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In The Company of Cats

The Stretch


Francesca (the great beauty) awakes reluctantly from her slumber and yawns before hopping elegantly off the armchair that doubles up as her bed. She has only taken a few steps in the direction of the bedroom when she is suddenly overtaken by an urge to stretch, and does so without breaking her stride. Pulling her body into the downward curve of a ski slope she start’s by sticking out her bottom until it is pointing skyward. Her tale floats upwards and flutters gently like a flag above her. Francesca arches her back downwards forming the swoosh of the slope, while the fur on her belly brushes lightly against the rug below. Pushing her front legs out as far as they will go, they form the slope’s home straight, ending abruptly with the two little bumps that are made by Francesca’s velvety soft paws.

As the stretch rolls silently through her body she inhales, closing her eyes momentarily when it reaches her face before pushing down towards her paws and popping her claws out one by one. Francesca’s yellow eyes flash briefly, as she instinctively digs down into the soft rug below and starts kneading. The whole stretch is then reversed as she pushes back the other way, stretching her back legs out and shaking each one individually before continuing on her early morning walk. She arrives in my bedroom hopping effortlessly and landing weightlessly on the bed. Crossing the terrain of our bodies Francesca heads towards the large window that is still darkened by the blind and the moving shadows of the breaking dawn.

Turning to look at our sleeping bodies for the first time Francesca paws at the blind mewing gently in our direction. Pretending to wake up I rub my eyes and say good morning. She stretches her neck and head towards me, and even though it’s getting closer to me, it seems to shrink the further away it gets from her body. Her yellow eyes stare out of her disappearing head, clear and piercing as they bore into mine. She allows me the briefest caress before turning back towards the blind and mewing imploringly. I lean over and pull the cord raising the blind a couple of feet, just enough so Francesca can sit on the ledge and watch the sun rising and the birds fluttering by. I fall back into my bed and go back to sleep, for real this time.

Later as I go through the motions of the day Francesca curls up on the bed in a shaft of warm light, subtly moving with the sun. By early evening she has followed the sun around to the front of the house and can be found propped up in the hatch between the living room and kitchen and basking in the sunlight between the two huge windows.

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