21

Cat Forum: Valentine’s Day

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Snoops and Kommando here. Thank you for joining us for another edition of Cat Forum. As you may know, Friday is Valentine’s Day. Yep. Another day for humans to give presents to each other. As cats, we welcome presents any time. This year we’re giving the humans some ideas about special ways they can spend time with us.

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Kommando: I’m going to ask Mom to take us to a cat café.

Snoops: Why do you want that?

Kommando: I want to order a salmon steak.

Snoops: That’s not what a cat café is. They have people come in and look at cats, possibly to adopt them.

Kommando: That’s dumb. French cafes are for French people. Italian cafes are for Italian people. Why can’t cat cafes serve food to cats?

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Snoops: I don’t know. People are strange.

Kommando: That’s for sure. How about if she rents that “Cats” movie? It’s full of cats, right?

Snoops: Sort of. It’s a bunch of people dressed up like cats. And they sing.

Kommando: Do they really look like cats?

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Snoops: I don’t think so. They use human faces.

Kommando: That’s really creepy. What do you think we should do with Mom?

Snoops: I found this site called Elite Daily that has some ideas:

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Game Night – The human is supposed to spend the whole night playing with us. She’s even supposed to buy each of us a new toy.

Watch TV – We’re supposed to cuddle up with Mom and watch that big black screen in the corner of the living room. The people at Daily Elite recommend something called Planet Earth on Netflix. It seems like any show with a lot of animals in it might work.

Cat Treat Baking Party – The human is supposed to make fancy treats for us and then feed them to us. They recommend the human find recipes on YouTube under “Cat Treat Recipes.

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Build a Cat Fort – The human is supposed to get boxes from work or packages that come to the house. Then the night before Valentine’s Day, they secretly build a fort to surprise us with on Valentine’s Day.

Cook a Special Dinner for Two – The human makes a dinner that we like. Then we sit down at a special table and eat it.

Dance Around to Our Favorite Songs – She finds recordings of our favorite songs and then we dance together.

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Kommando: I don’t know. A couple of them sound a little weird.

Snoops: You’re right. I’m not sure any of them would work for us. I can’t see game night really working out. You hog all the toys.

Kommando: I can’t help it if I’m better at it.

Snoops: Whatever. Mom never has the TV on. I’m not sure she knows how to use it.

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Kommando: We could get our fur-less brother to set it up. Dad used to use it.

Snoops: If that’s what they want us to watch, forget it.

Kommando: I think our shows wouldn’t have so many people in them.

Snoops: I don’t see the point in the cat treat baking party or building a fort. They both sound pawsome, but I don’t see where we get to spend time with Mom.

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Kommando: I agree. The dinner for two sounds good. But I want to be with Mom, not at a special dinner.

Snoops: I’m not sure how it’s different from when Mom shares her dinner with us.

Kommando: True. I hate the idea of a dance party. I don’t want Mom dancing around with me in her arms. And I don’t have favorite songs; I don’t like music.

Snoops: So what should we do with Mom on Valentine’s Day?

Kommando: I like the idea of an extra-long nap with her on the bed warmer.

Snoops: Great idea!

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

25

Who’s Our New Neighbor? – Part 3

Image result for cats and meerkats"

Where we are: Calico Corners has welcomed a meerkat construction company from Africa to the neighborhood. They have brought over their lion financial/legal team to finalize the paperwork. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

The lions have hit a few roadblocks that no one in Africa had mentioned. They met with the meerkats to discuss things.

Leonard Lion: Mikki, were you aware that the broker had you buy property that’s not in the desert?

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Mikki: It did seem odd that we had to request that the lawn be taken out. Usually you need to have it added. So, where are we?

Leonard: It’s a place called the Midwest.

Marcel Meerkat: What’s it mid-west of?

Leona Lion: No one really seemed to know.

Mikki: They have nice dirt to burrow in. It may not be a problem to work here.

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Leonard: The dirt isn’t the problem. It’s the weather. It gets really cold here.

Leona: And it snows.

Giselle: It gets cold in the desert at night. But what’s snow?

