Because I am the worst mother in the world, I decide not to feed the babies when I get home.
(Just for awhile, I mean.)
(All for science.)
The kiddos are outraged. They wind round and round my legs, snakes on a carousel, from the living room to the balcony to the toilet. They batter me with plaintive yowls. I keep my eyes firmly on my phone, watching a Life Hacks video on Youtube.
There is a pause, in which some (I assume) unspoken feline-mind-to-feline-mind strategising takes place. Curly takes up position by the kitchen entrance. Poppy sits himself directly in my line of sight, squatting foward, a large mushroom of a cat balancing on two tiny paws. The most effective negotiator is sent forward to bargain with the beast.
And so I find myself staring at the sweetest little black kitty, who plonks himself in front of me, coy head-tip fully deployed, beseeching mewl fully unleashed. I am not unmoved by the aesthetics, but mostly I am amazed by how much he reminds me of his kitten-self. Blackie is technically a middle-aged man, but when I look into his furry well-loved face, I cannot see him as anything else but the baby cat I fell in love with. This must be how parents feel when they look at their children. The best image filters are our memories and the yearning for that fuzzy-edged past that always seems purer, more innocent, more precious.
In the end, overcome by guilt and maudlin sentiment, I give each cat an extra serving.