14

Don’t Worry Mama, We’ll Help

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The last time Mama Kitty had been sick in bed, she got up to a complete mess. There were dishes everywhere, food on the counter, toys all over the front room, and mud on all the floors. She just wanted to go back to bed.

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After she had cleaned everything up, Mama Kitty held a family meeting. She said that she understood that the kittens were little, but that if she was sick, everyone had to do something to help out. The kittens nodded solemnly.

Not long after, Mama Kitty caught a bad cold and had to stay in bed. Remembering what she said, the kittens got together to talk.

Muffin: Remember what Mama said? We all have to help. I’m going to make her some catnip tea.

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Thomas: That’s a good idea. You can be in charge of cooking too. I’ll be in charge of muddy footprints.

Princess: I’ll put away toys.

Bubba: And I’ll eat all the leftover food.

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The kittens agreed it was a good plan.

Muffin didn’t know how much catnip to put in the tea, so she guessed. When she was finished, she took it to Mama.

Muffin: Mama, I made you some catnip tea. I thought it would make you feel better.

Mama: That’s sweet, honey.

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She took the cup, and sipped it. She started coughing.

Mama: Sweetie, how much catnip did you put in the tea?

Muffin: I wasn’t sure how much to use, so I filled the teapot halfway.

Mama (trying not to choke): That’s a little too much. Next time, a teaspoon will do. But I love this.

She took a long drink and emptied the cup, hoping Muffin wouldn’t offer any more.

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Mama: Thank you so much. I think I need to sleep now.

Muffin happily left the room with the empty cup.

Mama slept all afternoon, trying to ignore the banging and bumping in the next room. She politely refused the tuna that Muffin brought in later.

Mama stayed in bed for two days and got up the third morning feeling much better after all that sleep.

When she went into the front room, Mama was surprised. It looked a lot cleaner than she had expected. The floor was clean. No toys and no mud.

Mama: You kittens did a wonderful job of keeping the house clean.

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Princess: Thank you, Mama. I didn’t realize we had so many toys. I filled up the toyboxes and had to put the rest in that chest over there.

Mama looked to see her china cabinet overflowing with stuffed mice and bags of catnip. At least they were soft toys.

Mama: Thank you for keeping the front room so clean. I don’t have to worry about tripping on anything.

Thomas: Come into the kitchen and see what I did to keep the mud out.

Mama hesitated. Was she ready to see that mess? But Thomas was waiting, so she followed.

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Thomas: See? I put down towels at the door so we could wipe our feet.

Mama looked down at her best linen towels covered in mud. But there was no mud anywhere else in the house.

Mama: Thomas, that’s a wonderful idea! Thank you.

Mama looked around. The kitchen was fairly clean. There were dishes in the sink, but the counters were clean.

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Mama: The kitchen looks good. I’m proud of you.

Bubba: Thank you, Mama. I ate all the extra food, so it wouldn’t sit out.

Mama looked at Bubba. Despite his name, he was not a large kitten.

Mama: How did you do that, sweetheart? You usually can’t even finish your own food.

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Bubba: I didn’t realize how much food it would be. I took some to share with my friends. We had a party.

Mama Kitty started to laugh. She hadn’t realized how resourceful her kittens were.

Mama: I’m so proud of all of you. You took care of the house for two days and it looks wonderful.

Then they all curled up in front of the fire and cuddled.

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14

Cat Forum: The Purr-Fect Gift

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Greetings Fellow Felines. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. It’s time once again for us to give gift suggestions for the holidays. But unlike last year’s list of gifts for the well-to-do cat, this year we have ideas for you to gift your human. (We know it’s backwards, but we do try to be humorous once in a while.)

Does your human like to work in the garden? Do they come in smelling of dirt (or worse)? Do they complain about you leaving “deposits” among their flowers? Are the tables and counters full of fresh veggies part of the year?

Maybe a gardening companion:

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Or a new plant:

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Does your human like to dress up? Do they leave you alone a lot while they go out?

How about a fancy companion:

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Or some new  clothes:

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Does your human like to do crafts? Knit? Crochet?

Maybe their own living pincushion:

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Or some nice fabric:

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Does your human sleep a lot? When you want to eat? When you want to play?

Maybe a pillow buddy:

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Or some new bedding:

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Haven’t seen anything good?