Mikki: It’s white stuff. It looks pretty, but it’s like fluffy frozen rain.

Maria Meerkat: We can’t live in that! We’ll freeze.

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Giselle: It does explain why the cats here have such thick, fluffy coats.

Maria: And houses.

Mikki: So how long does this snow last?

Leona: It could be up to 4 months.

Mikki: That’s not good.

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The meerkats looked at each other. No one said anything. Finally, Giselle broke the silence.

Giselle: Let’s go talk to the cats.

Everyone gathered, and Mikki explained the situation. Oddly, Cielle didn’t seem surprised.

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Cielle: I’d been wondering what you were going to do in the winter. Then when the lions asked me about the weather, I realized no one had told you about winter.

Tammy: Oh, you poor things! No one told you about the cold?

Leonard: Unfortunately, no.

Mikki: It looks like we’ll have to return to Africa. I hate to say that because we’ve come to love all of you.

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Everyone looked distressed, even the lions.

Cielle: I had an idea, if you’re interested.

Mikki: Definitely.

Cielle: My family has several businesses and there are lots of air ducts and other small passageways to maintain. You could work for us when it’s too cold to construct.

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The meerkats huddled together and chattered excitedly.

Mikki: We would like to take you up on your very kind offer. We can learn to sleep inside for that time.

The lions still looked dejected.

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Leonard: I guess it’s time for us to go.

Tammy: Actually, we’ve been talking. You two are very kind. We were wrong to be afraid of you. You’re welcome to stay if you’d like. If there’s no company job, you can be security. No one else knows how sweet you both are.

The lions looked at Mikki.

Mikki: Of course. There’s plenty of room for all of us in the house.

The cats all clapped and cheered. And they all lived happily ever after in Calico Corners.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

12

Who’s Our New Neighbor? – Part 2

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Where we are: There’s a new family moving into Calico Corners and they sound a little strange. They have a lot of children and requested that the lawn be replaced with extra dirt. You can see Part 1 here.

The family moved in a few weeks later. The next day, several residents went to Cielle Calico’s office. Cielle had been expecting them ever since he learned more about the new residents.

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Cielle: Good morning, all. It’s nice to see everyone so bright and early.

Sammy: Good morning, Cielle. You sold that house to a family of lions.

Tammy: It looks like they brought their own prey. It’s disgusting.

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Frankie: I’m not sending my kids to school with lion cubs. What if the cubs get hungry?

Sammy: What about us? We’ll probably be next after they run out of what they brought.

The cats all began to talk at the same time. There were even some growls.

Cielle: Please calm down everyone! I did not sell the house to lions. You should know me better than that.

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Sammy: So why are they living in the house?

Cielle: That’s just temporary. They’ll only be here for a few weeks to finalize the paperwork for the new business.

Tammy: Who did you sell the house to?

Cielle: Mikki Meerkat, the owner of MM Construction.

Image result for meerkats tunneling

The cats looked confused.

Morrie: What’s a meerkat?

Cielle: They’re the other animals you saw.

Morrie: Those skinny things? They don’t look like any cat I’ve ever seen. They did tunnels and sleep in them.

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Cielle: They’re not cats. They’re more like weasels. They’re very nice. You should go introduce yourselves.

Morrie: Maybe tomorrow. I need to think about this.

The other cats nodded in agreement.

Later that day, Tammy’s two kittens came racing home from school.

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Abby: Mom, guess what happened at school today.

Before Tammy had a chance to answer, Andy broke in:

Andy: We got new students today. But they’re not regular cats. They’re meerkats.

Abby: And meerkats aren’t really cats at all. They’re totally pawsome! They can stand on their back legs and look around.

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Andy: And they make tunnels! Can we invite them over?

Tammy: Not until I meet their parents.

Abby: Can we all go over there now?

Tammy: It’s not polite to just show up at someone’s front door.

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Andy: But, Mom. The parents are really nice. They dropped their kids off at school and stayed to talk to us. They speak pretty good Cat, too.

Abby: Please, Mom?

Tammy: Let me call over there and invite the family for dinner.

Abby and Andy: Thank you!

