Cat Woman — a short story for English reading and speaking

Cat Woman blog pic-min


Can people turn into animals at will?

Are there any folk tales or urban myths of people turning into animals in your country?

Would you like to turn into any animal at will?

What animal would you be?

Cat Woman

James thrust his hands deeper into his coat pockets and wrapped himself in the heat inside.

He clenched his hands into two fists and pulled his shoulders up.

The station platform was deserted.

Just at the far end, someone rummaging through a bin. At least they had more suitable clothing on than him. What looked like a big comforter being used as a scarf to cover their head.

He glanced up at the station clock.

One minute and the train would arrive. Hopefully, on time.

These late nights in the office were beginning to get to him. He was starting to feel like a rat on a wheel.

He got home and was then too wired to go to bed immediately.

So he sat up for an hour or so, scrolling through useless stuff online.

Then the following morning, he felt like death. And do it all again.

This is the last train.”

James jolted and turned to the voice.

There in front of him, the homeless person collecting trash from the bins.

He was surprised to find that it was a woman.

“Oh, yes,” he said. “Right.”

How did you engage with a homeless person? What kind of things did you say to them?

And this woman was ancient too. Dozens of lines ran across her face.

She opened her mouth and beamed a smile at him. She had no teeth.

“The last train,” she said again.

“Yes,” said James.

Was she waiting for him to give her something? He had some change. He could give her that.

James pulled out his phone.

An easy distraction and he could just stare at the screen until the bag lady left him alone.

He checked to see any messages from anyone and saw a news link. He clicked it.

A news story of another killing in the city. This time an old man was out walking his dog. The usual lurid details.

How the lacerations resembled that of the claws of a large cat.

But no wild animals had been reported missing from the city zoo.

James clicked something else. But in the corner of his eye, he could still see the old woman staring at him.

He turned to her.

“Can I help you with something?” he asked her. Not altogether unfriendly, but said with just the right amount of authority to imply that he wanted her to leave.

“Are you alone?” she asked him. Her eyes twinkled in the light, a yellowy-green colour. And her smile. Not exactly an open, friendly smile, more predatory, waiting for an opening.

James was taken aback by this question.

He let out a laugh. A single exhalation of air.

“What? Yes, I’m alone.”

The woman nodded back at him, grinning her toothless smile at him.

James turned away. He looked at the clock again. Checked the same time on his phone.

Where was this damn train?

Then he heard cackling.

He almost turned. But he knew it was that crazy old bag lady.

Don’t pay her any more attention. Just keep walking to the far end of the platform.

Hopefully, she wouldn’t get on the train. She was just here to rummage through the trash cans.

He had a strong urge to look over his shoulder and make sure she wasn’t shuffling along behind him. Instead, he pulled his phone up and clicked on the screen.

A video link was sent to a group he was in.

He clicked it, and it showed a news anchor at the scene of the latest attack. A dark, deserted street — well, usually deserted, now filled with news people, cops and paramedics — and the anchor with perfect hair and a serious tone and expression.

She droned on about the latest attack.

James pulled the screen away from his face. The cops would catch him. No doubt. They always found these maniacs.

“Why you on your own?”

James spun around and there she was again.

Grey bird-nest hair sprawled out from her head. Her grey-green eyes twinkled back at him.

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude,” said James. “But what do you want?”

She grinned back at him.

But this time he noticed teeth.

Maybe he missed that before. But he was sure she was completely toothless the first time he looked at her.

Whitish little stumps, like sawn-off molars in her mouth. All the same size. All near identical.

And her tongue. Large and pink with stubs on it.

She was grotesque.

“But why…”

The woman’s mouth opened wider, and the words dissolved into a wailing kind of cry.

James backed away from her, unable to comprehend what exactly he was looking at.

He glanced around the station platform, hoping to find another person. Someone to walk up to and start talking to.

The woman edged closer to him, taking tiny steps that made him feel less safe, less secure, even though he towered over her in height.

“All alone,” she purred back at him. Her grin spread wider across her face.

Her teeth.

This time whiter than before, and sharper. Like perfectly arranged knives filing out from her bright red gums.

And the tongue, it flicked across her teeth, the barbs like tiny little cups to catch every drop of fluid in her mouth.

James’ back hit the barrier.

He was at the end of the platform. And the woman continued to creep towards him, toying with him, enjoying his vulnerability.

“Get away from me,” James tried to call out. But his words came out of his mouth like a tiny squeak.

The woman’s tongue flicked across her fangs. Bigger and sharper now. Like daggers.

Then she reached out with one arm, and her hand, covered in fine greyish hairs, flicked out her fingers. And from the fingers flicked sharp claws like curved blades.

James tried to scream.

Then the woman pounced on him.

Reading Comprehension Questions

Who are the characters in this story?

Where does the story take place?

What time of day is it?

Is it cold or warm during this story?

Does the train station platform have many people waiting there?

Who can James see at the far end of the platform?

What is this person doing when James first sees them?

Why is James going home so late?

Does he enjoy his lifestyle?

What is the first thing the homeless woman says to James?

What does James notice about her teeth?

How does James react?

Why does he pull out his mobile phone?

What news does he see on his phone?

What is the next thing the homeless woman asks James?

Describe the old woman’s hair and eyes.