In that case, we recommend the gift no cat-owned human can resist:

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

13

Humans in Cheeseland

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We recently received an email that we found a little puzzling. The writer was a human who accused us of not paying appropriate attention to people in our writing.

What puzzled us wasn’t the question. Rather it was how they had found us in the first place.

Generally speaking, there are only a few people who would go to a blog that openly proclaims that it is edited by mice. For some reason, there is a prejudice against mice in many parts of the human world.

Additionally, it seems to us that there are enough magazines, blogs, videos, and so on dedicated to humans. There are magazines for potato farmers, croquette players, and lighthouse keepers, and everyone else (it seems).

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However, humans are mammals. In light of our non-speciest pledge, we decided to speak with this person. We sent Lexi, our language specialist.

Lexi: Welcome to Cheeseland. I’m Lexi.

Human: Hello, Lexi. I’m Charles. Thank you for meeting with me. I hope you don’t mind that I brought along someone to document our meeting.

Lexi: I guess not. Why is he wearing protective gear?

Charles: I was hoping to meet someone a little more, um, exotic.

Lexi: Really? Like what?

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Charles: I was thinking a crocodile or hippo.

Lexi: You realize that we’re not in Africa, don’t you?

Charles (embarrassed): I didn’t think I was going to be meeting with an actual animal.

Lexi: Excuse me?

Charles: You know. A non-human. I thought this was a gimmick for some type of animal rights group. You are an actual dog, aren’t you?

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Lexi: Of course I am.

Charles: You wouldn’t mind me touching you just to make sure, would you?

Lexi growls.

Charles: OK. Don’t get excited. Just let me talk to the humans who work here.

Lexi: What are you talking about?

Charles: You know. The people who write the articles.

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Lexi: Have you actually read Cheeseland?

Charles: A little. You don’t expect me to believe that cats and a mongoose and an elephant write articles do you?

Lexi: Why not?

Charles: What do they do? Use their furry little paws to type? And their furry little brains to think?

Lexi growls again.

Charles: OK, OK. Let me see the newsroom. I can decide who to talk to there.

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Lexi: Fine.

They walk down the hall and enter the newsroom. There are a few cats, a couple of dogs, a hedgehog, and a couple of ravens.

Charles: Very funny. A room full of animals making a bunch of noise.

Lexi: This is the newsroom. And these are the reporters. The editors are next door.

Charles: There aren’t any real computers in here.

Lexi: Those are real computers. They have voice recognition technology instead of keyboards. That way we don’t have to use our “furry little paws” to type.

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Charles: Let me talk to one of the reporters. I want that cat over there.

He points to a gentle-looking mixed breed. Lexi talks to her.

Lexi: Dar, this man would like to speak to you. He has the strange idea that we’re all humans dressed up like animals. You’ll have to listen carefully, he has a very thick human accent.

Dar: Hello. My name is Darlene. How may I help you?

Charles: Will you please take me to the humans who are running this place? I don’t understand all the animals running around thinking they’re people, but I’m going to get to the bottom of this.

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Darlene: Why would we think we’re people? We’re happy the way we are.

Charles (frustrated): Just show me any human.

Darlene: We don’t have humans, just other species.

Charles: There has to be a person somewhere.

Lexi: The only human we know is Cat. She pays for the blog.

Charles: I knew it! Take me to her office.

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Lexi: She doesn’t have an office. She doesn’t live in Cheeseland.

Charles: Fine. I’ve had enough. You get all of this, Willy?

Willy: Yep. But people are never going to believe it.

Charles: That’s OK. It’s not fake, so they’ll know there’s something weird out here.

Charles and Willy returned home. They posted the video to YouTube and waited for the response. The only comment they got was “???”. When they looked at the video again, all it showed was Charles talking and a German Shepard barking. Then Charles talking and a cat meowing.

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12

Is Sammy Squirrely? – Part 2

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Where we are: All during the fall, Sammy had been acting oddly. Rather than working with the other squirrels to get ready for winter, he spent all his time on the computer. His friends and neighbors think he might be losing his mind.

It was a hard winter. It started snowing in November and didn’t let up. Soon it was higher than the squirrels. The families relied on the nuts they had stored in their trees for a long time. Finally, it was time to go out and get the nuts they had buried in the ground. It wasn’t easy.

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Sarah: Three squirrels in my class missed school today. They had to go hunt for food.

Peter: There were five gone from my class.

