It’s half past dead. Your character walks tentatively toward a creepy old mansion. A talking cat jumps out of the bushes and says, “Cure the puppies in under a week. If you fail, you will never capture the wolf that slew your siblings.”
This sounded so werewolf-y. And I didn’t want to write a werewolf story. So instead I came up with a story where old witches’ familiars live in the creepy mansion (hence the talking cat). Two dogs (also talking, of course) have had puppies–and are aghast to discover that they are just normal dogs, not intelligent or talking. So they need to assure all the puppies acquire patrons before they are too old to become familiars. That’s where the protagonist comes in.