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In The Company of Cats

Barney and Tilly

My old friends Barney and Tilly arrived first thing this morning and began energetically exploring every inch of the flat. Their impeccably coiffured and slightly flustered owner Chris gave me a quick update on their health and current state of mind before dashing off to prepare for her trip.

Barney headed straight for the closed bedroom door and turned his piercing blue eyes on me. I gave in immediately and Barney bounced happily passed me before springing onto the bed and taking his position in front of the window. Tilly followed, giving me a wide birth and grumbling something that I’m sure was quite rude under her breath. ‘ It’s not my fault she’s gone Tilly don’t take it out on me, ‘ I said referring to her recently absented owner, ‘ She’ll be back in a few days.’ Tilly gave me a dirty look and moved on.

When I went to check on them a little

​while later they had both, predictably disappeared under the bed. Barney had chosen the spare litter tray to curl up in, taking the opportunity to have a snooze while Tilly sat at the back, disgruntled and surrounded by an assortment of cat paraphernalia. Remembering Chris’s parting words to just say 'treats' to get their attention, I decided to give it a go ‘Treats, Barney, Tilly treat time.’ Trying my best to imitate Chris but sounding more like a demented Barbara Wood house, I realised quite quickly they had made a pact and were resolutely ignoring me. Bending double so I could see under the bed I adjusted my pitch and tried again ‘Treats’ A low grumbling came from Tilly’s end and there was barely a flicker from Barney. I shook the treat box and Barney turned his head slowly, and looked at me sideways a quizzical expression on his face. I opened the treat box to entice him out and suddenly grudgingly, Tilly materialised at my side. I put a couple of treats down for her and she continued to grumble as she chomped them down nosily whilst Barney stared on wide eyed from above. I waved the titbits tantalisingly under his nose. ‘Ok” Barney I said ‘ last chance’. Barney refused to take the bait and as I headed towards the front room I wondered if I’d ever get him out from under the bed. I needn’t have worried, a couple of steps later and Barney appeared noiselessly at my side with his tale arched high above his back, head turned towards me his imploring eyes saying, ‘treats, where are my treats’

They both slept for most of the day (Chris later informed me they’d had a late night) but every so often Tilly would emerge, her beautiful fawn coat slightly dishevelled, still in a fowl mood and saunter onto the balcony for a quick look. Barney would show up every time he heard a nose that vaguely resembled the sound of treats being rattled, and later that evening they both joined me and we all watched from the balcony as the sun went down.

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