Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Mortimer Part II

When last we left our hero he was eating tuna and I was bleeding profusely. This was about 4 years ago. As I said, it would be a long time before I would try to pet him again but I continued to feed him everyday. After a few weeks of this I decided to see just how much he could eat. I had been slowly increasing the amount of dried cat food I left for him. He would eat it all no matter what. One day I was in the backyard sitting in the sun and Mort jumped over the fence expecting food. I obliged. I gave him a big hand full and watched him eat it. I gave him another handful and another and another. He continued to eat everything I put down. I would say he ate about 4 cups of food in one sitting. All that food in his skinny body made him look like a snake that had just eaten an ostrich egg. I figured he was just going to get sick so I stopped. He eventually waddled over to the honey suckle bushes and fell asleep fat and happy.

As spring turned to summer and summer to fall the weather turned cold and wet. Mortimer took up residence in the little recycling area I had set up in the corner of the yard. There was a small shelf with a roof and a burlap cover where I put cardboard. It was the same height as the fence rail that it sat next to so he had easy access. I would go out every day after work and lift up the flap and there laid Mortimer curled up on top of the cardboard. I would put down a handful of food and then carefully scratch him on the head as he ate. I had progressed to an opened palm on the back of his head and neck but still stayed above the shoulders.

One day I heard a dog barking in my backyard. I must have left the gate open. I looked out the window and saw Mortimer making his way along the fence rail to his cardboard home. The dog was barking at him every step of the way. It was a medium sized dog with short white hair. Easily 4 times Mortimer’s size. I figured I’d go out and chase the dog out of the yard. As I walked out the backdoor Mortimer saw me. He jumped off the fence over the dogs head and started trotting across the yard to me. He acted like the dog wasn’t even there. The dog took out after Mortimer and I took out after the dog hoping to get in-between them before the dog shredded Mort’s behind.

As the dog bared down on Mort his instinct must have kicked in. Just before the dog attached Mortimer swung around and jumped on to the dogs head. He started to tare in to that dogs head the same way he tore in to my arm several months before. It was all over in a few seconds. The dog yelped and backed off a few yards. I could see blood coming from 2 or 3 scratches on the dogs face. It wasn’t too difficult to chase him out of my yard after that. I gave Mort his handful of food in his cardboard home and went back in the house.

We went on like this and Mortimer was gaining weight and looking good except for the fur. He still had big bald spots. I thought is was a skin disease or something but I would find out later he was doing it to himself. In his aggressive attack on his fleas he would pull out clumps of his fur. I’m still not sure if he pulled out his fur in order to get to the fleas or if the fur removal was just a byproduct of him trying to kill the fleas. Once the fleas were under control his coat would come in thick and shiny. To this day when ever I see large clumps of black fur around the house I know it is time for more flea juice on the back of his neck.

Regardless of the fur problem he was starting to look good. He had a little home and a steady supply of food. He was able to clean himself on a regular basis and he had put on a few pounds. I was thinking about bringing him in the house but he never seemed interested and to be honest he still seemed very aggressive and I really didn’t trust him. One evening I went out to give him his food and he wasn’t there. I left it for him and didn’t think much of it. The next day after work I went out to feed him and last nights food was still there. The next day the same thing. I started to think maybe he had been hit by a car or picked up by the pound or something. I took a walk around the block hoping I wouldn’t find him dead in the gutter.

That night it rained very hard. This was in December or January. I had been feeding him for about 8 or 9 months now. I still hadn’t seen him in a few days and I was starting to think I would never see him again. I was watching TV and I heard a cat meowing on the front porch. I opened the door and it was Mortimer. He looked fine except the tip of his right ear was missing. He looked up at me as if to say, “I’ve had enough of this crap. I want in”. I opened the door wider and he walked in. I sat down on the couch and he made his way around the house checking everything out. He eventually came back to the couch and jumped up in my lap. I still didn’t trust him. I leaned back to keep my face a safe distance from those claws. I slowly petted him on the head and carefully ran my hand down his back. After a few minutes he began to purr. We sat there for a few minutes and then I got him some food.

That night and for several nights after that he slept in the bathroom. I still didn’t trust him. I would find out later that he had been trapped and neutered. The ear was clipped so if he was trapped again they would know he was already fixed. Slowly we gained each others trust and he has turned out to be one of the best pets I’ve ever had. He is always there when I’m working on the house. Everyday he runs out to my truck and greets me when I got home form work. He also knows a trick, or maybe it’s a fetish. Whenever he sees me holding a paper bag his eyes bug out and he gets down in to a crouching position like he wants to pounce on something. As I put the bag on the floor his butt begins to wiggle back and forth and he takes out for the bag. He hits the bag at full speed and most of his body goes in. His back feet continue to run and he pushes himself along the floor inside the bag until he smacks in to the wall or a piece of furniture or something. He sits there for a few seconds in the bag and then climbs out. I pick up the bag and move it across the room and he races in again – smack! This continues until I get tired of it.


StuccoHouse said...

Great story :-) Georgeous cat.

Kristin said...

I love this kind of story. I'm so glad you and Mortimer found each other.