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A concerned reader As it has now bee...

Standards Slip | 1st May 2005, 22:20  
Mother is beginning to become somewhat worried. Her two bed-warmers are missing, and have been so for the past few days. I hope they come back soon; Mother is getting used to having that bed to herself, and may later try to steal mine. It has dawned on me that the food has become somewhat sparser; the girl has not been feeding us too well of late.

At first, Mother thought nothing of it - they often return home late. She sat, as usual, in her hole at the top of the garden ready for the 'call in of the cats'. The moon began its watch over the night sky, and yet they had still not returned. Perhaps there was some meaning behind the pile of cases at the bottom of the stairs?

Mother began to shiver, an autonomic thermogenic response to cope with the sudden drop in ambient temperature. The light of the moon reflected off of the mirrored surface of a puddle, glinting in my eyes as I gazed from beneath the wooden table beside the house. We waited, staring across the lawn at each other; I could almost hear the borborgymi of her stomach from where I lay. Some detritus crunched, my ears twitched, sensing for the movement of a trespasser in our land. There was nothing more. Mother rested her head on her front paws, shutting her eyes; she barely moved as I settled in next to her, offering her my warmth.

I was awoken by a startling high-pitched squeal from the girl. Finally, she had pulled herself away from whatever distraction she had, remembering the two of us. On my feet in an instant, I was darting towards the light from the kitchen, in through the door, and skidding on the mat as I went. My snout had barely touched the food that they had provided before I was whisked into a cuddling embrace.

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Mother waited, slowly counting to twenty – she never likes to seem too desperate. Released from the torturous embrace I sat under the dining room table awaiting the impending theatre that follows. Slowly, she pulls her body out from her hole, stretching to her full length before creeping across the garden. Their excitement builds and they call out to her from the door. On cue Mother freezes, then scurries back behind the pampas grass. Then the lights go off, they pretend to shut the door, rattle the locks, and crouch beside the counter in the dark. By now Mother tires of the shastrix; she walks over to the patio, peering gingerly around the edge of the door. It opens. A few minutes of rolling on the patio and the rigmarole is concluded. In a flash she is up the stairs and waiting in the corner of her room.

I continued to dine on the repugnant lamb casserole and crunchy fish bits provided. Upstairs, Mother waited diligently for her meal. That was when it dawned. The female elder was not in her bed and the male was not in the lounge, which is where I usually find him whilst en-route to my sentry point in the bay window.

Now here I am, exchanging cuddles for scraps, and competing for bowl space with strays at the house on the other side of the concrete river. Mother is still too proud to join me, so I have to relay titbits across to her. How I long for Ashley, and that flying mouse he has.

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