Meet The Critters: Mortimer

Mortimer is the Original Kitteh. A gateway critter. A furry Lay’s potato chip with legs. A cat before his time.

Mort the Concept was conceived in 2001, when Schmoopie and I crossed Mortimer Street. “Mortimer. That would be a good name for a cat. Let’s eventually have a cat named Mortimer.” Schmoopie either actively agreed or failed to disagree, I don’t specifically recall. Nor do I recall who actually suggested Mortimer, the street, as a potential catnym.

But that isn’t the point.

The point is that, through one innocent utterance, wheels–great, crazy, cosmic wheels with giant gears and pulleys that make creaking noises–were summoned into action and a notion advanced by fate until, one morning in the early fall of 2004, a teeny, tiny striped kitten was discovered lying on his back in his litterbox at a PetCo adoption event. And in that wee kitten, so casual and comfy, was Mort the Concept realized in Mort the Cat.

We picked him rather like a produce novice picks a melon: “That one. We’ll take that one.” followed by the huckster’s–or, in this case, the cat rescue coordinator’s–strong suggestion that we, you know, pick him up. Maybe give him a squeeze. So we did. It was a very cursory affair. I held, I squeezed, I passed him over to Schmoopie who also held and squeezed, all while Mort the Cat seemed thoroughly unimpressed with his inevitability.

Us: Yes. Mortimer. *squish* It’s him. It’s him. *squeeze* Yes.
Mort: wtf? Put me back in my litterbox.

In what I now realize to be the World’s Most Expedient Adoption, Ever, our references were checked and we returned later that afternoon to procure Mortie and his necessaries, including a little stuffed lion-tiger hybrid that we named . . . Tiger (we were unprepared for him.)

And then we dropped off the kitten and, the following day, went out and picked up a surround sound system, which we tested. Exuberantly and extensively. With many action movies.

I mention this because of the kitteh Mortie has become. He is loud, aggressively affectionate, outgoing, loud, opinionated, comically dominant, and also loud. He runs the house, serves as a perpetual alarm clock, sets his own feeding schedule as it suits him, owns all of the critters like a boss, occasionally snatches spare ribs and giant chunks of Thanksgiving turkey directly from the plates of unsuspecting humans, and comes to Nigel’s rescue when he “mistakenly” allows Karmann too much familiarity. And I’m pretty sure it all has to do with settling in to new digs amidst the sounds of shit blowing up and people shouting from all directions. Poor thing probably thought we moved him to Sarajevo.

These days, Tiger’s cute little head is sort of squashed in and caked with dehydrated kitten spit, but Mortie faithfully totes him to bed every night while yelling to announce both that he has Tiger and that they are now proceeding to bed. Every morning, Tiger is carried lovingly into the living room and spat out somewhere Mort can keep an eye on him while he takes his daytime leisure. And I faithfully wash him when he gets too creepy. In Woolite. Fretting all the while that I will disrupt the heady stew of cat-spit-and-pheremones that I’m sure he’s worked really hard on crafting to just the right pungency. My greatest fear is that Mortie will one day shun Tiger as the result of a too-thorough cleaning. I can’t be responsible for breaking up that friendship.

Often, Tiger goes swimming in the dogs’ water bowl. I think it’s the kitteh equivalent of a dead fish on the their doorstep.