“There’s a financial crisis.” I told him. “I’ve done the figures and you’ll have to go. It’s not your fault. It’s not my fault. It’s international.”
My cat continued to laze calmly by the log fire, fur heated to the point where he might just burst into flames.
“Some people” I explained “say it’s all the fault of greedy bankers. And some say it’s all the fault of spendthrift governments and irresponsible citizens. The point is, you’re too expensive and you’ll have to go.”
Silence. His eyes, previously half-open were now shut. The fire crackled nicely beside him.
“It’s no use pretending you’re asleep. You eat an awful lot of food and there’s always the risk you’ll need a trip to the vet. The vet costs a ton of money every time we walk through her door.”
He rolled half-over, exposing more of his slightly-rounded feline stomach to the heat.
“I know it’s not your fault” I continued “but some of the time you eat prescription food and the rest of the time I buy you lamb and pork and it costs a lot. No matter how much you eat, you always seem to want more.”
He was making a small breathing sound now. Like he was sleeping.
“It’s true that I tend to buy you meat that’s half-price because it’s just gone out of date. But it’s still expensive.”
He stretched his front paws way out behind his head and yawned.
“I knew you weren’t sleeping.”
His tail flicked a bit. Just the tip. He does that when he’s blissed out.
“You have several options” I said. “You could walk off back into the forest, where you came from one day. That way you could find another home just like you found this one. You’re a beautiful cat and I’m sure lots of people would take you in and love you. Or I could ask around and find you a new home. What do you think?”
He stretched his legs out slowly, opening his little toes wide, and then flipped himself into a croissant shape and folded his tail over his nose.
“OK” I muttered. “Just carry on burying your head in the sand. Lots of people do that too, when there’s a crisis. They just hope it will go away.”
I went back to my laptop and left him lazing around, doing nothing, just waiting for his next meal.
About an hour later he strolled into my study. There are some clean paintbrushes on the floor and he rolled them around for a bit. Then he stuck his head behind a painting that’s propped up against the wall waiting to be hung. Next he put a paw into a suitcase and fished out a sock.
“Put that down. Stop rummaging about in there.”
He gave me his What’s your problem lady? look and then sighed. Put a back paw up to his ear and scratched it for a second. And then he hopped onto my lap. I was trying to type so he settled under my arms and put his head on my jumper. Then he started purring. I twiddled his ears about for a moment and then took his front paws in my hands. He squeezed my fingers. Quite clearly squeezed my fingertips between those little paw pads cats have. I looked down at his rather sweet face and he lifted his head. He leant towards me and touched my nose momentarily with his.
I knew instantly what he was saying. “It must be suppertime by now.”
I know when I’m defeated. I put yesterday’s lamb in his dish and watched him devour it like a lion.
“All right I said. You win. You can stay.”
He didn’t hear the last bit though. The lamb wolfed down, he’d already skipped outside.
I was talking to the swinging door of the catflap.