Excerpt for Gobbles - The Hungry Cat by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Gobbles – The Hungry Cat

By Maxwell Grantly

Copyright – October 7th 2017

Day 1 – Friday

“It’s about time that you became more responsible for others,” said Mother.

Jack looked down at his feet forlornly. It sounded like he was going to have to do something that sounded very much like work.

Mother looked down at her son. She knew exactly what he was thinking.

“Don’t worry, Jack,” she smiled, “I think you’re going to like this. I’ve bought you a kitten!”

Jack beamed and a broad smile filled his face.

"Why, she's adorable!" he declared.

“But don’t forget, Jack,” said Mother, “you’ve got to look after her and feed her every day.”

“Oh, I won’t forget,” replied Jack. “I’ll start right now.”

“Just remember one thing,” Mother added, passing a treat to Jack. “Make sure that you don’t give her too much to eat!”

Furiously, the tiny kitten gobbled the titbit that the boy offered. Jack looked down at his adorable new pet and smiled.

“I’ll call her Gobbles,” said Jack. “That name suits her just fine!”

Day 2 – Saturday

The following day, Jack looked down at his new pet.

"You're such a tiny little thing," he whispered gently, "I really need to fatten you up."

"I know that Mother said I wasn't to overfeed Gobbles," he thought to himself, "but surely one extra bowl of Kibbles will do no harm."

Mother was outside in the garden and so it was very easy to slide an extra bowl of Kibbles onto the floor.

"Eat up!" Jack whispered to Gobbles, "You've going to grow to be such a strong kitty!"

All that day, Jack wished that Gobbles would hurry up and grow larger quicker.

Even that night, as he slept, he dreamt that Gobbles was a tiny bit bigger: not much, just a very tiny bit!

Day 3 – Sunday

The following morning, Jack awoke first. He wasn't sure whether Gobbles had gotten larger or not, during the previous night. He just couldn't remember how small Gobbles used to be.

"I don't know if you have grown," he whispered aloud to the sleeping cat, "so I'll give you an extra bowl of Kibbles later, just in case."

And so that was exactly what happened. That morning Gobbles ate three whole bowls of kibbles before settling down to a satisfying snooze.

"I wonder if you have eaten enough," worried Jack, as Gobbles slept, " I would hate it if you were hungry!"

With all the excitement of raising a baby kitten, he had forgotten his mother's warning: not to overfeed the young cat.

Throughout the rest of the day, Jack and Gobbles played together. However, when something (like the length of your hair or the height of the trees) changes very slowly, it's easy not to notice how it is different from before. The same was true for Jack: he simply didn't notice how big Gobbles was getting. Little-by-little, Gobbles grew and grew but Jack simply didn't notice anything at all. By teatime, Gobbles had become the size of a cushion and still Jack hadn't realised how much she had grown.

"I've got to be careful about how much you eat," he said, "otherwise, you'll never get big and strong."

Day 4 – Monday

On Monday morning, Jack laid out the bowls of Kibbles for Gobbles. Instinctively, without a second thought, he laid the bowls in a straight line on the floor, to match the kitten's length. He hadn't understood that Gobbles had grown substantially and so he never realized that there was now an extra bowl on the floor. Gobbles tucked into her breakfast with delight.

Then, for the rest of the morning, Gobbles and Jack played together. Bit-by-bit, Gobbles was becoming enormous.

"It's hard to remember how big you were when I first had you," Jack said to his feline playmate. "I don't know whether you've grown or not!"

The small boy had completely forgotten how small Gobbles had once been!

Day 5 – Tuesday

On Tuesday morning, Gobbles followed Jack into the kitchen.

"You must be ready for your meal today," said Jack, as he reached into a cupboard.

Upstairs, Mother heard shuffling and called out to her son.

"Have you fed Gobbles yet?" she shouted down to Jack.

"Now doing it, Mother," he yelled back.

"Good boy, Jack," Mother shouted down, "Don't forget not to overfeed her!"

It was then that Jack panicked. He didn't want too overfeed his pet and he most certainly did not want to disobey his mother. However, her words of warning echoed around in his head and he became anxious to do what was right.

"I don't know how much to give you?" he confessed to the waiting kitten.

Gobbles just looked up and purred. It was then that Jack had a marvellous idea: he would simply give Gobbles one bowl at a time, until she stopped eating. That would surely mean that he had given her the right amount. Jack poured a bowl full of Kibbles and placed it upon the floor. Then he filled a second a second bowl, another, another and then another. Gobbles stopped eating after the fifth bowl and then settled down onto the carpet for a snooze. Jack felt her stomach: it seemed that she was full and content.

Gobbles was happy and so Jack was too.

Day 6 – Wednesday

On Wednesday morning, Jack looked at Gobbles, waiting on the bed to be fed. Something didn't quite look right but Jack had no time to think: it was time to get something for Gobbles to eat.

"Today, I'm going to be scientific about this," Jack thought. "I really need to do this properly. I'll conduct a small test to find out how much Gobbles prefers."

Jack filled one bowl of Kibbles and placed it on the floor. Then he got two bowls of Kibbles and put them alongside. Finally, he filled three last bowls and placed them at the end. Gobbles laid on the bed and watched Jack with interest.

"Let's see how much you prefer," he said aloud to the cat. "Which set will you go to first?"

It was then that Jack realised that something was seriously amiss. He returned to the box of Kibbles and realised that it was nearly empty.

