One day Maggie Many Cats was out walking in the Witchy woods when she heard some quiet little mewing sounds and one loud squeal.
She followed the sounds into the trees and found three little kittens.
If one of them hadn’t squealed with hunger at the exact moment Maggie went past she would never have known that they were there.
If Maggie hadn’t known they were there, the poor kittens would have starved to death.
BALLYUSELESS AND THEIR ABANDONED CATS
Maggie knew immediately where those kittens had come from and she shook her fist in the direction of Ballyuseless.
‘Some stupid irresponsible Ballyuselessian probably didn’t want to be bothered feeding and looking after the poor little things and threw them out,’ she shouted, even though there was nobody around to listen.
Stupid Ballyuselessians were the curse of Maggie’s life.
They were always doing stupid things like getting cats for Christmas then throwing them out in January when they got bored with them.
What the Ballyuselessians fail to realize is that cats must be fed and looked after very carefully. They must be brought to the vet for check ups and vaccinated against disease.
CARING FOR CATS
Cats must be neutered, or else they can produce litter after litter of even more poor unfortunate kittens that nobody wants to take care of.
Luckily, Maggie had her big cat bag on her shoulder and in it she always kept a little tin of kitten food – just in case.
So she opened the tin and scraped a little bit of the food out on to a kitten-sized saucer she just happened to have in her cat bag.
Then she lay her cat bag on the ground, opened it and placed the saucer of kitten food inside it. She left it there and hid behind a tree.
Soon he was right inside the bag and the poor little starving kitten began to eat.
The two other kittens didn’t hesitate when they saw their brother eating and so they too bounded across and climbed inside the bag to join their brother in the feast.
Once Maggie was sure the kittens were safe and secure in the bag she pounced, and closed the bag to make sure they couldn’t escape.
Maggie knew the little kittens would be scared inside the bag, but she also knew that they’d stop being scared once she brought them home to her lovely warm home filled with good food, warmth and of course lot of other happy cats.
Maggie had taken them to the Ballyyahoo vet and she had examined each one carefully and pronounced them healthy and well.
Soon Maggie would be taking them for the vaccinations that would protect them from any nasty cat diseases going around as well.
BLACK CAT APPRECIATION DAY
Today was Black Cat Appreciation day and Maggie was as keen to celebrate it as any one else lucky enough to own a black cat.
To celebrate, she bought the little kittens some new little toys and had baked an enormous chocolate cream and fresh raspberry cake.
She intended to make a cup of strong tea and enjoy her cake while watching the happy little kittens playing.
What she hadn’t realized was that Sergeant Sid had been passing her house earlier on and had been enjoying the smell of cake baking.
The delicious scent had wafted out through Maggie’s open window and Sid had been fantasizing about that cake all the way to the station.
SWEET TOOTHED SERGEANT SID
Now, in case you didn’t know, Sergeant Sid has an atrociously sweet tooth and no sweet, cake or biscuit is safe when he’s around.
Besides having a terrible sweet tooth, Sergeant Sid is the most bored policeman in Ireland. You see there is never any crime in Ballyyahoo.
Because there is no crime, Sergeant Sid spends all his free time making crimes up.
He keeps himself occupied by delivering on-the-spot fines to any Ballyyahoo kid unfortunate enough to be passing by the station with a pocket full of chocolate and wearing a pair of odd socks.
Sid had plenty of time to think of something today.
Today has been a long day and even quieter than ever, what with all the kids having gone to the Ballyyahoo bog because old Paddy Plant told them he’d seen a Banshee drifting around a misty pond.
Paddy hadn’t really seen the Banshee, he just said that to stop the kids playing football and making noise on the lane outside his house.
But the kids of Ballyyahoo weren’t to know that and nobody was going to tell them.
Fact is the kids were on school holidays and were enjoying being very noisy. You see they had been made to be so quiet in school that now they were determined to make as much noise as they possibly can.
The noisy kids were driving the people of Ballyyahoo quite bonkers.
They were glad to get rid of them, at least for as long as it took the boisterous bunch of brats to figure out that Paddy Plant was lying, which, everybody hoped would take them the whole school holiday, right up until September.
Sergeant Sid had simply had enough of this long, quiet, boring day.
Once he got the scent of that cake he was determined to charge Maggie-Many-Cats with a crime – he just had to think one up.
As soon as he reached the station he suddenly realized what he could do.
He turned on his heel and headed back towards Maggie’s house.