June: This is the worst winter I can remember. I’m glad we built our nest in such a huge tree and were able to fill it. Spring is almost here, so we should be OK. Especially since your cousin was nice enough to send us all that food for Christmas.

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Peter: My new favorite nut is the pecan.

Sarah: Those were pretty yummy. But I liked the dried fruit.

Sammy: We need to do something nice for Joey in the spring. Living in Georgia is good for food, but we can think of something.

June: I wish we could do something to help our friends.

Sammy knew it was time to see if his idea worked. He was extremely grateful to Princess ERin for telling him about the Global Peanut Positioning Satellite (GPPS). It was a little odd that a cat would be so helpful, but it sounded useful.

Between the GPPS and the data he had collected, he should be able to find the nuts the family had buried.

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Sammy: We can share the nuts we buried last fall.

Peter: If the other squirrels could find their nuts, they wouldn’t be hungry. How can we find ours?

Sammy: The project you were all laughing about last fall should tell us where the nuts are.

Sarah: Do your really think it will work? That would be wonderful.

 Sammy: There’s only one way to find out. I’ll go load my data into the positioning system.

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Sammy leaves the room to work on the computer. He finally comes out when June calls him for dinner.

Peter: How’s the system coming Dad?

Sammy: Pretty well. It looks like all of the data transferred. Now we have to wait for the next sunny day.

Sarah: Why does it have to be sunny?

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Sammy: The way the GPPS works is to get the position of the nuts from a satellite in the sky. It has to be sunny for the information to get to us.

Peter: OK. Whatever. Let’s wait for the sun.

The next few days were overcast. Finally, there was a good day.

By that time, the neighborhood knew about the experiment. A crowd gathers to see if it would work.

Sammy: OK, here we go. No promises.

He calls up the first location. The GPPS gives him directions to the nuts. The other squirrels follow him as he tracks the nuts.

Sammy: The first nuts should be here. Peter, you and your friends dig down and see what you find.

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The young squirrels quickly burrow through the snow and the hard ground. Just under the surface, they find a large stash of acorns.

The squirrels watch in amazement and applaud.

Dan: I admit it, buddy. I thought you might have gone off the deep end. But this is incredible.

Kelly: June, you’re married to a genius!

Sammy blushes in embarrassment.

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Sammy: It’s just a little technology, not genius.

Dan: Whatever. You’re set for the winter.

Sammy: We were already set. These are for you folks.

The other squirrels look at Sammy. They go back to thinking he had lost his mind.

Sammy: I’m serious. We have enough nuts. We have piles like these all over the place. We want to share them.

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Kelly: How did you get so many nuts?

Sammy: We probably don’t have any more than your family gathered, but ours are buried in piles instead of one by one. Besides, I have an excellent team of hunters. (He looks at Peter and Sarah.)

Kelly: Are you sure you don’t need them?

June: Absolutely. We’re set for the rest of winter.

Sammy: Dig in. We’ll get the rest of the nuts later and you can divide them up. Next year, we can track everybody’s nuts and won’t worry about starving.

The hungry squirrels devour the nuts in the first hole and take the rest home. Luckily spring arrives before the acorns are gone.

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Pictures courtesy of Google Images

 

12

Is Sammy Squirrely?

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Sammy and his family live with a scurry (group) of squirrels in an oak grove. It’s fall – time to gather nuts for the winter.

The group has planned a “nut gathering party,” and everyone is invited. Sammy’s family is getting ready to go.

June (his wife): Sammy, are you ready to go?

Sammy (at the computer): You and the kids can go ahead. I need to finish what I’m working on.

Peter: Dad, you never gather nuts anymore.

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Sammy: I’m retired. That’s what I have you for.

Sarah: Daddy, be serious. It’s embarrassing. All the other fathers are there.

Peter: Besides, it’s a party.

June: Honey, you can take a break for one afternoon, can’t you?

Sammy: Sorry, I really can’t. I need to finish before winter. Remember to bring the nuts home instead of burying them.

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Sarah: That’s just weird, Daddy. Why? My friends are all going to laugh at me.

Sammy: I’m working on an idea to make it easier to find our nuts this winter. Did you know that some squirrels never find more than a few of the nuts they’ve buried?

Peter: We always have enough to eat.

Sammy: I know. But I think we should know where ours are.

June (sighing): C’mon kids. Let’s get going before all the good ones are gone.