Andy: By the way, their favorite food is beetles.

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Tammy: Oh. I wonder where you buy those?

Mikki and Giselle Meerkat came over with their three pups. Abby and Andy were right; they were extremely nice and told wonderful stories about living in Africa. The kids had a great time. Tammy promised they would do it again soon.

Tammy spread the word to the other cats about the great time they’d had with the Meerkats. She organized a welcome party for the entire clan. Before long, the Meerkats were part of the group.

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Next week: Did everyone live happily ever after?

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

25

Who’s Our New Neighbor?

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Everyone was excited in Calico Corners, an exclusive subdivision of mainly executives in the food industry. It sounded like they finally had a buyer for the Foster property. It had been empty since Suzy Moggy-Foster had been reassigned to the research facility in Paraguay.

It was unusual for the house to still be on the market since it was an extremely desirable location, and houses often sold before they could be listed on the market. Many cats wondered if it had something to do with Suzy’s rather odd hobby of breeding and selling muskrats.

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Suzy’s replacement was an outsider who really didn’t understand the business. Luckily, he and the company decided it wasn’t working out before he had bought a house. They had no idea who would hire a Rottweiler to be lead taste tester over a team of cats.

It had been four months and the neighbors were really hoping someone would buy it. It was annoying to have those real estate people in the neighborhood. And some of their client cats tromped through the gardens as if they owned the place. Those cats would never fit in at Calico Corners.

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Now it looked like it had been sold to someone. Cielle Calico, heiress to the family who had started the company, told the head of the private school, Tracie Tuxie, to expect some new students. Cielle wasn’t sure how many, but probably 10-12.

The cats were appalled. What type of cat family had that many kittens? Didn’t they know it was bad manners to have more than one litter with all the overpopulation issues? In fact, some couples were choosing not to have kittens at all.

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At the homeowners’ association meeting, the cats wanted answers.

Tammy Tabby: Is it true that you finally sold the Foster house?

Cielle: Yes, we did. And they’re lovely animals.

Sammy Shorthair: What do they do?

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Cielle: The tom owns a construction business and he’s opening a branch here.

Frankie Forest: What breed of cat are they?

Cielle: I’m not really sure. I’m working with a broker.

Frankie: Well, where are they coming from?

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Cielle: Somewhere in Africa.

Tammy: Wow. That’s a long way. It will be exciting to have such interesting neighbors.

Sammy: I can guarantee that they’ll have short fur like me. When are they moving in.?

Cielle: As soon as we have their property ready.

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Tammy: What are you doing to it?

Cielle hesitated.

Cielle: We’re taking out all of the grass and bringing in extra dirt.

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Frankie: What? We don’t want that in our neighborhood. Do you have any idea what that’s going to look like? It’ll ruin the appeal of the entire subdivision.

Morrie Manx: That’s for sure. Exactly what type of cats are these?

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Next week: The new neighbors move in.

 Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

20

Cat Forum: New Year’s Resolutions

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Greetings fellow felines and assorted others. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. The is our first opportunity to tell you about our New Year’s resolutions. We decided to make joint resolutions this year. So, here they are:

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We resolve not to fight so much.

Kommando: You mean you won’t lick my neck only to chomp on it?

Snoops: I have to make sure it’s clean. And it’s not like I can actually get to the skin through all that thick fur. Besides, I think it’s more directed at you hiding out and then attacking me.

Kommando: I do not hide out.

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Snoops: What do you call running in from another room or behind a box?

Kommando: Strategic placement of my body.

Snoops: Grrr.

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We resolve not to eat each other’s food.

Kommando: Yeah. No more snarfing my canned food.

Snoops: I do not snarf your food.

Kommando: I’ve seen you do it.

Snoops: I don’t touch your food until you’ve left the room. Besides you do the same thing.

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Kommando: I still think you get more than your share.

Snoops: What about you? I wait at the kibble dish or the water fountain while someone fills it, and as soon as you hear the sound of them being refilled you run in and push me out of the way.

Kommando: I’m just trying to protect you from being poisoned. You should thank me.