Sergeant Sid would have run all the way if he could but he was too fat from eating all those sweets and cakes, so he had to settle for walking as quickly as his wobbly legs would allow.
Once at Maggie’s door he knocked loudly. Inside the house Maggie groaned.
She had a very strong feeling it was that eejit, Sergeant Sid, because every single time she baked a cake, bought a bar of chocolate, or a bag of biscuits, up would come that eejit to her door, charging her with this, that and the other – each crime more eejity than the last.
Only a few short weeks ago he had charged her with making soup on a Tuesday and had fined her a bar of chocolate. She wondered what it would be today. Sid knocked again.
‘I’m coming! Give me a second will you? I’m covered in kittens.’
Maggie wasn’t exactly lying either.
The three little kittens had found warmth and comfort on her warm lap and were nestled together in a fluffy ball, enjoying the warmth of Maggie’s log fire and the gentle movement of her rocking chair.
Sighing, she put the kittens in their basket and went to the door.
‘Sid! There you are. I haven’t seen you this long time. How are you keeping?’
Sid didn’t smile.
‘Maggie, I’m not here for the small talk, although I must say I’m grand and I hope the day is finding you good and well, and that the weather isn’t getting you down, although they say it might change next week, with a bit of luck.’
Maggie nodded. ’Oh I’m grand. Not a bother and never better.’
‘Good so, Maggie. Well I am afraid I have a bit of business for you.’
‘Bad business, I’m afraid.’
‘What is it?’
‘Well, you see I got an awful smell of cake as I was passing the house earlier on.’
‘Yes, twas terrible. I could smell it all the way to the station. Nose pollution it was.’
‘Yes, and I’m afraid I have to tell you that nose pollution is against the law.’
‘Oh no!’ said Maggie.
‘Oh yes. I’m afraid I’ll have to confiscate that cake before it can cause any more pollution.’
Maggie reached over and petted the three little black kittens as they gently snored in their basket.
‘Really Sid, do you have to?’
‘Yes, I’m afraid so, Maggie, now come on, hand it over.’
‘What do you mean you can’t.’
‘You see that bad smell wasn’t the cake at all, not a real cake. It was a cat cake. Inside it was lamb and turkey jelly chunks. I made it to celebrate Black Cat Appreciation Day and it’s all gone. They’ve eaten every last bit.’
Maggie pointed at the large ‘Happy Black Cat Appreciation Day’ card she had positioned in pride of place on the fireplace and took a large cake tin from the sink and showed Sid.
‘See it’s cat food. Can you smell it?’ She asked.
Sid could smell it and it was a smell he didn’t like one little bit.
‘Look at the cats Sid – don’t they look full to you?’
He had to admit they all looked very full and by the sound of their snoring they were very, very content.
Sid was disappointed but he was determined to salvage something from the day.
His sweet tooth was driving him mad and the only cure he knew was to feed it something sweet.
‘Well now, that still leaves the matter of nose pollution. There has to be a fine, now you’ve gone and done the crime,’ he said, pleased with himself because the words rhymed and he always fancied himself as a bit of a poet.
‘How about some of these?’ Maggie smiled, reaching into the cupboard behind her and taking out a packet of chocolate biscuits.
‘Will they do, Sid?’
Sid’s greedy eyes settled on the packet. He would rather have a cake any day but the biscuits looked big, round and very, very chocolatey and he was really was very, very peckish.
‘Right, I’ll take them so.’
Maggie handed him the biscuits.
‘Now remember Maggie, no more nose pollution.’
Maggie tapped her nose and put on a sorry face. ‘I won’t forget, Sid, don’t worry a bit.’
As she saw Sid to the door she could barely suppress a smile.
Those biscuits were past their sell by date when she bought them, and that was at least six months ago.
Maggie-Many-Cats was wising up to Sid. She’d worked too hard and lost too many home-baked cakes to let it happen again so she’d started hoarding up old half price biscuits from Kelly’s shop so she could pay Sid’s fines and still enjoy her treats.
Maggie strolled over to her cupboard and took down her lovely big chocolate cream and fresh raspberry cake. Then she made herself a lovely hot cup of tea.
This being ‘Black Cat Appreciation Day,’ Maggie had made two cakes – one for her and one for the cats.
As she relaxed and enjoyed a great big slice of cake while warming her toes by the fire Maggie looked around at the happily sleeping cats.
The cats had had their cream and now Maggie was about to have hers.
Story by Grace Jolliffe
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