9

Santa Claws and the New Delivery System

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Santa Claws was not a happy cat. It was three days before Christmas and his new Christmas route had not been finalized. He hated the new system.

Santa: Fluffy, my pet, why did they have to change my schedule now?

Mrs. Claws: You know very well what happened. That new employee you haired got everyone stirred up about working too hard, so we had to outsource some of the work to elves in other parts of the world.

Santa: I am never hiring another weasel. He has been nothing but trouble. Where is Mortimer anyway?

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Mrs. Claws: I’m not sure. The last time I saw him he was offering to get Mindy Mink some cocoa.

Santa (laughing): I wonder if he knows her boyfriend is a wolverine.

Mrs. Claws: I’m sure he’ll find out soon enough,

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Sant texted Mortimer. A few minutes later he was in the office.

Santa: Where is my schedule?

Mortimer: Don’t worry, you’ll get it.

Santa (growling): I want it now.

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Mortimer: It’s not ready.

Santa: What do you mean it’s not ready? Christmas Eve is in two days.

Mortimer: I know! I know!

Santa: When will it be ready?

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Mortimer hesitated.

Santa: Well?

Mortimer: There’s been a little glitch.

Santa: What kind of glitch?

Mortimer: Well, the team in Guam has had a lot of absences and their toys aren’t ready.

Santa: What do you mean they’re not ready?

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Mortimer: Um, the stuffed mice and treats are ready, but the crinkly tunnels and special cat beds are still being worked on.

Santa: WHAT? That’s a disaster! What are you going to do about it?

Mortimer: What do you mean me? I’m not an elf. I’m staff, like all the other non-felines.

Santa: You’re going to be staff clearing ice off the compound if you can’t fix this.

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Mortimer: OK! Take it easy! Don’t get your fur in a hairball. I’ll see what I can do.

Santa: When you told me about your stupid plan, I said it wouldn’t work.

Mortimer: It’s not a stupid plan. It’s brilliant. We have workshops all over the world. All you have to do is drop by to pick up the toys for that area. No more lugging everything all over the world.

Santa: I said that we needed to have everything here so it could be sorted and put in the right order. It’s a magic bag, remember? It doesn’t require lugging. Now look at the mess you’ve made. We’ll have crying kittens all everywhere. My reputation will be ruined.

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Santa Claws arched his back and began to growl. Mortimer looked at the door.

Mrs. Claws: I think you need to leave now, Mortimer.

Mortimer was out the door before she finished.

Mrs. Claws: Don’t worry. We’ll think of something.

Santa continued to hiss and growl.

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Coming up: Will Mrs. Claws be able to save Christmas for the kittens?

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

Gallery
17

Cat Forum: 2019 Christmas Wish List

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Greetings. Snoops and Kommando here. It’s that time of year again. You need to get your list of gift requests to your human before you get another ugly Christmas sweater “because you look so cute in sweaters.” We may look cute in sweaters, but it’s the equivalent of you getting your human ugly Christmas socks every year. Boring. So, once again, we have some suggestions you can put next to your human’s morning coffee. We can guarantee it will get a better response than the mouse you left the last time.

We have included links for your convenience.

Crown Bed Micro Plush Pink  – $62

Get the bed that reflects the princess that you really are. It’s soft and comfy. Just what you need after a long day lounging in the sun and running after your favorite toy. It looks good anywhere, so it can go in your favorite spot.

Cat Condo – $133

On2Pets Cat Condo Furniture

If you’re like us, nothing beats climbing into a nice safe spot where we can relax in peace. This cat condo will be perfect for all you indoor cats who don’t get a chance to climb the real thing. If you look closely, you will be able to see the tuxie in the middle of the tree. Perfect camouflage or what?

Perch Cat Tree – $76.06

Are you looking for the perfect piece of furniture for both scratching and sleeping? Let us introduce you to this rattan beauty. A pole to scratch, a carpet to scratch, a toy to play with, and a big comfy bed. There’s also a perch at the top for a better view of your domain. We think any cat would be happy with this gift.

Luxury Pet Stroller – $218.86

HPZ Pet Rover Prime 3-in-1 Luxury Dog/Cat/Pet Stroller (Travel Carrier +Car Seat +Stroller) with Detach Carrier/Pump-Free Rubber Tires/Aluminum Frame/Reversible Handle for Medium & Small Pets

Are you an indoor cat dying to see the world, but wouldn’t wear a leash if your life depended on it. We have the perfect solution. Your human can wheel you around in style. It’s good looking, with plenty of room to carry your favorite snacks and toys. It comes with rubber wheels and great suspension, so you won’t have to worry about your human thumping you around as you survey life in the neighborhood.