Snoops: Thank you? Mom is not going to poison us. You’re just being rude.

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We resolve not to fight over Mom.

Snoops: Meaning that you will not step on me or push me out of the way to get next to Mom.

Kommando: She’s MY human.

Snoops: She belongs to both of us.

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Kommando: Nope. Don’t you remember? Your humans were Dad and the blond girl. My humans were Mom and blondie’s brother. It was all Kommando, all the time for Mom. You can’t blame me because you ran out of humans and mine are both still here.

Snoops: That’s just mean. Mom said that she’s the primary human for both of us.

Kommando: It doesn’t mean that I don’t get first cuddles.

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Snoops: Lucky Mom goes out of her way to make sure I get enough pets and cuddles.

Kommando: Grrr.

Snoops: Was there anything else?

Kommando: No. I think apart from those things, we’re pretty much perfect.

Snoops: I agree. Let’s take a nap.

Kommando: Sounds good to me.

All pictures (except us) courtesy of Google Images

14

Ellie Alligator, Exchange Student

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Swampland High School in the Everglades has started a student exchange program with Great Lakes Academy on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The program is 6 months long – July – December. Below are selected entries on the school’s blog. 

July 1 – Hey Fellow Swampies, It’s me, the Elinator. That’s right, it’s Ellie N. Alligator with her first report from sunny Michigan. I’m so glad you elected me as the first exchange student in our new program. The flight up here was a little scary. Can you believe they were going to make me fly cargo because some family of sheep felt threatened? Like I was a savage or something. I had to sit way at the back, but at least I was inside.

Anyway, I’m staying with the Stones. They’re really nice, but they’re Turtles! I knew there weren’t any alligator families up here, but I didn’t know there really aren’t many big reptiles at all. A few iguanas but that’s about it. These turtles aren’t big enough to eat the kind of food I eat. Mrs. Stone said we’d figure something out. Gotta go. They’re going to show me around Manistee.

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 July 15 – Michigan is so weird! Remember how we decided that this would be a good place to exchange students with because it’s hot and humid part of the year? They think 85 degrees is hot. I mean, it’s pleasant but what’s going to happen when it cools down? And the big lake that we all thought would be fun. Flash – it’s cold water! And it has a cool breeze coming off it. that kind of ruins the hot and humid. It’s really nice basking in the sun, but this is not what I expected.

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August 8 – I just found out about my classmates when school starts. The place is full of mammals. I mean the biggest collection of furry creatures I’ve ever seen. There are beavers, skunks, lynx, and even a couple of bears. Bears around here are big! If the bears are regular students, no one better tell me I’m scary. We toured the school. It’s all inside, can you believe it? They said it was because the weather gets cool and wet. And then it snows. How am I supposed to store up energy? Apparently that’s not a problem for furry animals. I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this.

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September 12 – I am not having fun on this trip. The other animals are really nice to me, but I miss all of you. No one speaks Gator up here, so I’m always trying to find the right thing to say. And the teachers won’t give me enough time to get from one class to another. They say that I could move faster if I wanted to. I tried to tell them that we only run if we’re chasing food, but they don’t care. Maybe I should pretend they’re some kind of delicacy. Just have to remember it’s a game before I eat them.

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October 30 – It is cold here. I can barely move most of the time. Both the Stones and the school have bought me heat lamps. I know they’re doing the best they can, but this is no place for alligators. If they turn the heat up high enough for me, everyone else is too warm. I saw something called a sweater in a catalog. They’re made out of wool or fake wool, and you wear them to keep warm. I wonder if they come in alligator sizes?

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November 20 – Remember how we all thought it would be fun to see snow? It isn’t. It’s cold and wet and disgusting. And there’s a lot of it. It’s been higher than me since the first time it came down. All of the mammals love it. They can run around and play in it. I sit under my heat lamp and shiver. I want to know who did the research on this place. I am never coming back.

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December 5 – I’m back!! The people in Michigan felt so sorry for me that they let me come home a month early and still earn full credit. I’ve been in the swamp for 3 days and am finally beginning to feel normal again. It is so nice to be able to go out and lay in the sun. I’m surprised my tail didn’t freeze off up there. Gotta go. I still need a lot of sun to get my old energy back.

