bird, climbed down and went to eat.



As they were eating, Periwinkle noticed a large statue of a bengal tiger and asked Stinky’s mom about it. Mom Janet explained that the statue was of Ruby, one of the zoo’s long-time (18 years) residents that had passed away several years ago. She told the tabbies to stand by Ruby so she could take their photo.



Official Tour

When they finished breakfast, they were guided to an enclosure with two adorable raccoons. They were being fed breakfast, and the tabbies watched as they searched for their food. The female’s name was Katya and the male was Ivan. They were told the raccoons were there as they had both received injuries in the wild and would no longer be able to fend for themselves. Ivan and Katya would now be cared for and live out their lives at the zoo. The tabbies learned that many of the animals were there for this same reason.




Periwinkle commented as the tabbies headed to the next exhibit, “Stinky, I had no idea raccoons are so small. Ivan only weighs about 14 pounds.”

Stinky replied, “I didn’t know that either. The raccoon that visits our house is much larger. It is hard to believe that my fursib, Cooper Murphy, is way bigger than these raccoons.”

The tabbies next viewed some red foxes. They didn’t look particularly red, and the tabbies discovered foxes can have three different coat colors.










On the way to the next exhibit the tabbies passed two sunbathing turtles and some koi fish.


The final animals presented as part of their tour were two opossums. They had no idea opossums had super short lives…at best three years. The two at the zoo both have a bone disease, and like the raccoons would not be able to live in the wild. The zookeeper told the tabbies that opossums are crepuscular. The tabbies both looked to Dad Tom for an explanation. He told them it meant that opossums were active at dawn and dusk and hunted then for their food.



As the tabbies watched the opossum known as Jack, Stinky whispered to Periwinkle, “That breakfast looks yummy. Do you think he’d share?”

Periwinkle just giggled and squeezed Stinky’s paw. She knew he was just fooling with her.

This ended the official tour, and the tabbies were now free to explore on their own with Dad Tom and Mom Janet. They had no idea where to begin so just set out. And that is where they leave you today.

Next week Periwinkle and Stinky will take you along with them on the remainder of their zoo visit. And the best animals are yet to come. You won’t want to miss meeting Nova, the red panda, a lynx and the star of the show, a snow leopard.

To be continued.

Note: Enlarge the signs posted with the animals to read more about them.