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In The Company of Cats

Francesca the Great Beauty

Francesca, the little black cat arrived slightly earlier than expected on Tuesday morning, exactly 10 hours after John my errant boyfriend arrived from Sri lanka. I had known he was coming sometime soon but I got so sick of him dithering about it, that i just told him to book the flight and then refused to take his calls. Francesca on the other hand was an expected guest and her owner was quite right, she is a very beautiful cat. She has a sleek and glossy back coat, long upright tail, alert yellow eyes wide with excitement and elegant skinny legs that give way to a slim, muscular body. Like a drunken super model or a tetchy colt she gallops around the front room tossing her head repeatedly. Exploring my flat she ducked low and started a sniff inspection, inhaling everything before rubbing with her scent. As she passed me her owner shouted ' Touch her, Dominique, touch her...' I dutifully leant over and gave her a stroke and in return she arched her back in pleasure and brushed lightly against my leg. ' Thats it' cried her jubilant owner ' She loves it... '

Soon after Mr Costa left to catch his plane, John emerged from the bedroom, jet lagged and a little worse for wear. Francesca tucked herself into my leg and looked up at him. John bending double gave her a head scratch and they were soon firm friends, her weaving her way around his legs while staring up into his eyes, him cooing and tickling the underside of her chin. She settled in quickly having a quick look around before curling up on the armchair, her excitement giving way to exhaustion. Later, still startled by her sudden change of environment she explored the balcony and soon after sidled up to me for a scratch and snuggle, pawing at the sheepskin rug before sinking into it and purring with satisfaction.

John, myself and Francesca passed the rest of the evening on the balcony before retiring to the living room for a game of feather on a string and a cuddle on the sofa.

A tiny meow wafted under the bedroom door and woke us at 3.25am. I struggled to get out of bed wondering if Francesca was lonely, frightened or just plain hungry. She started to paw softly on the door before sounding another burst of paintive meows. I opened the door and she immediately curled around my ankles and wrapped her long tail around my legs. I picked her up and gave her a cuddle before putting out some more wet food out for her and crawling back to bed. There were a few more meows but they faded away before I slipped back into a deep sleep.

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