“Ten.” (8 Oct 2016)

What the hell, I’m bringing Ten back.

Today, the morning routine varies.

I leave the bedroom door ajar as I get dressed to go out (Cupcake is already safely ensconced in her own room.) From across the room, I see the door push open slightly, then softly swing shut. No other sound or motion is observed.

The floor soon reflects eight padding feet tracking along the bed. The feet round the corner and their owners are revealed, snuffling agitatedly like truffle-seeking pigs.

Poppy and Blackie are here to inspect the room – clearly grieved that they don’t do this as often as they’d like. You see what happens when I’m not around, the swishing tails nag. They sniff every corner with the superior, disapproving air of a spoiled debutante.

Then Blackie jumps on the bed and goes ballistic. It seems his nemesis Cupcake has left behind a bit of fur and a lot of scent. He circles round and round on her spot, unable to locate the invisible enemy. Poppy makes the mistake of rearing up to check out the scene, and Blackie’s slow-firing synapses pinpoint him as the source of the offending scent.

The unfolding events are amusing and scary. Blackie hisses and his tail stiffens into a giant toilet brush. He glares and arches his back dramatically. Before I could say Blackie why is your body asking a question? he launches himself at his own brother.

I shoo the indignant Poppy out and chase his screeching aggressor off the bed. To calm the hissing ball of midnight fur, I stroke down his toilet brush tail. That works, as does, even more successfully, the sound of the food drawer opening.

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