A most amiable cat

Au Au and I met on a neighbor’s front drive. She was just passing through as I chatted with my neighbor, Jane. It took one stroke of the head, and next day she turned up on my doorstep. She is large, long, and sleek, a creamy pale orange all over with an unusually pointed face. My lap entranced her. She could trap me in place for hours if I didn’t, regretfully, have to move her to another chair. She then occupied that chair for the hours she preferred to spend on my lap. I nicknamed her Laptop, then Laprobe, for obvious reasons. Finally, I dubbed her Au Au because of the small noises she made while rubbing her face against the doorjamb and furniture. As far as I can verify, my view hindered by her long coat, she is a girl. Loaner once stabbed me with a pointed claw for attempting to find out her gender.

They are girls, I decide. I never know where any of the cats come from, but that is the nature of cats with so much freedom to roam. Pinky is the only one who asked to stay.

Pinky tolerates Au Au, more or less. I was ill abed for a day, and both cats kept me company. Pinky went to work licking Au Au, her face, her head, her ears, her neck, on and on and on. Au Au took it all placidly, her eyes closed and lying quite still. When Pinky finished her labors she lay down next to Au Au and placed an arm over her. They snoozed like that for a long time. I watched them, thinking of the unexpected change in my personal fortunes. Lonely no longer and, moreover, captivated by the living instruments of that change, I felt luckier than I had in years.

When they woke up, Pinky decided she had shared enough, and emitted a mild hiss that immediately evicted Au Au from my bed. Pinky is amiable, too, but being so much smaller than the others she can summon up a fighting spirit for her turf when she has to. Her last bastion now is my bed. Still, I have to help her get enough to eat. When competition overwhelms her, she climbs to the highest point in the kitchen, the windowsill, where I place her dish.

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