(Thanks to Chris for giving the opening sentence).
Secretly, they had known all along that the cat could never have been tamed. It was a feral cat. It lived in the woodshed and had little tunnels so it could hide safely in the depths of the haphazard pile of firewood.
And then it had kittens; six in all. After a few weeks they would venture out into the sunshine to play. Little Lottie, who was seven years old, would take a saucer of milk and leave it on the concrete path leading to the woodshed. The kittens would form a circle around the saucer and lap up the milk.
The prettiest kitten was a black one with a little white bib and a little white paw. Lottie called it Coal. She wanted to catch it and keep it as a pet. Her father helped her make a drop trap. They set up a small cage held upside down with a stick tied to a string. When the black kitten went beneath the cage, they would pull the string and the cage would fall down entrapping the kitten. And they caught it! Coal was caught!
There was no way Lottie or her father could reach into the cage to pick up the kitten. Even at that young age the kitten would have scratched the threatening hand. They had to let the snarling kitten go. It would be forever wild.
Later that week a man came and caught all six kittens and their mother in a cage. He took them away. For Christmas that year Lottie got a kitten. It was black with a little white bib and a little white paw. It wasn’t quite the same but it almost was. It was a girl, so Lottie didn’t call it Coal; she called it Coalette instead.