Vanessa gets a job working at a cat cafe… Just it turns out she’s not going to be working as one of the waiters.
Part Time Cat
Vanessa was slightly nervous about the training she was about to go through. It was just such a strange way to train new employees and she didn’t understand why. Spending the weekend with a senior employee and living in their home? What kind of company did that? And for something as simple as waiting tables? Yet… Vanessa really did want this job. After all… It wasn’t any normal restaurant. This was the Lucky Tails Cat Cafe. Even if it meant being a server, she couldn’t imagine a better working environment than being surrounded by cats. Just, she assumed like most jobs training would be doing work hours at the place of business. This way was just… Odd, and questionably legal. Also it seemed like a huge imposition on her senior worker. Yet any objections she had were always met with a reminder that she wasn’t working at a normal cafe and they simply couldn’t do things the normal way. And again, Vanessa really did want this job. So, she had relented, and now found herself standing on the front doorstep of a stranger’s house with an overnight bag thrown over one shoulder. She swallowed nervously before reaching out and ringing the doorbell.
The door was answered by another girl, probably only a year or two older than the twenty-five year old Vanessa. Or at the very least she was a good six inches taller. This wasn’t surprising. Vanessa was on the short side. The girl was currently dressed in just a pair of pajamas with her red hair completely uncombed. Vanessa suddenly felt really overdressed. This was work training, so she had tied back her mousy black hair and dressed herself in a nice blouse, a knee length skirt and a pair of black dress shoes. This person looked like she had just rolled out of bed to answer the door. At 7 PM.
“Julie?” Vanessa asked unsure, worried that she might have the wrong house.
“Oh, you must be Vanessa, the new girl!” Julie’s face broke into a smile. “Don’t worry, you’re at the wrong place, you look so shell shocked, come in, come in.” She moved aside to allow Vanessa inside. The house wasn’t exceptionally big, and it looked like Julie lived alone. It was in that not quite clean, but not quite dirty state that mostly just made it look lived in. The living room was fairly simple at least… A tall bookshelf, (stocked with DVDs and games instead of books), a leather couch, recliner, a coffee table with a few stains on it and a TV hung up on the wall.
“Did I arrive too early?” Vanessa asked timidly as she eyed Julie’s outfit.
“Don’t think so.” Julie shrugged as she caught Vanessa’s look. “Oh! Cause of the pajamas! Pffft, yeah, sorry, but it’s just training so I didn’t see any reason to make myself uncomfortable. It’s not like we’re at the cafe right now.” She let out a laugh. “So what’s with the bag?”
“Oh, just change of clothes and stuff like that.” Vanessa replied, this got a look from Julie.
“Why’d you need those?” Julie seemed a little confused.
“I mean, did you think I was going to wear the same outfit for two straight days?” Vanessa was getting the feeling that Julie didn’t think ahead very far.
“Well no that’d be dumb… But that doesn’t…” She shook her head. “Whatever makes you comfortable. Look, I’ll go ahead and grab the stuff so you can get started.” With that Julie disappeared to the kitchen and came back with a small box. “Here you go, everything you need for training is in here.”
“I see?” Vanessa took the box unsure of what that meant. The box itself was almost flat, no bigger than most picture frames. She opened it up quickly and found two things inside. One was a small vial of clear liquid with spray attachment. The other was a small booklet labeled training. Vanessa opened it up, but there were only a few lines written inside that didn’t clear much up.
- A cat does what it wants when it wants.
- People love cats with personality.
- Good cats don’t bite or scratch.
And that was it.
“I don’t understand…” Vanessa kept looking at the book to see if there was a way to unfold it into a new section or something else. There was nothing. “And what’s this?”
“Oh, we like to call that the Pheromone Spray.” Julie shrugged. “Don’t know what it’s actually called. It’s just the thing you gotta spray on yourself before coming into work so you can be among the other cats. That’s mostly why they’re making you spend the weekend with me, make sure you don’t have a bad reaction or hard time adjusting.”
“Oh that… Actually makes sense on some level…” Vanessa gave a weary sigh. “So… Am I not actually doing any major training?”
“Mostly just getting used to that.” Julie gestured dismissively.
“Huh…” Vanessa now felt a little embarrassed. No wonder Julie hadn’t bothered to dress up for this. It still seemed a little strange, but mostly harmless. The spray must have just been something that made the cats react better to people. Julie quickly sprayed a little bit of it on her chest then returned it to the box. “So… What now?”
