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In The Company of Cats

Pinot and Angelina

I open the front door cautiously, and Pinot’s amber eyes stare up at me from his grey, furry face. He turns, and lunges for the sisal rug beneath his paws, burying his claws deep into the pile and having a good scratch. I squeeze in behind him and give his back a stroke. On each stroke he emits a little yelp and raises his bottom in the air, his tail springing into action. At first, Pinot seems to enjoy being stroked but suddenly his tail starts to twitch as the floorboards above us gently creak. We have company. Pinot wriggles out from under my hand and I follow his gaze to the top of the stairs where Angelina is sitting, her large green eyes fixed, unblinking upon us. I greet Angelina with an outstretched hand. Blinking back at me she turns, inviting me to follow. Pinot glares at us from below. As soon as we are out of Pinot’s sight, Angelina pointedly ignores me. She doesn’t trust me yet but is more than happy that she has managed to annoy Pinot.

Angelina is such a pretty cat, with her dark rimmed eyes and fluffy white, grey and strawberry blonde coat, it is hard to believe that in the little village in France where she was rescued, she was twice abandoned and forced to live outside. Her owner spent months rehabilitating her, cleaning and unknotting her coat, paying her medical bills and eventually, earning her trust.

Pinot, does not knows what all the fuss is about. They were extremely happy before Angelina, the pesky little upstart, all fluffy coat and flirty eyes, arrived. Now fully settled in and ruling the roost, Angelina’s favourite pastime is tormenting Pinot. When I serve their dinner, Angelina ducks under the table and nudges Pinot, who is twice her size, out of the way and bury’s her head in his bowl. I have to airlift a squawking Angelina back to her own food, whilst Pinot looks on aghast.

I am visiting these two characters twice daily for a week. Whilst Angelina keeps her distance, only allowing me the occasional leg rub when its time to eat. Pinot sees me as an ally and although still a little aloof sticks close to me, accepting a back rub when I arrive and once Angelina, has stopped harassing him, he is happy to hang out and play. Angelina prefers to amuse herself, batting a ball around an old cat scratching post for a while before disappearing upstairs after meals.

It’s towards the end of the week that things change. Pinot is a lot more relaxed allowing me to comb his cheeks and chin and Angelina, is letting him eat his own dinner now that we have tweaked her food.

One day I follow Angelina upstairs when she does her usual disappearing act, armed with the comb. She is a reluctant customer at first but before long is jutting her chinning out in order to get into the best position. She purrs so loudly I don’t hear Pinot who has suddenly appeared on the floor next to me. For the next 10 minutes I take it in turn combing first Pinot and then Angelina. They are both blissfully happy, rolling this way and that, patiently waiting their turn while ignoring each other.

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