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The three of them leave the nest. It’s a beautiful afternoon, and there are nuts everywhere. The kids run off to search with their friends. June finds her friend, Kelly.

Kelly: Hey, June! Great to see you. Where’s Sammy? I haven’t seen him around much.

June: He’s working on some top-secret project about the acorns.

Kelly: That’s strange. It seems like he’d want to be out here in the sun. But I guess if it’s that important, he should be doing it.

June: I suppose. But I think the rest of the scurry is beginning to believe he’s crazy.

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Kelly doesn’t answer. She’s looking at the other squirrels gathering and burying acorns. She spots Peter and Sarah. They each have a pile of nuts near them.

Kelly: Are Peter and Sarah all right? It looks like they are just piling the nuts up instead of burying them. Aren’t they feeling well?

June: They’re fine. It’s part of Sammy’s plan. He wants to know where each one is buried.

Kelly: That’s a little strange. Why does he want to know?

June: I have no idea. He just said it’s vital to his project.

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Kelly starts to feel sorry for June. She thinks the other squirrels may be right. Sammy’s mind was starting to go. He was becoming “squirrely.”

Before long, the sun starts going down and the squirrels return home.

Peter: Hi Dad. We’re home.

Sammy: Did you get lots of nuts?

June: It was a good afternoon. A lot of the squirrels said they were done for the season.

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Sammy: That’s great! So where did you put ours?

Sarah: They’re still where we found them. In piles.

Sammy: I thought you were bringing them home.

Sarah: It was way too embarrassing. Everyone else buried theirs. The other squirrels thought we were just being lazy. Mom said we could bury them from where they are.

Sammy: I suppose she’s right. Let’s go.

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Peter: I’m tired. I’ve been hunting nuts all afternoon.

Sarah: Besides, it’s getting dark.

June: I’m sure they’ll be fine until morning.

Sammy finally agrees, disappointed.

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The next morning, the family starts burying the nuts. It’s a slow process because Sammy wants to write down exactly where each nut is. Several hours later, they finish.

Sammy: Great job, everyone! Thanks for your help.

They return to the nest, where Sammy immediately goes onto his computer. He works intently for the next few weeks. Running between the computer and where the nuts are buried. He finally has to stop when the snow starts to fall.

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Next week: Is Sammy crazy or is he a squirrel with a plan?

Pictures are courtesy of Google Images

8

Cat Forum: Seriously, Human?

Greetings. Snoops and Kommando Kitty here. We’ve been going through our correspondence and noticed a trend. A lot of cats are wondering why their humans ask such silly questions. The short answer is: we have no idea.

However, we have come up with some possible answers. Which one you use will depend on your level of cattitude. If you have better ideas, let us know and we’ll share them in a later.

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Does kitty want snuggles?

  1. Don’t you remember our snuggle appointment is 2:30 am? I’ll let you know if I’m available other times.
  2. Don’t ever wake me up to ask that question again.
  3. I suppose. But remember: it’s a favor because I love you.

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Fluffy, do you like the new puppy?

  1. Can you return it?
  2. I suppose he can stay if you can get rid of the smell.
  3. Oh good! You finally got me the servant I’ve been asking for. I hope he’s easier to train that you were.

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Don’t you love the new, all-natural, low-fat food I got you? You look slimmer and sleeker already.

  1. It tastes like wood, and I’m starving to death.
  2. I’ve been feeding it to the dog, and I’m starving to death.
  3. I hope you enjoy the chunks I put in your soup so you can appreciate the “interesting, non-carnivore” flavoring.

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Why did you put a mouse in my slipper?

  1. I thought you might want a snack in the middle of the night.
  2. You are the worst hunter I have ever seen. I wondered if you could find a mouse if it was right under your nose.
  3. I thought it would make a nice storage facility for my back-up snack supply.

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Will you please stop clawing the chair?

  1. No.
  2. I’m bored. I’ll stop if you buy me a hamster.
  3. In a few minutes. I’m almost done.

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Why are you always begging for treats?

  1. I want to get rid of these ones so you’ll buy the kind I like.
  2. I’m starving.
  3. I like the way you look when I keep coming back. And your voice gets funny-sounding too.

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Why are you standing at the back door?

  1. I want to go out, and it was raining when you opened the front door.
  2. I want to go out to see if they delivered my package back here.
  3. I let the puppy out. I’m waiting to see if he comes back.