“Now… Whatever you want, I mean that’s what your job basically is at the cafe.” Julie giggled.
“I don’t think it’s quite that simple…” Vanessa laughed nervously. She got the feeling that Julie wasn’t the hardest of workers. For now she sat down on the recliner across from her. It was in pretty rough condition… As if a cat had been using it for a scratching post. Though Vanessa didn’t actually see a cat, or any animal around the house. Unsure of any way to make conversation or what to do, she instead dug through her bag and retrieved a book and began to read that. Julie in turn flipped on the TV and looked for something to watch. After awhile the silence got unbearable.
“So… Did you used to have a cat or…” Vanessa looked down at the scratches in the chair.
“Oh nah, that’s a work accident.” Julie shrugged without looking up.
“You mean the cats in the cafe?” Vanessa was surprised that employees might take them home.
“Yeah, would think they could be better behaved.” Julie smiled a this. “Then again, I never was either.”
“Uh… Right…” Vanessa wasn’t sure what that was supposed to make so decided to drop it.
As time went on Vanessa became increasingly uncomfortable. She chalked it up to nerves and being in someone else’s home. Yet, the discomfort grew and she found herself starting to itch. At first it was around her chest, right where she had sprayed the perfume. Maybe she was having some kind of reaction to it? Or maybe her nerves were just making her think that. Either way, she tried not to scratch and tried not to think about it or look at herself. If it was nerves if she just ignored it, then it’d go away. And if she was having a reaction… Well if it got worse than itching then she could freak out about it.
Still… It really was bugging her and her blouse just made the feeling worse. It was like something prickly was just poking at her underneath her clothes. Now she really wished she had worn something more comfortable. Julie being in her pajamas was probably in the right.
Other parts of her body were starting to itch. She could feel it on her face as well, her arms, and her thighs. Yet, the strangest source of discomfort were her feet. There was no possible way any of the perfume had gotten down there with her shoes still on. Yet, not only did they itch, they itched far worse than anything else on her body. She tried to ignore it, but now her feet were starting to hurt. She couldn’t take it much longer.
“Hey um…” Vanessa was careful to keep her voice neutral and not give away how uncomfortable she was. “Is it fine if I get a little more comfortable. Maybe just take my shoes and socks off?”
“Oh yeah go ahead! I mean, I’m in pajamas.” She laughed. “Honestly, if you want to you can go ahead and strip naked.”
“W-what!?” Vanessa felt herself blush hard at that.
“I mean not like you were planning to try and wear clothes at work right?” Julie didn’t even turn her head as she made this suggestion.
“WHAT!?” Vanesa felt herself blush intensely. “Why would you… I mean of course I’d-“ She didn’t know how to react to something like that. Instead she just shrunk back into herself and quickly took her shoes off. This gave her pause though as she saw her sock covered feet. The socks were stretched out and starting to tear… And obviously hanging onto something that wasn’t the right shape to be her foot.
Vanessa might have stopped breathing at that moment as she realized something was seriously wrong. She slowly removed both socks and stared in bewilderment. One of her feet had tiny black hairs that were growing in all over it, the other had white hairs. On both of them her nails were solid black color and looked sharper. And… her toes, they looked like they were stretched out while the bottom of her foot looked like it had been squished into something longer and narrower. And as she stared at her foot she could see they were changing right before her eyes. There was some kind of squishy black growth forming on the balls of her feet and the tips of each of her toes. The hairs meanwhile she could actually see sprouting and growing in. Right now they just formed multiple small patches… But if this kept up her feet would like they were covered in fur. Then… Her foot shape was so long and awkward, she didn’t know how she could possibly set it flat on the ground.
“AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!” Vanessa let out a scream as she fell out of the chair.
“What’s wrong!?” Julie suddenly leaped from the couch in full alert. “Did you have a bad reaction? Does anything hurt!?”
“It’s… My feet! Something’s seriously wrong!” Vanessa nearly sobbed as she pointed down at her feet.
“Okay, I’ll-“ Julie paused as she stared down at Vanessa. She knelt down on one knee to get a better look at her changing feet. “Wait… They look fine… They don’t hurt or anything do they?”