Tunnel Bed – $37.99

Kitty City Large Cat Tunnel Bed, Cat Bed, Pop Up Bed, Cat Toys, Christmas Tree

What we like about this item is the plush tunnel topped by the plush bed. If you get too tired playing, you can just jump on top and take a quick cat nap. We think it’s perfect for a multi-cat household. As you can see, the top level is a great ambush spot for jumping on brothers and sisters.

We hope you have found something interesting in these suggestions, or at least they’ve given you something to think about. Please alert your human to the fact that these gifts are much less expensive than they ones we usually show.

Happy Shopping!

13

Cat Forum: Valentine’s Day

Kommando: Hey Snoops, look. It’s an advertisement for Valentine’s Day.

Snoops: I didn’t know Valentine had his own day.

Kommando: I think they just stole his name. This is all about buying jewelry and stuff. It says you should do it to show her how much you care.

Snoops: I wonder who she is, and why she needs so much stuff. Let’s see if we can find it on the Internet.

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Kommando: Ooh. Good idea. They know everything there.

Snoops: Hmm. It says it’s the feast of St. Valentine. The celebration of love and affection.

Kommando: And getting stuff. It’s another human holiday for getting stuff.

Snoops: It’s supposed to be romantic. A lot of people use it as a day to propose.

Kommando: Well, it can’t be too important, we didn’t know about it.

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Snoops: That’s because it’s for humans.

Kommando: They love us. Why don’t we get gifts?

Snoops: We don’t like chocolate or jewelry.

Kommando: They could give us salmon.

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Snoops: Humans don’t think salmon is romantic.

Kommando: It’s not for them, it’s for us.

Snoops: Wait a minute. This Internet thing says there are Valentine’s gifts for cats.

Kommando: Does it show a salmon?

Snoops: Forget about the salmon. Humans don’t think dead fish are romantic.

Kommando: Humans are weird. So what do they think we’d like?

Snoops: Actually, this first thing is kinda nice.

Kommando: Ooh. A fake sheep bed! I like fake sheep. It’s really warm.

Snoops: Yeah. That says “love” to me.

Kommando: Anything else good?

Snoops: Well, there’s a collar. But it has a bell on it. It would be worthless when I’m mousing.

Kommando: OK. We’ll put that in the “no” column.

Snoops: I like this next one:

Kommando: Purr-fect! A castle. Mom calls us princesses. She might get us that.

Snoops: Maybe. I think it’d really add to the decor around here.

Kommando: Is there anything there that says, “I love you” in human?

Snoops: Well, this bowl looks like something they might think is romantic:

Kommando: That’d be pawsome! Hearts for the human, food for us! I think we need to talk to Mom about this Valentine’s Day thing.

Snoops: Definitely. Anything that reminds her to feed us is good.

Kommando: Yeah. A food dish and some salmon. The perfect Valentine’s Day.

 

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Gift ideas courtesy of https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/valentines-day-10-gifts-for-cats-gift-guide

Photos courtesy of Google Images

 

 

17

Happy Easter Billy Bilby!

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We’d like to introduce you to a special animal, the Easter Bilby. He’s a celebrity in Australia although he may be less known by some of you. The Easter Bilby is busy this time of year, so we’re going to talk to a close friend.

Billy Bilby, welcome to Cheeseland. Thank you for taking the time to introduce us to the Easter Bilby.

No worries, I’m happy to be here and spread the word about the Easter Bilby. After all, we bilbies are having a problem with our population declining and want people to be aware that we even exist.

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On that note, can you tell us a little bit about bilbies?

We’re small, furry marsupials who live in the desert. Our bodies are about 55 cm/22 inches long and our tails about 29 cm/11.5 inches. We weigh about 2.5 kg/5.5 pounds. We have long noses (excellent sense of smell) and large ears (excellent sense of hearing and help keep us cool). The ladies are about half the size of the gents.

We have extremely soft fur that is mainly blue-grey with white tummies. Bilbies live in fancy burrows. We only come out and night and will eat anything.

Two fun facts about bilbies?

The word bilby is from the Aboriginal Yuwaalaraay language. (I wouldn’t try to pronounce it unless you belong to the group.)

We don’t drink water. We get all we need from what we eat.  (Like koalas)

So how did the Easter Bilby replace the Easter Rabbit in Australia?

Unfortunately, rabbits are not very popular in Australia. They were brought in by the Brits in the 19th century and reproduced until they had taken over the country. Rabbits drove some of the native animals and plants to extinction.

