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Mortimer Snert and the Stray Cat

It was a crispy day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert opened his front door to go to work. He was greeted by a skinny yellow cat. Hi, cat, said Mort. Aeiou! said the cat. Mort was impressed. At least the thing knew its vowels. Now Mort was certainly no veterinarian, but he knew that yellow cats should not be so skinny. So going back into the house, he produced a can of cat food which his own two cats had turned up their noses at and tried to cover up as if they thought it tasted like crap. Plopping a healthy pile of the offending cat food into a dish, he placed it in front of the yellow cat. Aeiou! said the cat. Yummy, said Mort, eat it, pointing at the dish, then at the cat. Suddenly the cat made the connection, and inhaled the cat food. Looking up at Mort, it repeated the only word it knew. Aeiou! Returning to the refrigerator, Mort scrounged some more junk for the cat to eat. Again, the cat inhaled the food. Great, thought Mort, now I have a four legged garbage disposer living on my front porch. He was now on the verge of being late for work, so he told the cat in as firm of a voice as he could muster, Go Away. Aeiou, said the cat. Mort leaped into his car and dashed off to work. Returning home at lunch, he was greeted by the yellow disposer. I suppose you would like some lunch, said Mort. Aeiou, said the cat. Mort opened a new can of nasty cat food, and fed the cat. Then he fed himself. Leaving after lunch, he was greeted by the yellow cat, doing the all too familiar starving cat routine. Go Away, said Mort. Aeiou, said the cat. Mort left the cat to starve on the front porch while he returned to work. Returning home after work, he was greeted by none other than the yellow starving cat-disposer. Aeiou, said the cat. You Can't Be Hungry, said Mort. Aeiou!! Said the cat. Mort could sense a battle of wills about to take place. Who would outlast the other? Would the cat get enough to eat before Mort lost patience with it? Time would certainly tell. Mort appeared on the front porch with four huge cans of nasty cat food, a can opener, and a knife. The cat appeared with all its skin and bones and a loud Aeiou! Mort whipped off the top of a can of Sea Captain’s Delight and flopped half of the can into the cat's dish. The cat promptly inhaled it. In went the other half. The cat inhaled this, too. Next was the Liver and Kidney Feast. That vanished as soon as it hit the dish. Next was Turkey and Giblets with Sauce. Mort had quit rationing the food by that time and just dumped the whole can into the dish. Aeiou, said the cat, as it inhaled this, too. Dang, thought Mort. This thing must be hollow all the way through. Next came the Chicken and Liver. The cat started to inhale this, too. About halfway through the last can, the cat suddenly stopped. Aeiou! Aeiou! It said. Mort reached out to touch it. Its skin was stretched almost to the point of ripping. It could not even move, it was so full of cat food. Great, thought Mort, now the thing is going to croak because I fed it too much. Suddenly, he had a vision of the fat guy on Monty Python blowing up. He looked at the cat. Was it swelling up? He could not tell. He guessed that if it was going to blow up, and it was going to be his fault, the least he could do would be to pet it a bit, at least until right before it exploded. So sitting on the porch, he reached over and started to pet it. Instantly, its purr-motor sprang to life. Mort was amazed that it could still purr, as stuffed as it was. It waddled over in front of him and started rubbing on his knee. Now there is some malfunction in some cats that cause them, when they are happy, to slobber. This particular cat was one of these. In fact, this particular cat had salivary glands that rivaled Niagara Falls. So after a few minutes of cat petting, Mort’s leg was soaked with cat slobbers. Mort was disgusted, to say the least. Finally convinced that the cat was not going to disintegrate on his front porch, he made his way inside, leaving a trail of cat slobbers. The next day, Mort was greeted on the front porch by the skinny cat-disposer. Quickly, he scrounged up some food for the cat to inhale. At noon, the same thing happened. Mort was now convinced that the cat had adopted him, and that it would probably be there forever on the front porch wanting something to eat. Over the ensuing weeks, Mort got the cat cut back to eating just one whole big can of disgusting cat food a day. The cat was finally getting some meat on its bones, and was finally getting healthy looking. Then it started to get fat. Then it started to get Real Fat. One fine day, when Mort went out to go to work, the yellow cat was standing on its toes at the front door, and when Mort opened the door, the cat bolted inside. Now Mort had a lot of patience with cats and such, but one thing that really annoyed him was cats bolting