My thirteen year old tom cat is my other baby.
When he gets into our bedroom he sleeps on my pillow, with his paws in my hair. If I push him off he settles at my feet instead.
He will aim for a two inch gap on my lap even if I am cross legged and working at the keyboard.
For the rest of the family, he will sit on their lap with his back to them, looking out over their knees like the sphinx. For me, however, he turns round and settles almost upright, tail on my lap, paws around my neck. Otherwise, still facing me, he nestles into one arm like a baby and extends one paw to stroke my hair or collarbone.
He likes to purr in my face. He likes it best if I was busy doing something else at the time.
He has a cat flap built into the kitchen door, but will test loyalties by demanding to be let in at the front door instead, or the patio doors, or the living room window.
I always know when the weather is going to change because he starts to get frisky - chasing his own tail around chair legs or 'killing' bits of lego or tinfoil.
He has always been demanding but faithful, until today. Today he was so disgusted with me that he resorted to blackmail.
The problem? A month or so before Christmas, the ultra luxury version of his food pouches were on sale, or mispriced, and cost the same as the regular ones. We stocked up. For a while then, he dined on lamb with carrots, rabbit with something else, two sorts of fish at once - you get the picture. His appetite went up accordingly and he snubbed his biscuits altogether; mewing and begging and pleading instead for more pouches of meat. Husband, the evil swine, made the most of it. The cat knows darn well what the word 'dinner' means and Husband would demand a kiss, insist that the cat bring the begging from the floor to his lap.
Anyway, the correction of prices plus the usual January budget & bills, means that cat, like us, is on rations. Specifically we downgraded not just to regular pouches of cat food, but to good old fashioned tins.
This, to cat's mind, would be insult enough, but husband also went and bought a tin of beef in jelly. Cat hates beef.
This morning then, he mewed piteously until I fed him.
He toyed with it.
He came and tried some more mewing.
He went back and ate a few biscuits instead, with a real dirty look on his face.
He mewed some more, and when that didn't work, he went out.
He was back inside five minutes, carrying a panicking songthrush by the throat, which he dropped unceremoniously on its back in the middle of the kitchen. His whole stance said 'Look what you've forced me to.'
He hasn't gone hunting for years, not since we had another cat who produced a litter. He set himself up as Uncle then and taught all the kittens to hunt. He did this by bringing in half dead field mice etc and presenting the prey to them, for the little ones to have a go at finishing off. All over the living room carpet. At all times of day and night. He gave up when I kept rescuing things and telling him he was bad.
This poor bird was a threat directed at me, make no mistake. It was deposited still alive, not a drop of blood drawn. He stood there staring at it for maximum effect. He then allowed himself to be lifted up and removed without any complaint, while I wrapped the bird in toilet tissue and carried it gently back outdoors. It was limping and dazed in the kitchen, but when we got halfway down the side alley and it saw a chance of escape, it fought free of me well enough, careering into the glass of next door's greenhouse before adjusting its aim and making good its escape.
Cat? Well cat hasn't touched that food, all day.
He's just been very quiet and given me an awful lot of disdainful looks.