"But it says that there is enough food for four weeks!" exclaimed Jack. "Four sevens are twenty-eight!"

Jack quickly did a few sums in head.

"One and two and three and four and five and six makes twenty-one!" thought Jack. "I've been OVERFEEDING Gobbles!"

Jack looked back at Gobbles: all six bowls were empty.

"Gosh!" he thought, "I am going to be in such big trouble with Mother!"

Mother gets a shock

It was then that Jack heard the sounds of footsteps coming up the stairs. Jack felt trapped, he knew that it would be just a matter of moments that he had to confront Mother and admit that he had overfed the cat.

The uncomfortable silence was broken by a sharp intake of breath from the doorway.

"Jack!" gasped Mother. "What on earth!"

Jack turned around and stared into the shocked face of his mother, standing at the door.

"Jack!" his mother repeated, "What on earth have you done?"

Jack fumbled to find the right words to explain what had happened. He struggled to admit that it was he who had caused the mammoth growth spurt of the cat.

"I ... I ..." Jack stammered. "It ... it ..."

"I just knew it!" his mother exclaimed, "You've overfed Gobbles! How much did she eat today?"

Jack's head sunk to the floor.

"Six bowls," he confessed.

"Six bowls!" exclaimed Mother, "Jack, I told you not to overfeed the cat!"

Jack continued his gaze to the ground. He knew that Gobbles had only just eaten the six whole bowls of Kibbles and so she would most certainly grow a little bit more during the day.

"We can't leave her in the house. Soon we'll never get her out." Mother groaned, "You'd better run and get the fire brigade!"

Jack was glad for a chance to escape this awkward situation. He scampered down the stairs, out into the street and towards the fire station. Surely, they would come to the rescue.

Within minutes, the local fire brigade was alerted to the plight of Jack's gigantic cat. With bells a-ringing and crowds a-cheering, they sprinted through the streets of the city, to the residence of the small boy and his mother.

Unfortunately, although they made as much haste as they were able, the fire crew were hampered by the transit of their fire cart. They had no horses to draw the vehicle along the cobbled streets and so the whole journey took much longer than expected. By the time that they had reached Gobbles, she had grown even larger.

"Your cat will never fit through the doorway," the fire captain declared. "We'll have to remove a window and then winch her into the street."

Jack's mother sighed. This whole episode was turning into a dreadful fiasco.

Gobbles Gets Winched

After much hammering and nailing, the firemen managed to build a winch against the side of the house. Next a window was removed and Gobbles was strapped to the ropes, to be manoeuvred out of the window. After much toing and froing, swinging and swaying, bipping and bopping Gobbles was finally lowered to the ground safely.

A large crowd gathered to watch all the commotion and it gave a cheer as Jack's cat found her feet. Gobbles posed by the fire cart, with the firemen. It seemed that the enormous cat just loved all the fuss and attention that she was now getting. Even Mother had to admit that she was rather impressed by the firemen and what they had done.

"Three cheers for our resourceful fire service ..." declared Jack's mother.

"... and three cheers for Gobbles, the gigantic cat!" cheered the crowd.

Gobbles relished the attention and took a bow.

However, all the noise and commotion didn't just attract a large crowd, it also attracted the attention of Mr. Pennies, the landlord.

"You've ruined my lovely flats!" he bellowed angrily to Jack's mother. "I want you gone!"

Mother turned to see the raging face of Mr. Pennies and realised that her home was now being repossessed: the whole family were being evicted! Surely, their luck would have to change soon!

The End Draws Near

Mother crouched onto the floor and cried.

"Now we've got no home!" she wailed. "What on earth are we going to do?"

The firemen looked on in bewilderment. At the same time, Gobbles continued to pose for the crowds, next to the fire cart. It was then that the fire crew had a marvellous idea.

"Would you be willing to release your son, as an apprentice groom for the fire service?" the captain asked. " We offer good rates of pay."

Jack's mother looked up.

"But you don't have a horse!" she explained. "What use is an apprentice groom with no horse?"

The fire captain pointed to Gobbles. The gigantic cat was the prefect size. It was obvious that Gobbles would even fit into the fire station shed too.

"Of course, you'll have to stop overfeeding your cat," continued the captain, "If she gets any larger, the fire cart will be too small for her."

He turned towards the gigantic cat and offered her a simple choice.

"Would you like to become the fire cart cat," the fire captain asked Gobbles, "or would you rather gorge yourself on more Kibbles?"

Gobbles didn't need to think long nor hard about the proposal. The thought of racing through the streets, to the admiration of all the on-lookers was just too tempting. In a flash, she stepped into the cart's harness and gave it a slight tug. The crowd cheered and Gobbles gave another bow. She had made up her mind.

"I think the idea of becoming a groom apprentice sounds fun," Jack explained, "and it also means that I can keep Gobbles as my pet!"

And so, with Jack's income, the family were able to rent a small cottage opposite the fire station. It seemed that everyone was happy: Jack relished the opportunity of joining the local fire service (as well as keeping his pet cat), the fire service gained two valuable new members for their team and Gobbles loved parading around the streets in her new role as the official fire cart cat.

Even, after a few months, Jack's mother found her happy ending too!

However, most importantly, from that moment on Gobbles never had more than one bowl of Kibbles a day.

(Credit and thanks to the creators and residents of Second Life)

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