In the 1990’s, the humans decided that the rabbit had to go as the symbol of Easter. They wanted something native to replace it. Since we look something like a rabbit (ears only), we got the job. We’ve been around Australia for a very long time.

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And the tradition has stuck.

Yes, but we’ve lost the association with the anti-rabbit people. Now it’s more of a survival issue. You see, we’re endangered in some parts of Australia and vulnerable in others.

That’s awful. What happened?

The usual: loss of habitat, hunting. I am actually a Greater Bilby. There used to be Lesser Bilbies, but they died out about 70 years ago. (Unless the humans lost them.)

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Is the Easter Bilby tradition working?

It seems to be. There is much greater awareness of who we are and why we are important residents of Australia. In fact, The Commonwealth of Australian Endangered Species Program has chosen us as a mascot, so we’re becoming famous.

They have even started to introduce populations of us into places that haven’t seen bilbies in a very long time. Did you know that we once populated 70% of Australia? And that’s a big place!

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What does the Easter Bilby do?

Pretty much what the Easter Bunny does. Except he delivers chocolate bilbies instead of chocolate rabbits. And he runs rather than hops.

Do you think the idea of the Easter Bilby will spread?

Probably not. The rabbits pretty much have a lock on the market. But that’s OK. We only live in Australia and want to continue living here for a very long time. We have no plans to invade Britain.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

I’m happy to share.

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Trivia – In March 1968, 9-year-old Rose-Marie Dusting wrote “Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby.” She published it 11 years later.

Sales Pitch: Chocolate bilbies are produced by Pink Lady and Haigh’s Chocolates. (Cadbury pulled out of the market shortly before Easter.) The companies give a percentage of sales to conservation efforts. Pink Lady parent company, Fyna Foods manufactures chocolate bilbies as part of the Australian Bush Friends Easter chocolates. A percentage of the Bush Friends sales is also donated to the Save the Bilby Fund.

 

8

Why We Don’t See the Easter Bunny – Part 2

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Previously – Gunnar, a current descendant of the original Easter Bunny (a real bunny), has decided to see what was happening with Easter now that the family has outsourced most of it to the humans. So far, he is not happy. He is going to see the Easter Bunny at the mall for an explanation.

Gunnar arrived at the mall. He had never seen such a thing. The mall was huge. And full of humans. Rather scary for a small rabbit. He hopped past all the signs for Easter sales. They were on almost every window: clothing stores, technology stores, mattress stores, perfume shops. Do people really give each other mattresses for Easter?

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He finally found a sign for the Easter Bunny. He saw a large group of people lined up before a throne. On the throne was a creature in some kind of costume with large ears and fake whiskers. There was a sign next to him that said “Easter Bunny”.

“Oh my carrots, is that what the humans think the Easter Bunny looks like?” wondered Gunnar. “That’s not even a rabbit.” He got as close to the line as he could without being seen. He wanted to hear what the humans thought of the fake rabbit.

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“Mommy, is that the real Easter Bunny?”

“Of course he is.”

“Is he going to bring me a basket with toys?”

“Yes, dear. On Easter morning.”                                                                           

Gunnar moved along the line.

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“Mama, he looks kind of scary. I didn’t think he’d be so big.”

“That’s OK. He’s actually very friendly.”

“Do I tell him what I want for Easter?”

“I don’t think that’s the way it works. We’re here to have your picture taken with him. Grandma wants to show it to her friends.”

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Gunnar thought about it. People were standing in line to take pictures of their children with a big, scary fake rabbit. Humans were very strange.

Then he heard a grumbling at the front of the line. Hopping up he saw a sign, “The Easter Bunny will be taking a short break. His assistants are available if you have any questions about the photo packages. No personal checks.”

Gunnar went behind the screen to see if he could talk to the “Easter Bunny.” He heard voices from a small room. Gunnar was speechless. The man in the costume had taken off the head. He was unshaven and didn’t even look clean.

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Gunnar wrinkled his nose. The man didn’t smell clean either. And he reeked of cigarettes. Gunnar listened.

“Whoever designed this thing should have to wear it for a while. It’s hot,” smelly and I can’t even see out of the eyes.”

Gunnar wanted to tell the man why the costume smelled, but continued to listen.

“I need to go outside for a cigarette.”

“You know the rules. No leaving this room without the head.”

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“I can’t smoke with the head on.”

“That’s OK. The Easter Bunny doesn’t smoke. Besides, it’s time to go back out.”

“Great. The next kid that tries to rip off my head is going on the floor.”

