Careful, mustn’t fall.
Old Tom heard the click of the latch open before he saw the front door swing wide. Front paws pushing against the window frame, back arched, letting the sun warm his old joints.
The old wooden door slammed shut.
What’s that? Forgot something did we? Second breakfasts perhaps? One last scratch behind the ear would be a nice good bye.
Through the living room and dining room with something in arms went the human.
Crinkle crackle of the food bag, and the sweet tinkle of the hard bits hitting a porcelain bowl.
What’s this, double breakfasts? Now we’re talking good service!
Tom leapt down and meandered indifferently around the living room furniture, zipping between legs of dining chairs to end up sitting next to the human’s feet in the kitchen doorway. There in the middle of his kitchen, head bowed over a bowl of dry food was a small scruff of fur. It was a very dirty, thin scruff of fur. It was a very hungry skinny kitten.
Well, you at least had the decency to not use MY bowls.
Tom looked up at the human and then purred and nuzzled the legs in praise of doing something right. Sauntering over half way to the fur ball, Tom sat. Tom eyed the mongrel as he waited to be noticed and bid the respect a cat of his age and stature was due.
The kitten continued to eat devouring the meal as if it was the last and only meal to have ever been eaten by any living breathing creature. Looking back to the human, Tom saw they were enamored with this show of devastation and heartbreaking scam.
Tom lost the last bit of patience in him. He flicked his tail and strutted up to this mornings center stage, fully prepared to regain his headliner status with a stellar performance. A few inches from the kitten and the small head removed itself from the bowl of food and turned to Tom. Neither feline moved.
The small kitten and the old cat moved at once mirroring defensive stances as if on cue. Backs arched, tails straight and true. Baring teeth they both hissed in unison followed by well orchestrated spits. Then sat in synchronized motion.
At the Olympics, they would have scored a ten. They sat, each staring the other down. The human bent to kneel and watch from a safe distance. Tom raised his head ever the slightest, the kitten lowered it’s and began a slow stalking crawl towards the old grey cat. Old Tom waited until the head was within paws reach.
Old Tom reached up and out over the small head and thunked it. The kitten rolled inward into a ball and yowled in mock pain. The human was not confused. “Tom! Did you have to set it to making noise?”
Over Tom’s shoulder he looked back, “What did I do?”
Rolling around the kitchen floor the kitten made its way within reach of Old Tom’s tail and pounced. Tom grimaced. Tom sighed. Tom flicked the fur off his tail and stood on all fours over the small attacker. The kitten mewed and purred.
Tom tried to maintain his sense of serious domination as the kitten mewed and purred AND rubbed up against him .
“So I can leave it to you to take car of him and show him the ropes while I am at work?” the human requested of Tom.
“Good, I have to get going. See you at five,” The human locked the door on the way back out.
The kitten continued to mew and purr, returning back to the bowls set out for its consumption. Over and over between the bowls and Old Tom interrupting the route with a little mew here and a purr there.
“It is strange how these being live, yes?”
“Yes, we have the better life, we who learned early on to stay down on all fours. They never realized their error in standing up.”
“What, their language offends you?”
“Ya- OW- l”
“I keep it up merely as a curiosity. Your mother was a purest then?”
“No, I find it an inscrutable language. What was that? Dogs? Oh, yes we have them here. They are as incorrigible as any other dog, though more easy going than some.”
“Do you speak at all?”
“A little, we, my litter, and I were separated. The being who took me was unacceptable. No where near as well trained as mother’s. I aim to find either members of my litter or mother; which ever comes first.”
“Well, if you so choose to remain here, this is as compatible as any other, but I think you may find it better than most.”