What happens to the old woman’s teeth?

How does the story end?

True or False?

Look at all the statements below and say if they are true or false.


The station platform was crowded.


The homeless person was rummaging through a bin.


James was dressed appropriately for the weather.


James felt tired due to late nights in the office.


James was not able to sleep when he got home.


James went online until late when he got home every night.


James felt fresh in the morning.


The homeless person was a man.


James had a conversation with the homeless person.


The homeless person was young.


James offered money to the homeless person.


James checked his phone to avoid conversation.


There was a killing in the city mentioned in a news story.


The killing was thought to be done by a wild animal.


The homeless person’s smile was friendly.


James laughed when the homeless person asked if he was alone.


James heard cackling behind him.


James wanted the homeless person to get on the train.


James turned around and saw the homeless person had teeth.


The homeless person cried loudly.


Check your answers at the end of this lesson plan!

Essential Vocabulary


























news anchor





spun around







towered over















There may be a lot of new or unfamiliar vocabulary to you in the story. This is the perfect time to get to know these new and strange words and phrases.

Write down all the new words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look up the meaning of the new vocabulary in a dictionary or online and write down the meaning next to the word or phrase.

It should look something like this:


Thrustforce used to push or drive something forward.


Clenchedtightly gripped or held.


Then write a sentence of your own that uses the new word or phrase correctly.


John thrust forward through the crowd of people.


Charlotte clenched her fists in anger.


If you do this correctly, it will help you learn many new words and phrases. This will build your English vocabulary and writing down all the words and phrases, making sentences of your own, will all help you to remember all of this new vocabulary.

What Is The Meaning?

This is a big test on all the Essential Vocabulary from the story.

Match the words below with the right meaning on the right. There are 50 words!

Check the right answers at the end of the lesson plan…





Very old or from a long time ago


Excited, overstimulated, highly-strung


Person who presents the news on television


The act of breathing out


Shocking or sensational in a disturbing way


Crying out loudly or making a long, high-pitched sound


Strong desire or impulse to do something


People with extreme or uncontrollable behaviour


Cuts or tears in skin or flesh


Raised surface used as a stage or base


Strange or ugly in appearance or shape


Suggest or hint at something indirectly


Relating to preying or hunting for food


Stretched out or lying in an awkward or untidy way


Spoke or made a sound in a monotonous tone


Moving with a dragging or shuffling sound


State of being open to harm or damage


Wide smile showing teeth


Flat, thin, cutting objects, such as a knife or sword


Point or pointed part projecting backward from a main point


High-pitched, short, sharp sound


Radiated or shone with happiness or pride


Quickly looked at or cast one’s eyes over


Playing or messing around with in a casual manner


Abandoned or left with no one else

News anchor

Substance that flows easily and continuously


Disappeared or vanished into nothing


Understand or grasp the meaning of


Force used to push or drive something forward

Spun around

Short knives or blades used as weapons


Structure or obstacle that blocks or separates


Power to make decisions or enforce rules


Stood tall and imposing over


A type of bed covering for warmth


Long, sharp teeth, especially in a snake or other animal


Move slowly and quietly in a stealthy or frightening way

Towered over

High-pitched, harsh laugh


Searching through disorganized items to find something


Something that takes one’s attention away from something else


Participate or become involved in an activity


Sudden, forceful movement or shake


Moving upward or downward through text or graphics


Shone or sparkled with a glint of light


Jumped or sprang suddenly to attack or catch prey.


Made a low, vibrating sound


Tightly gripped or held


Group of twelve


Medical professionals who provide emergency care


Similar in appearance or character to


Turned in a circular motion

Discussion Questions

What do you think of this story?

Is it possible for an old woman to turn into a cat? How?

What animal does James refer to himself as? Why does he think this?

What kind of city does the story take place in?

If you were James in the story, how would you have reacted to the old woman?

Do you think James could have escaped? How could he do this?

What is the old woman’s story? How did she become a cat?

Assuming it is possible for the woman to turn into a cat, what happened to her for her to do this?

Was she born this way?

Did something happen to her?

What challenges do you think the woman faces with her condition of turning into a cat?

How do you think she adapted to being a cat creature?

Do you think she lives alone? Why/why not?

How has being a cat-woman affected her relationship with others?

Do you think she is concerned about all the killings in the city?

Is she worried about the police finding her?

Is there a moral or lesson to be learned from this story? What is it?

Would you like to have the ability to turn into another animal at will? What kind of animal would you like to be? Why?

If you could become an animal, what kind of things would you do?

Would you do good things or bad things?


This is a creative writing exercise.


The Cat Woman Strikes Again!


Write a story in the first person (this means you use the words I and ME in the story, the story is told by you) about a close encounter you had with the cat woman.

You were walking home and it has just turned dark. You were making your way down a quiet street when you see an old woman.

She looks like she is having trouble walking.

At first, you approach her, with the view to helping her.

But then, you see her face change.

Her eyes, her teeth…

You have read and seen enough stories on the news. You heard about the man found dead on the train station the other night.

And you manage to escape.


Now write your story.

Try to make it full of suspense. Try to make the reader feel scared!

When you have finished your story, read it out loud in front of your classmates and teacher.

Or hand it to your teacher for review.

You can download the full lesson plan by clicking the link below!

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