“Good morning, sir.” Mitzi sashays into the room and drops onto her haunches to knead my aching shoulder. With a touch so assured for one so young, never have I felt less like I’m being pawed.
Dinah’s candle continues to release a sweet floral scent. I adore Dinah, my dearest Dinah, but she’s lamentably unaware how such smells can offend sensitive noses. I have tried to make her understand, but she never seems to get the message. Nonetheless, the low light is restful. I find myself being lulled into sleep until I feel a sharp sensation along my flank.
“So sorry, sir!”
I glare at Mitzi through slitted lids, and she trembles as, indeed, she should. Everyone knows it’s in the poorest form to scratch whilst giving a massage. Almost unforgivably careless, in fact. Dinah may think she’s the boss of the house, but on the subject of Mitzi, and her ilk — a hungry succession of lean, hopeful interlopers — no one is left in doubt that my feelings are supreme.
A wagtail trills on a branch by the window. I open an eye to see Mitzi licking her lips, the tip of her tongue the most delicious pink. I swallow, my mouth grows dry. The wagtail pirouettes and twitches its pert tail. Mitzi licks her lips again. I’m unable to tear my gaze away. Good Lord. How can I be expected to stay still and ignore my animal instincts?
A growl wells up from somewhere deep within my chest.
“Sir! Please. You must not allow yourself to be distracted.” A brilliant jewel-like eye atop a perfect slant of cheekbone, expands into my field of vision. She presses down into my secret, sore spots, and as I groan with relief, I realise I have, at last, come to a vital decision.
From tonight, I shall forever sheath my claws. No more blood shall be shed. Darling Dinah will be so pleased. She has taken rather a shine to this little minx.
I roll over and expose my belly. Mitzi applies her tongue to the length of my ear, and when Dinah appears, I confess, I’m somewhat embarrassed to have her see me like this; I, her King, reduced to a grovelling sprawl, graceless limbs akimbo.
Dinah looks down at the two of us with a fond expression. Mitzi twists her body into a curl of welcome. Dinah comes closer and drops to one knee. Good Lord, she can’t be contemplating a threesome! I may have just taken a great big step, but I’m a long way from being ready to share.
And it’s as though Dinah, my Dinah, can hear my thoughts, as all she does is reach out a hand, stroke my spine and whisper, “Thank you, Fluffy. Never, ever forget, you’ll always be first in my heart.”
I grow so full of love and pride, I purr like a lion.