Marika poured out the kibbles and scooped out plenty of food from the tin. She is generous with her portions whereas Julian is stingy. I prefer her feeding me. She has nice hands too and they caressed me as I prepared to eat, remembering my new technique of respect for each individual kibble. I watched her go upstairs and then had a quick poo before commencing the food ceremony. I bowed to the bowl and started to pick up each kibble and to swallow it whole. I was a lot hungrier than I’d realised after the excitement of the library, but the discipline of my religion shone through and I completed my eating with some kibbles still left for later, whenever that may be. I licked my chops and decided to saunter upstairs to the lounge where I would decide which book to read on the next today.
In the Lounge area, the bookshelves were placed strategically for the humans and not for felines. I would much prefer to sit on the back of a comfortable couch or chair and survey the books than sit on a hard, wooden floor facing the bookshelf as that would be described as ‘unusual behaviour’ by humans. It would be easier to sit on the back of the couch – a perfectly acceptable pastime for cats – and sneak glances at the books. In the end, I decided to sit on the arm of the chair and face the wall, so that I could look at the books in some comfort. I found the wooden floor caused cramps in my legs and didn’t aid my digestion, plus my tail stuck out at an angle and might have been stepped upon by a clumsy human foot. Facing the books meant having my back to both the door into the outside world and the door into the kitchen. This was acceptable as Gemma was still imprisoned and I could see reflections of both doors in the windows giving me some forewarning should something hostile be heading my way such as a human wielding a jackfruit.
As I began to survey the books the door into the outside world opened and Julian came in. He had taken his shoes off in the porch and so he was wearing just socks making his movements difficult to judge, a sneaky move to put me off my guard. I managed to extend my claws into the chair fabric just before he tried to lift me up. Luckily, he noticed my attachment and contented himself with stroking me. I purred enthusiastically so that he would go away and leave me to my important deliberations regarding reading material for the future. My purring worked and he headed off into the kitchen closing the door behind him.
Looking at the shelves, I had a decision to make. Which books could I reach from the floor, which from the arm of the chair, and which would I have to pull out from above? The last option was my least favourite as it would involve some leaping on my part and some pushing of the book on to the floor below, where it would make a noise and upset Gemma, not that she ever wasn’t upset with me. However, there were some obstacles in the way of the books on the lower two shelves, namely some porcelain figures of cats, some small Oriental bowls, and some small bottles of Scottish whisky which really belonged in a drinks cabinet. I would have to paw these to one side in order to obtain my chosen reading material. There were no ornaments on the top shelf and so it seemed like a good idea to start reading books on this shelf first, even though it would involve leaping and noise. The next choice would be the lowest shelf of all, where I could practice pawing items to one side. This would involve delicate movements of one of my front paws, probably the left-hand paw, and gently shunt the ornament to one side. Practising on the shelf closest to the ground would be what’s called a damage limitation exercise should I make a mistake and paw too much, resulting in the ornament leaving the bookshelf and landing on the floor where hopefully it would roll around and not break.