“They’re not fine and I’m in horrible-“ Vanessa paused as she realized she was not in fact in pain. The second she had taken the shoes off she had been met with relief… But the shock of seeing her feet like that completely distracted her from the fact. “Well they don’t hurt now…”
“Should have taken your shoes off earlier.” Julie gave a nervous laugh. “Looks like that was the problem. Most footwear isn’t really meant for paws. But everything looks fine, don’t see any injuries. Heh, you really scared me for a moment.”
“How is everything fine!?” Vanessa nearly shouted. Julie was just acting like was just… Normal! “My feet are covered in hair and they look weird and!” She paused as something Julie said registered. “Wait did you saw paws?”
“I mean yeah, most cats have paws.” Julie seemed uncertain for a moment. Yet… She didn’t seem alarmed, just confused as to why Vanessa was upset.
“But why would -I- have paws.” Vanessa meanwhile was slowly having her panic drowned out by complete disbelief for Julie’s actions.
“Well I mean you are turning into a cat.” Julie said it as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“… Are you high?” Vanessa paused and considered for a moment. “Am I high? Was there something in that perfume?” She could feel the itching sensation in several spots over her body now. She spared a look downward at one of her arms and saw a patch of black and white fur had grown in on it.
“… Wait.” Julie seemed absolutely stunned. “Did… Did you not know this was going to happen?”
“Why would I expect this to happen!?” This time Vanessa did shout.
“Because you literally applied for the position of Cafe Kitty.” Julie rolled her eyes.
“Isn’t that just a cute nickname for all the servers?” Vanessa gave Vanessa a stare.
“What? That… No that’s ridiculous! Why would you think that?” Julie laughed. “Kitty and Waiter are two completely different positions no one would make that mistake.” She continued to giggle and then abruptly stopped when she realized Vanessa was just staring at her. “Oh my gosh, you really didn’t know?”
“Do I look like I expected this!?” Vanessa threw her arms up. Then she began to scratch at an itch on her face and froze as she felt something protruding from near her nose. There were several of them, long thin hairs. Whiskers. How… How could she have whiskers!?
“Oh… Um… Shoot.” Julie just seemed dumbfounded. She stood up and crossed her arms thinking to herself. “Sorry I just… Don’t know how to handle this. I mean… How do you tell someone surprise! You’re turning into a cat! Sorry you didn’t expect it.”
“Maybe start by telling me how to stop it!” Vanessa pleaded.
“Oh I don’t think it can be stopped.” Julie shrugged but snapped to attention when she saw Vanessa’s mouth hang open. “But it does wear off on its own!”
“It… Does?” Vanessa had a small amount of hope in her voice.
“I mean… Yeah like, I’m not a cat right now, so obviously it does.” Julie shrugged. “I mean, did you forget I’m your Senior Kitty. I do this daily. On average, the spray wears off after about six hours. Usually we reapply it halfway through the day just to be safe.” Julie’s voice became more soothing. Now that she understood why Vanessa was freaking out she had become more sympathetic to her.
“You… You really promise it’ll wear off?” Vanessa sounded meek.
“Yeah, like I said, I’d be a cat right now if it didn’t.” Julie gave a supportive grin. “So you know… Why not just try to enjoy it for a bit… Even if it’s not what you want and you decide to quit… I mean, how many people get to experience what it’s like to be a cat even once in their lives?”
“I… Suppose…” Vanessa took a deep breath. As she did she felt something punch at the base of her tailbone. Then there was something starting to push against the back of her skirt. It took her a moment to realize she was growing a tail. Still… She was starting to calm down. It was still freaking, but the knowledge this was temporary was at least comforting. “But… Ignoring the how-“
“Magic.” Julie answered with a shrug.
“Why would you even turn people into cats?” Vanessa continued.
“Oh that’s easy, you see people like cats… But cats don’t always like people.” Julie placed a finger on her chin as she thought about it. “What I mean is… People who go to a cat cafe. They want to handle the cats, pick them up, play with them, chase them around… But the thing is that cats well… They kind of get a reputation for being aloof unfairly it’s just… If you had a random stranger who was ten times your size suddenly picking you up out of the blue and trying to bop you on the head with a toy mouse well… For a lot of cats the cafe scene can be a bit intense. That’s why most cafes have rules against handling the cats.”
“But this one doesn’t…” That was a thing Julie was aware of. “Because… The cats are people?” Vanessa was catching on.