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Why did you whack the dog in the nose?

  1. He looked at me.
  2. He looked too peaceful sleeping there.
  3. It’s a game I invented.

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Why won’t you let me take your picture?

  1. You don’t respect my privacy when I’m bathing.
  2. You never pay me for posing.
  3. You always have that thing in my face. Even when I’m sleeping.

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Why are you mad at me?

  1. You made me wait for breakfast while you used the bathroom.
  2. You smell weird. You were around other cats.
  3. You bought that icky litter that stinks and sticks to my paws.

We hope these suggestions are helpful. Just remember, some human qualities are just too strange to understand. Like why they get mad if you sleep on the kitchen counter but think it’s cute if you sleep in the sink.

Just remember: A snuggle and a purr will get you out of pretty much anything you do. Your “cute” face usually works too.

Purrs and Head Bonks,

Snoops and Kommando Kitty

 

18

A Mouse in the House – Part 2

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Where we are: John and Josie Mouse had been renting space with Matt and Sandy Manx until Josie’s brother Mortimer had accidentally alerted the homeowners’ association to the prohibited arrangement. John and Josie have been forced to live in a field until they find another arrangement.

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John and Josie have built a nice den on the edge of a corn field. The weather is warm and there’s plenty to eat.

John: Well this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Josie: I agree. Although I could do without the dirt everywhere. We need to figure out what we’re going to do.

John: I’ve been thinking about that. How do you feel about joining a co-op out here and just staying? We don’t have the money to afford to buy a house.

Josie: I don’t know. I’m a house mouse.

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One of the neighbors comes to the door of the den.

Neighbor: I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this. The older lady mouse who came with you was just taken by an owl.

Josie (horrified): That’s why I like being a house mouse.

Mortimer: I’m so sorry. I know it’s my fault you’re out here.

John: That really doesn’t do Aunt Gertrude much good, does it?

Mortimer: I’ll find a way to fix this. I promise.

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Mortimer leaves the den to think. He doesn’t really understand the appeal of being in the suburbs. The field mice had dens. The city mice had their own communities. But Josie wanted to live out here. With cats!

He knows there’s only one way to fix the situation. He walks over to the homeowners’ association president’s house.

President: Hello. I thought I made it clear that you are not welcome here. You made such a fuss at the meeting that the animals are still talking about it.

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Mortimer: I came to apologize for that. I didn’t realize I was going to get everyone in trouble. I come from the city, and that’s the way we communicate. I feel terrible about what happened.

President: Thank you for coming. I appreciate your apology. What can I do for you?

Mortimer: I need to find a way to make things right for my sister. She’s never lived outside, and she’s scared. Can you help me?

President: Let’s see what we can do. Come inside and we can talk things over.

Later in the day, Mortimer returns to the den.

Mortimer (excited): Hey everybody! I’ve got great news!

John (sarcastically): You’re going back to the city?

Josie: John! Give him a chance to talk.Image result for working animals

Mortimer: I went over and talked to Mike, the president of that association where you lived. I told him how sorry I was about what happened and asked for his help.

Josie: What did he say?

Mortimer: He looked through all the rules those animals have to follow for that place. He said that there was one exception to the rule prohibiting having non-family members in the house. Employees of the owners can live there.

Josie: Employees? What kind of employees would people have at home?

Mortimer: The agreement said that there would be exceptions for nannies and housekeepers.

John: That’s great. But how does it help us?

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Mortimer: Well, it turns out that those cats missed you guys. Mike called them up, and they would be happy to have Josie as their housekeeper. And you can stay too.

Josie: That’s wonderful! Thank you, Mortimer.

Mortimer: After I got you kicked out, I had to make it right. There’s just one condition.

Josie: What’s that?

Mortimer: They won’t let me back. I guess I caused too much trouble at that meeting and upset everyone.

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Josie: Mortie! Where will you go?

Mortimer: That Mike is a pretty amazing guy. He has friends all over. Turns out a local church is looking for a librarian. I can live there too.

Josie: Good for you! So we can still be together.

Mortimer: Yep. As long as I can make it through probation.

Josie: What does that mean?

Mortimer: I have to make it through ninety days and not eat any of the books. And follow the most important rule. I have to be “quiet as a church mouse.”

John and Josie start to laugh.

Mortimer: Hey! I can do it.

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