“Eddie, you can’t do that. No hurting the children.”

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“Fine. But the next one that pees on me is going back to Mom.”

“That’s why we got you the plastic sheet to go under the blanket on your lap.”

“The talent agency never told me what a miserable job this is.”

Gunnar left without talking to the man. How could someone who didn’t like children pretend to be the Easter Bunny? And who would believe that disgusting man was really the Easter Bunny?

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As he was leaving the area, Gunnar noticed a sign, “Brunch with the Easter Bunny.” It had a picture of the same rabbit imposter who was on the throne. “What a disgusting idea,” Gunnar thought.

Depressed, Gunnar returned to the forest. He poured himself a large glass of carrot juice and thought for a while. His relatives had made a huge mistake. The humans had changed the idea of the Easter Bunny almost beyond recognition.

“I wonder who I call to give the humans responsibility for the rest of the Easter goodies.”

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15

Why We Don’t See the Easter Bunny

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At one time, the Easter Bunny roamed freely during the late winter and early spring. He handed out painted eggs and other springtime treats to animals and humans. It was a job taken on by one family and passed on through the generations.

As time went by, the process got combined with Easter. And the baskets began to get more complex. Chocolate eggs and jelly beans were added. Then marshmallow bunnies and chocolate bunnies. Finally, all types of candy went into the basket.

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The bunnies decided to outsource some of the activities to the humans. It was a difficult decision to make, but the process had gotten out of hand. The bunnies handed off everything except the boiled eggs, chocolate eggs, and jelly beans for the humans. They would continue to bring treats to the animals at the beginning of spring.

They also licensed the name “Easter Bunny” to the humans and allowed them to create a more generic representation of it. The bunnies had made the baskets as a gift of friendship and assumed the humans would continue the tradition.

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Gunnar Kani, the current representative of the original bunny family, wasn’t sure he liked the deal his relatives had made. He really didn’t like humans since he had learned that they kill and eat rabbits. Gunnar went on a research trip.

He saw a sign that said “Homemade Easter Baskets.” He went in and looked around. The baskets were woven willow and filled with hand-painted eggs and various types of homemade chocolates. Gunnar thought that maybe he was mistaken about the humans until he saw the price tags on the baskets.

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Gunnar went outside to think. The baskets were very nice and had obviously taken a lot of work. And humans had to pay for the ingredients. He left the shop satisfied that they were properly representing the spirit of the bunnies.

He went further along the road into town and found another shop that said “Easter Baskets for Sale.” Gunnar hopped in and looked around. These baskets were made out of some type of woven reed and were obviously mass-produced.

Gunnar sighed and looked into the baskets. The only eggs in the basket were plastic and filled with some kind of candy Gunnar had never seen before. There were chocolate eggs and various types of candy.

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He expected that these were unfinished baskets that were waiting for additional treats. Then a human came in and told the person behind the counter how nice the baskets were and bought three of them.

Gunnar was appalled. There was a picture of a rabbit on the sign and these people were selling inferior baskets! His family would have been embarrassed to give out something like that. He continued into town.

He found something called a mega-store. There were signs advertising all kinds of Easter sales. He found a lot of clothes with sale signs. He hopped past these racks. He didn’t understand why humans didn’t just grow fur like animals.

Next Gunnar found piles of factory-made candy for do-it-yourself baskets. That wasn’t too bad. He also found dyes for coloring eggs. Not what he would do, but humans lacked the bunnies’ skills and traditions.

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Then Gunnar saw something that made him stop in his tracks. They were pre-made baskets. They weren’t the lovely ones he had seen at the first shop. They weren’t even the rather pathetic ones he had seen at the second shop.

These baskets were made of plastic made to look like reeds. Inside was cheap “chocolate-type” candy. But the worst was on the top. It was some type of cheap toy. What did that have to do with Easter baskets? It wasn’t even related to spring!

Gunnar was getting a headache. He left the baskets and looked around the store. There were stuffed animals for Easter. Some of the rabbits were rather handsome. But then there were bears, dogs, and even a dinosaur.

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He found door hangings and other decorations. He found signs for the front yard. There were even lighted plastic eggs to hang from a tree outside. And a few he thought were rather clever.

At the back of the store he found computer games and toys being sold as Easter presents. Easter presents! What was going on?

Gunnar could barely find his way out of the store. He sat on a bench in a daze.

Next week – Gunnar goes to the mall to meet the “Easter Bunny”.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

Ed. Note – Twitchy Twilight, who was interviewed last week, is moving to a new site. He is currently unavailable. We will let you know when he is all settled.