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In The Company of Cats

Mordicai and Esther

Nadia, Mordicai and Esther's owner, made a swift departure after dropping them off. ‘They’ll misbehave if I'm here’ she said backing out of the door. The large golden Siamese cats looked at me expectantly before Esther the smaller of the two slunk to the back of the room and sulked. Mordicai, the larger boy with a pronounced nose and the face of a lion, hopped on to the sofa, threw his head back and yowled. Esther, stuck her head out from behind the armchair, looked at him disapprovingly and hissed. She would hiss at me too and Mordicai would interject with a loud, deep throaty cry. I had been warned by Nadia that this would probably happen, but also assured they would be fine in a few days. As I closed the door to their chorus of cries that first night I silently willed the neighbours to stay out late or drink a little too much wine and fall into a deep sleep.

The next morning I hovered outside the front room my ear to the door, marvelling at the silence. As I entered Mordicai trotted happily up to me nudging his head into my leg and gazed at me with his piercing blue eyes. Esther, unimpressed with Mordicai’s about face let out a low grumbling moan in the background. I opened the cat safe balcony to give them some air and Mordicai stepped out, jumping effortlessly onto the roof of the cathouse. Throwing his head back Mordicai yowled his deep cry, over and over again. Esther not to be outdone joined in from the back of the room.

Later that day Esther, popped her head through the open window and examined the balcony. After warning hisses from both sides and the occasional yowl they eventually settled at opposite ends of the balcony. As day two wore on Mordicai's affectionate nature began to reveal itself. The minute I sat down he would haul himself onto my lap, rollover and hang his head over my leg while I rubbed his chin. Esther watched from a distance until eventually she nudged her way past Mordicai, thrust her chin in the air and presented me with a furry cheek to rub. The two great cats would sprawl over my legs, pinning me to the sofa while I adjusted my head in order to get a glimpse of the television through the spaces between their bodies.

By day three I found them curled up on the sofa, their bodies entwined and forming the shape of a heart.

I grew fond of these two characters as bold as they were needy, one quite different from the other, Esther relaxed and sultry and Mordicai highly strung and affectionate.

Nadia arrived bright and early one morning to collect them and the surprised cats immediately let out a loud chorus of accusatory yowls, admonishing her for leaving but ever so happy that she had returned.

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