It’s morning. Josef the cat stretches out his slim black legs to shake off sleep and then twists and twirls and pirouettes around my feet. In my small kitchen he purrs, yowls, stretches again and reaches up with his sharp claws onto the cutlery drawer until he hears his bowl being filled with food. Josef and I share all our favourite things and our lives are even more closely entwined since his brother Ossie died. Breakfast is a time for treats; Josef with his tin of pâté style cat food (food for the more senior and sophisticated cat) and I with my Rhubarb and Sweet Cicely scented compote and toast with jam (a pretty senior kind of breakfast too, no doubt).
All is calm and gentle as we check out the weather forecast, the sunbeams spilling in through the window, the birdies on the sill. And all is fine and dandy, that is, until one of us wants to sit down, and then the fun and games begin. Josef jumps up on the only stool to clean his whiskers, just seconds before I decide to sit down to eat. I carry in another stool, which he jumps on as well. I bring in a chair and yes, you’ve guessed, he jumps on that too. Then the minute I do manage to sit down on any seat he has vacated he jumps on my knee and I can’t reach my breakfast! This loving musical chairs ritual always ends up the same way. When the music stops, I eat my breakfast standing up, whilst Josef, full of pâté, luxuriates in the warmth of the sun as he rests on the stool. And I realise that when it comes to negotiating with this special, rough, tough playboy of a cat with his magnificent whiskers and sparkling white tuxedo, that I am as soft as melting butter in his warm, pink-padded paws. Meow!