“Bingo!” Julie gave a thumbs up. “Basically, we’re actors in a manner of speaking. We do things the people expect cats to do at the cafe. Jump into people’s laps, let them pet us, occasionally steal a piece of food from their plate. Random things to entertain them and make them feel like they got their money’s worth. If they have a great time, they’ll spend more and are more likely to come back.”
“I… I think I get it…” Vanessa gave a sigh as she sunk back into the recliner. She realized it was bigger than it used to be… And her clothes were getting baggier. She must have been shrinking. It sounded like she was going to become a cat completely. And… People like Julie did it every day at work? How could they manage it? Just… Spending the entire day… Just running around… Napping… Playing with toys and…
Doing whatever you wanted. That… That was what Julie had described the job as earlier. Some things were starting to make a bit more sense at least. But… Could Vanessa do something like that?
“Look, if you want, we can wait for it to wear off and be done. Don’t have to reapply the perfume and you can go home. Six hours tops, and you’ll be human.” Julie offered.
“Six hours…” Vanessa gave a heavy sigh. “I can handle this for six hours. She tried to pick herself up off the couch but she couldn’t stand up. Instead she wobbled back and forth for a few seconds before falling face first onto the ground. “Arrrrgh! I thought cats were supposed to be graceful!”
“They are, but you’re not quite there yet!” Julie rushed over to help Vanessa up. “And you’re doing it wrong. Don’t try to walk like a human, walk on your toes like a cat would.”
“I didn’t even know that was a thing!” Vanessa objected, but as she was held up this time she tried to balance herself on her toes. She found herself much more steady… And those squishy growths on her feet provided surprising support. Oh… Now that she knew what was happening she understood. They were paw pads and… Actually… She took a few experimental steps forward. They were much better support than shoes.
Vanessa’s skirt fell to the ground unable to stay up on her diminutive body. Her blouse now clung to her loosely. The patches of hair growing on her body were starting to connect together to the point there was now less skin than fur. It was a pattern of black and white over most of her body. Her chest and face and hands were mostly white. Meanwhile she had one black foot and one white, and a tail that was black except for the very tip. And oh!
“This is… Weird.” With her skirt having fallen off Vanessa’s tail was free to grow out to its full length. She could move it just as easily an arm, slowly watching over her shoulder as it swayed from side to side.
“Maybe you should try walking on all fours?” Julie suggested. “You’ll probably find it easier to move.”
“I… I don’t know…” Vanessa seemed unsure but she followed the advice. She tried to crouch down on her hands and knees at first, but this just caused her to fall over again. Instead she had to push herself up on her hands and feet, and like this she found herself able to balance. Her hands… Well they weren’t really even hands anymore, had pads on the bottom of them just like her feet. She took a few steps forward getting used to how her body moved.
Unfortunately, her blouse was so large on her that moving far was impossible. Her arms and legs got tangled up in the fabric and as she flailed around just wound up getting buried in them. It took her a few seconds to dig herself out, and as she did her face pushed out into a muzzle as her ears stretched into pyramid shapes. The last few patches of fur grew in as she completed her transition to cat.
“So… How do you feel?” Julie looked down at the black and white cat.
“M… meow?” Vanessa looked back in mild confusion. The world was bigger now… A normal living room looked was a sprawling maze of cliffs and chasms. How did cats get around? Oh right… They jumped… and climbed. She looked at the bookcase in the room. It had been much taller than her before the change… Could she climb it? She walked up to it and then crouched back on her hind legs. She wiggled her bottom as she tried to psyche herself up… And then she leaped.
Vanessa felt her claws scrape against the side of the shelf as she seemed to run straight up the shelf all the way to the very top. It had been easy, it was over before she knew it. She blinked and looked around the collection of DVDs up where she was and began to purr smugly.
“Hey hey be careful!” Julie shouted. “Just cause you’re a cat now doesn’t mean you get to knock stuff off shelves. Why does every new employee act like this?”
“Meoooow!” Vanessa objected. She was a cat, that meant she could do whatever she wanted right? She slowly pawed at one of the DVD cases… And then thought better of it. There were more things to do… She wanted to see what else she could leap to. She braced herself… And then leaped for the couch. She landed on all fours, and without losing momentum ran across it and leaped into the recliner.
“Someone has a case of the zoomies…” Julie couldn’t help but laugh.
