Sunday, April 10, 2005

His Name is Mortimer

Everyday when I get home from work Mortimer runs out to my truck to greet me. I park on the street and have to make a U turn at the corner before I can pull in. As I pass by the house he starts down the steps of the front porch. By the time I’ve made the turn and am pulling up to the curb he is already at the sidewalk. Before I can get out he has come around to the driver’s side and is sitting in the street waiting for me. I scratch him on the head and ask, “How’s it goin’ buddy?”. Mortimer is my cat. This happens every day.

I took Mortimer in as a stray about 4 years ago. He is 10 or 12 years old, jet black with a few gray hairs. He was a feral cat and was mean and ugly. When I first saw him he was so skinny it was hard to look at him. His big head with the jowls of a tom cat was out of proportion to his starved body. He was missing a lot of fur and had a few scars on his face. His right eye was permanently dilated. No doubt the result of some past injury he sustained in a fight. He was mean. He was the king of the alley behind my house. To him the world was put in to two categories. Everything was either food or competition for food. Other cats ran when he came by.

He was not afraid of me at all. He never ran from me if I approached but he would just hiss and then slowly walk away, occasionally looking back to make sure I wasn’t following too close. My yard was completely fenced and I had no dog so he usually took refuge there. One day while I was mowing the lawn he was sleeping under the honey suckles. As I approached with the mower I figured he would move. I got closer and closer and he didn’t move. I had the mower less than a foot from him and he still didn’t move. I thought he was dead. I pulled the mower back and touched him with my foot. He lifted his head and hissed at me as if to say, “Just go around me you asshole”. I turned off the mower and went inside and got him some food.

I opened a can of tuna and put some on a plate. I took it out to him he immediately started to devour it. I slowly put two fingers out and scratched the top of his mangy head. I then made the mistake of running my hand down his side. When I got past his shoulders he attacked. It was quick and vicious. His attack lasted no more than 3 seconds and then he quickly moved off just out of my reach. My arm was shredded. There were deep, purple puncture wounds, long scratches and lots of blood. He slowly inched back in towards the food keeping his good eye on me the whole time. That would be the last time I would touch him for several months but I still fed him every day.

To be continued…

1 comment:

wrylass said...

I guess it is the same instinct that makes us want to restore old houses, and work with animals who need help. And the same patience that makes both possible ... Even though houses are living, breathing entities, they don't come running out when you get home :) Looking forward to the rest of the story.