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Synopsis

Born in a drafty garage loft in the middle of a Central Texas winter, one all-white kitten becomes the only member of her litter to escape the murderous intentions of the man of the house. She is again in danger when she grows up and is found to be expecting kittens of her own. Fortunately, she is rescued by the owner of the responsible tomcat and taken to live on a farm with the grandparents of his girlfriend. There she is named Princess Leia.

Once weaned, the female kittens are parceled out to friends but the lone male is allowed to remain with his mother. Sadly, one day he does not return from his adolescent wandering in the woods and is presumed to have been eaten by some wild animal. A few months later the remaining tomcat in the household dies from injuries he received in a traffic accident. Leia, who has been skeptical of the rumors she has heard of an afterlife for pets, begins to hope that there is such a thing, especially since there appears to be no chance that she will ever again see the father of her kittens.

After the family moves into town, Babe, the chronically fearful tortoise shell pussycat begins to caterwaul plaintively for a mate despite having been spayed years earlier. (The veterinarian suspects regrowth of a fragment of ovary but advises against surgery at her age.)

The first cat to answer her calls is a bedraggled orange-striped male who says that he was brought back from England by a professor who was there on a sabbatical leave. Furthermore, he claims to be from a group of English cats engaged in propagating what they say were the views of Professor C. S. Lewis on the subject of a afterlife for pets. Leia takes this news as confirmation of the rumors she had heard earlier, and it is especially comforting to her when the grandmother, her favorite human, dies following heart surgery.

Her world is further upset the following year when the grandfather marries again and she must move to Mississippi with him. Although she quickly develops a fondness for her new mistress, it isn't so easy to adjust to her large white German shepherd, who is forever wanting to play. Then one day by chance she discovers that the grandfather can under some conditions read her thoughts, and she convinces him to search through C. S. Lewis' writings and read to her his discussion about the afterlife of pets. Although the grandfather notes that Lewis is only speculating about their destiny, Leia still chooses to hope for a life beyond.

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