Vanessa’s anxieties about the situation were starting to fade. This was actually kind of fun. She spent a good chunk of the evening exploring Julie’s home, getting into just about everything she could fine. Several times she got yelled at and chased out of a room… Especially when she had added a few new scratch marks to the recliner… And right after being chased out she’d come right back to Julie’s frustration. Her exasperation only made it more rewarding.
… But hours were passing, and Vanessa knew she’d change back soon. Late at night Julie was in her bed. Vanessa sat on the floor considering it. After a few seconds she picked up the perfume bottle in her mouth and leaped into the bed. She dropped it onto Julie’s chest and pawed at her face.
“Meooooow!” Vanessa screeched.
“Vanessa… What?” Julie woke up with a start. It didn’t take her long to notice the perfume bottle and the cat sitting on her chest. “So… You want another dose? Are you sure?”
“Mrow!” Vanessa replied excitedly and began to kneed the blankets atop Julie. Julie was too tired to ask again. She pointed the spray at Vanessa and gave her a single squirt before falling back into slumber. Vanessa, satisfied that the change would now last till morning curled up on the foot of the bed.
Two days later, Vanessa woke up curled in the bathroom curled up in a mess of towels. She tried to stretch and stand up but ran into the problem she was human again. Her body couldn’t just bend the right way. She managed to rise to two feet and figure out a way out of the bathroom. Julie was in the living room, now in a different pair of pajamas from the other night.
“Training’s over.” Julie chimed. “So… That’s that… What do you think? Going to keep the job?”
“Huh… I…” Vanessa considered it. After spending the last two days as a cat it was difficult to form proper thoughts again. It wasn’t that the change had scrambled her brain… It was more human things like holding down a job seemed less interesting now. “I… Guess I’ll keep it.”
“It really is quite amazing isn’t it?” Julie smiled.
“Yeah… I guess…” Vanessa couldn’t believe it, but right now all she cared about was starting work on Monday so she could get into cat form again. “I suppose… I should be heading home.” She started for the front door.
“Vanessa wait!” Julie shouted. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“Eh?” Vanessa looked around. She didn’t think she had forgotten anything.
“Humans wear clothes.” Julie spoke sternly.
“OH!” Vanessa had completely forgotten she was naked. Somehow… It was less embarrassing now. Though she supposed it would be problematic if she got arrested for public exposure. She quickly found her clothes from the other night and put most of them back on. She paused when she got to the shoes or socks. After a few moments of consideration she decided to toss them in her bag and stay barefoot. Shoes just… Weren’t comfortable. She wasn’t sure how she had never realized that before.
“I get it.” Julie had noticed this. “Right after a change shoes just don’t feel right. It’s just more comfortable without them. Some of our cats I don’t think have worn any footwear in years.” She paused for a moment and looked over Vanessa. “So, I guess I’ll see you on Monday?”
“Right!” Vanessa gave an honest smile. She was looking forward to it.
“Okay! Just look for the calico cat that likes to nap on the staircase! That’ll be me.” Julie smiled. “If you want, I can chase you around for a bit. The customers always like when things like that happen.”
“Maybe… But I might just pounce you and bite at your ears.” Vanessa giggled.
“Oh you’re gonna be one of those kinds of cats.” Julie rolled her eyes and then both of them broke into a fit of giggles.
Vanessa had her doubts at first… But it seemed like the new job really was a good fit for her.
A few weeks later Vanessa was at Julie’s place again. They hung out a lot since she started working at the cafe. Apparently, this weekend Julie was supposed to be training another new employee… Julie had protested she was too busy to hang out this weekend because of that. Vanessa had retorted sitting on her butt did not in fact count as being busy. The argument had ended in Vanessa’s favor… But only if she took over some of Julie’s duties. And so when the doorbell rang this time it was Vanessa that opened the door to find another young girl dressed in business attire.
“Hey.” Vanessa barked as she opened the door. Her hair wasn’t combed and she was in her own pair of pajamas at this point. “You must be the new girl. I’m Vanessa, Julie’s inside who’s supposed to be helping but is too lazy to answer the door. Sometimes I think she’s more cat than girl.” This got her a confused look from the properly dressed girl on the other side. “… And that didn’t get a laugh huh… I wonder…” She considered for a few moments if it was possible someone else had made the same mistake as her. Then she grinned a wicked smile. “Well, you better get inside. I’ll explain everything as we go along.” She couldn’t help but notice the blank expression the other girl gave her as the girl looked over her clothes and attitude. Well, this was going to be a fun weekend.