Advice: Michigan is nice to visit, but two weeks is definitely enough time to do everything that might interest an alligator.

Image result for alligator in lake michigan"

 

Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

14

Santa Claws and the New Delivery System – Part 2

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Where we are: Mortimer Weasel has convinced Santa Claws that he needs to have his toys built by elves all over the world rather than just the North Pole. Santa would be able to pick up the toys locally for delivery to the kittens in the area. Unfortunately, Santa finds out three days before Christmas that some of the toys won’t be ready.

(The link to the first part of the story is at the right.)

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Santa: What am I going to do? That idiot has ruined Christmas for all of those poor little kittens.

Mrs. Claws: I have an idea.

Santa: Thank you, dear. But I don’t think there’s time for anything now.

Mrs. Claws: Just trust me.

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Mrs. Claws ran off while Santa continued to pace back and forth. Finally, he curled up in front of the fire and went to sleep. He dreamed about chasing weasels through the snow.

When Santa woke up, it was dark. Mrs. Claws still wasn’t back. He walked back to the house; she wasn’t there either. Where had she gone? Finally, she came in and nuzzled Santa.

Santa: There you are! I was getting worried. Where have you been?

Mrs. Claws: I told you. I had an idea about how to fix your problem.

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Santa: Did it work?

Mrs. Claws: We’ll know in the morning.

Santa and Mrs. Claws had dinner. They curled up and went to sleep. Before they knew it, someone was ringing the bell. Santa got up and answered the door. It was Greta. She had been chief of toy production before Mortimer eliminated her job.

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Santa: Greta! It’s wonderful to see you! How have you been? What brings you here?

Greta: I’m great, Santa. Mrs. Claws came to see me yesterday and told me about your problems. We elves had been wondering how this new system was going to work. Everyone’s feeling badly that we let that weasel talk us into it.

Santa: It’s not your fault, Greta. I’m sure he made it sound fool-proof.

Greta: Anyway, is Mrs. Claws here?

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Mrs. Claws: Greta! How are you doing?

Greta: We’re ready to show Santa the big surprise.

Santa: What big surprise?

Mrs. Claws: You’ll see. Come with us.

The three of them walked toward the toy shop. Santa was surprised to see all the lights on. The local elves had finished their work at the beginning of the month and were all on vacation until after Christmas.

Image result for cat toys under christmas tree"

Greta opened the door, and Santa saw the elves working feverishly, building the extra toys he needed.

Santa: Greta, how did you do this? I thought everyone had left town.

Greta: No one wanted to miss Christmas Eve, even if we weren’t working. When Mrs. Claws told us about the kittens who were going to miss their visit from Santa Claws, we got to work. You should have everything you need before you go.

Santa: Greta, I can’t believe you would do that. Particularly after the way Mortimer treated you.

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Greta: It doesn’t have anything to do with him. It’s about the kittens.

Santa: That’s true. It is about the kittens. I don’t know how to thank you. Please tell the elves that they’ll be getting double their regular Christmas bonus regardless of whether or not they get everything finished.

Santa and Mrs. Claws left the elves to their work. Santa was beside himself with excitement. Maybe it was going to be all right after all.

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The next day, Santa got dressed and ready for the trip. He went to the toy shop to see how everything had worked out. He was amazed to see everything he needed for the area around Guam.

Greta: What do you think, Santa? They’re all here; no kitten with be without a gift. I’m really proud of the team.

Santa: Greta, the team is truly incredible. Excellent as always. I couldn’t have done this Christmas without all of you.

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Santa Claws made his trip around the world. The new regional delivery system wasn’t too bad, but he didn’t like not having control of the quality. Some things just weren’t up to his and Greta’s standards.

When Santa returned to the North Pole, he fired Mortimer and gave Greta her old job back. He didn’t want to fire all of the regional elves, so Greta worked out a system where they would do early production. Everything would be sent to the North Pole for completion and quality control.

 Image result for happy kittens"

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.