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In The Company of Cats

Milo and Phoebe

When Milo and Phoebe arrived here for the first time they didn’t immediately hide like some cats do, they explored. Phoebe, determined, her tale straight up and pointing skywards as alert as an an antennae, her back slung low and close to the ground, ‘commando style’ said her owner Joyce as her son Justin, looked on with concern. Milo was a little more reluctant and hung back waiting to see what Phoebe would report. Phoebe continued to explore long after her owners had left, while Milo was keen to slip away into a hidden corner and nestle into his cat basket from home, taking comfort in its familiarity.

For the first few days they stuck together and would both disappear under the bed for hours at a time snoozing the day away. Then one of them would appear in the doorway, usually Phoebe, and cock her head to the side looking at me inquisitively before disappearing under the bed again. Phoebe, as is her character was the first to venture onto the bed, while Milo preferred a cushion underneath in the furthest, darkest corner of the room. But to my delight when I walked in to the bedroom on their second evening, both Milo and Phoebe were sitting together curled up snugly on top of the bed.

Initially Phoebe was the most demanding of attention, from day one she would curl around my feet and would shamelessly intercept me every time I crossed the room, rolling on the floor and showing me her fluffy speckled tummy and hoping for a cuddle. But as time has passed Milo has taken over Phoebe’s role as chief cuddler, standing on his hind legs and popping his front paws onto my leg and staring up at me imploringly while I sit at my desk, while Phoebe seems content to nestle on a chair in the back ground hatching her next mission.

When I give in (which is often) and pick Milo up for a cuddle he purrs his satisfaction and standing in my lap leans his full body weight into mine, resting his head in the crook of my arm or looking over my shoulder and watching the world go by through the large window behind me.

Yesterday it was suspiciously quiet and I realised I hadn’t seen either Milo or Phoebe for a while so I went to check on their whereabouts. I soon found them side by side sitting behind the sofa, alert and returning my gaze. A few minutes later I went back to pick something up and although they were still siting in exactly the same position they had both moved a few feet forward, and they continued to stare at me unblinkingly. Later that evening I found out why.

I have recently upholstered an old armchair of which I am quite proud, and have protectively covered it with a blanket to avoid careless kitty claws. I needn’t have bothered as Phoebe is much more interested in using the part of the blanket that is draped over the back of the chair as a tent where she can hide out and ambush Milo, when he wanders innocently past. Phoebe loves to do this and I would go so far as to say it is her favourite thing. I have tried to pull the blanket taught against the back of the armchair but every time I look for Phoebe there is a cat shaped lump pressed against the back of the chair waiting patiently for an unsuspecting Milo to appear. Milo has recently caught on and now they take turns in hiding underneath the blanket and pouncing merrily on each other.

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