McKayla had an old, fat cat that she loved more than any doll or frilly dress. He was always the guest of honor at every tea party. She?d read him stories and rock him to sleep in her rocking chair, and she?d dress him in sweaters and hats. She thought he was the most handsome cat in the entire world.
McKayla was only three, but the cat had been her mother?s. Her mom named him Buster because he?d burst a red balloon once by swatting at it with his paw. Buster had already lived eight cat lives, and now he was too tired to chase a bird or a pest, so when McKayla wasn?t playing with him, Buster slept most of the time, and he dreamed of being a frisky kitten again.
One day, McKayla fell ill. Buster was sad because he didn?t have anyone to brush and cuddle him. He missed watching her play princess and ballerina. He watched her for days lying in bed fevered and chilled. Buster thought of what to do because he knew that worrying wasn?t doing any good.
He decided to go see Leo, the great King of Cats. The journey was long, and Buster was often afraid of large dogs and strangers he met along the way; he worried so much that his gray fur littered the path, but he didn?t give up until he reached the king?s castle. Buster begged Leo to save her because Leo was good at things like that. Buster had lived long enough to see his own children grow old, so he agreed to give his last life to save McKayla.
After King Leo worked his magic, the child began to wake. As she opened her eyes, she called out for Buster. This brought tears to Leo?s eyes, and he couldn?t take Buster away. He decided to reward his kindness instead, so though McKayla is grown, Buster still lives. He can outrun any mouse, but he?d never bother to eat one because he knows they only have one life, and he?s had at least eighteen.