anywhere. Much less inside when he was about to be late for work. Muttering a few oaths, he searched for the cat, which was nowhere to be found. So he decided to leave the yellow cat to the mercy of his own psycho-cat. After all, it probably deserved to be ripped to shreds for bolting the way it did. So Mort went on to work, and forgot all about the yellow cat. Coming home for lunch, he discovered a real distinctive smell when he opened the door. Mort hated rude smells, and set about immediately to find out what it was. Well, he did not have to look too far. Heading up the stairs, he discovered the smell to be much more efficient up there. Looking quickly around, he discovered the yellow cat with no name, and four shiny new kitties all bundled up in the black cat's bed. Oh, brother, thought Mort. Fortunately, the black cat was off at the cat store getting repaired, and was not expected back for a while. So the juggle was on. Mort traded everything that involved cats around, trying to fix it so all the cats would be happy. He took the black cats bed and washed it out, and traded it for a box that was in the kitchen, and moved the yellow cat downstairs to the bathroom, and found a bed for the black cat, moved the cat boxes and cat food and water and everything else he could imagine. Going back to work after having had no lunch, Mort forgot all about the yellow cat. In fact, he had to work late that night, and when he got home, he discovered a Real Distinctive Smell in the house. Mort curled his nose and made his way to the bathroom where the yellow cat was. It wasn’t there. In the middle of the floor was a gigantic mountain of cat crap. It looked like the cat had been saving up all week for this display. The kitties were nowhere to be found, the water was dumped, cat food was strewn all over creation, and the scruffy cat was standing on top of the compactor, yelling at the top of its lungs. Mort was becoming a tad irritated. Making his way upstairs, he discovered the yellow cat, which had set up housekeeping in the black cat's bed, and had dragged all of the washcloths from the linen closet into the bed and loaded the kitties on them. The black cat was sitting in a carrier, having been dropped off by Mort’s mother, and it was a tad on the irate side, too. The scruffy cat had followed him up, and was still yelling. Mort was about to lose his patience. The first thing that had to be done was the floor in the downstairs bathroom Had To Be Cleaned. Braving the fumes, he cleaned the bathroom. Then he re-arranged all the food and water, and went and retrieved the yellow cat; bed, washcloths, kitties and all. Making sure it knew about litter boxes, he closed it in the bathroom. Next he found a bed for the black cat, and arranged it, and then fixed the scruffy cat. All the cats were separated now, and none of them was happy. All three were yelling, and it was midnight, and Mort turned on his fan and his stereo to drown out the noise, and went to bed. The next morning came all too early, and Mort, having not gotten a whole lot of sleep what with the two cats that were upstairs yelling all night, was a might on the grumpy side. He left for work without feeding the various cats, or even acknowledging their existence, for that matter. Weeks passed, and school was now over, and having survived all the end of school year activities left Mort drained. He was looking forward to a nice relaxing summer, that is until the English teacher at the high school asked him to help with Shakespeare in the park. Then the local museum people asked him to help them shoot a video thang. Of course all of this was volunteer type work, and Mort found out that when other people volunteer you to do something, they usually waste five times as much time as is needed, just for the sake of wasting time. So during all this, the kitties were still growing. They outgrew the cardboard box they lived in. They outgrew the bathroom. They outgrew the bathroom and kitchen put together. Something would have to be done. Mort tried and tried to give the cats away. Everyone thought they were nice cats, but nobody wanted one. He advertised them at the cat store, he advertised them at the humane society, he even thought about borrowing a little kid and having him sit in front of the supermarket with a box that said Free Kittens. Yes Mort would have to do something soon, the cats were taking over his life, and he could not have that. Finally Mort found a nice man who desperately wanted a kitty. Mort had the man come over and pick one out and take it home. This was the magic thing that needed to happen, and all of a sudden, people were lined up at his door to get cats. Mort gave away all the kitties, and then the mother cat. He considered giving away the other two and starting over again, but decided better of it. So Mort could now reclaim his kitchen. And in the process, he made a promise to himself to not feed any more cats on the front porch.