It started with one. By the time she realized she had a serious problem, it was already far, far too late.
The ninja would be out looking for easy marks and easier Materia on the streets of Junon or Costa Del Sol, her search for power and wealth carrying the teen leagues away from home. She would wander into a dark alley stacked high with refuse and rain-soaked cardboard boxes, only to hear the tell-tale keening that never failed to break her heart. What else was a girl supposed to do, except put the poor frightened creature in the warmth of her jacket and take it back? Wutai always seemed to be far away, and it was nice to have the company on long return journeys through sparsely populated lands.
The first was a little grey-and-white kitten discovered stuffed in a garbage bin somewhere in the slums of Upper Junon. The poor thing had been miyaaing lonesomely until Yuffie discovered it and held the tiny body to the warmth of her chest, ignoring the fact that it was filthy, flea-ridden, and stunk of week-old refuse. The kitten had begun to purr, a tiny thrumming engine started in its chest by her, and that was the beginning. Yuffie could bluff and bluster all she wanted, but she could never deny her own tender heart.
This cat was christened Smudge and given a place of honour in Yuffie's pagoda back in Wutai. Smudge was soon joined by Blackie, and not long after came Callie and Lucky and Stray and a myriad of others, culled from streets and trash cans across the globe. No-one ever pried into Yuffie's private doings or her dwelling if they valued their life, and so the large amount of felines just got larger. She paid a little girl up the street to feed them while she was away, and the little girl asked no questions where gil and kitties were involved.
One morning Yuffie awoke to discover that Smudge had produced a litter of smaller Smudges in the bottom of her closet. While delighted with the new arrivals and the resourcefulness of her first pet, the girl couldn't help but worry slightly at the sight of so many more mouths to feed. Still, she couldn't get rid of them, and there was no WAY she could stop bringing others home ... Best not to worry about it.
Then Blackie produced a litter as well, and so did Stray. The cats fast began to outpace poor Yuffie's ability to support them, not to mention her living space. The first-generation litters had litters of their own at an alarming rate, breeding like the proverbial rabbits, and still Yuffie brought back more, because to leave them out on the streets at the mercy of the elements and cruel humans was something her mind could just not fathom. She could have given them away, but they were hers, her kitties, and no-one could take as good care of them as she could.
The interior of the pagoda began to suffer. It reeked of cat piss and worse things, and there were cats everywhere. Yuffie couldn't afford so many cats, cats that needed food and litter boxes and regular checkups and more things than her allowance or stolen earnings could pay for. At the same time her Materia collecting reached an all-time high, and because she could not bear to rid herself of the shiny magic baubles originally snatched to bring Wutai peace and prosperity the house became even more cluttered. It was bursting at the seams with cats and Materia, and the more she got, the more she wanted.
By the time Yuffie had her first run-in with Avalanche, she'd almost forgotten why she had begun collecting Materia in the first place. Hearing of the group's mission filled the ninja-girl once again with the resolve to make Wutai one of the Planet's richest and most powerful cities, and she readied herself for a long journey.
But what of the cats? How were they to be taken care of while she was away?
The day Yuffie was due to leave, she stopped by her home one final time to check up on the pets and grab some things she absolutely couldn't do without. She figured she wouldn't be gone too long, and so didn't bother calling the little girl down the street to check in on them while she was out. The inside of the house was a bit of a mess anyway - better just keep the keys to herself.
"Hey guys. I ... I won't get to see you for a little while, but I'll be back soon to take care of you, okay? Just hold on and I'll be back, I promise. 'Kay?"
Yuffie left Wutai that day, and she didn't look back. She cannot be faulted for what happened next, as many things happened on her adventure to completely wipe any thought of pets out of the girl's flighty teenage brain. Still, it happened, and things like this are best remembered lest history repeat itself once again.
After about a month and a half of Yuffie being away, someone noticed a foul smell wafting insidiously from her abandoned pagoda. It reeked of urine and excrement and, most frighteningly, of decomposition. The authorities were called, and when no-one answered the door it was forced down to allow entrance into the empty house. However, the building was neither empty nor enterable in any way, shape, or form.
They had to use gas masks, the ammonia smell was so overpowering. It took a team of eight armed with innumerable black trash bags and cages to clear the dwelling of its dead or dying inhabitants; only a few healthy survivors were located in the carnage, if one could call being caked in feces and filth 'healthy'. The door and the windowsills were nearly clawed to pieces, so desperate had the animals been to escape, going completely mad with hunger, thirst, and overcrowding.
When the team had finally broken their way inside, the floor was shin-deep with cat scat, decomposing half-eaten bodies, and Materia.
I have no idea where this came from, other than my very own diseased mind. It was scribbled out in about an hour (if that isn't already obvious) and was little more than a piece of writing practise for me to play with. That probably explains both the randomness and the poorness, so, um, yeah. If you enjoyed it, great; If you didn’t, I understand completely.
More of my work can be found at http://www.fanfiction.net/u/36178/ - I hate the place with a cold-blooded passion, but at least things occasionally get read. Leave a review, if you’d like.