I take my time, blinking slowly, back at Toby, who doesn’t seem to love sitting on me as much as he does my sister.

He, like me, has spread his body across the cold floor.

Nearby, and even nearer now, Lucky approaches, loathe to allow Toby any lion’s share of affection.

“This house has a dog and a cat,” his underbite insists, “not a cat and a dog.”

Unlike Lucky, who cannot climb over gates, Toby wanders.

The excursions begin after meal times. They end before meal times.

We don’t see where they lead. Likely, they are traveled in curiosity, not for courtship.

We never see Toby purr for other felines, not like that one pair of cats a few houses away. Cleopatra and Anthony, with eyes burning through the gate that separates them.

It is unconfirmed whether they let such a thing as a gate obstruct their union.

Meanwhile, I have a finger on the pads of Toby’s paw, and a hand behind Lucky’s ears. Tandem touching comes naturally.

“Lucky, why are you so silly?” His eyes are glazed and unblinking, as if asleep or in screensaver.

“And you, why so naughty?” Impatient for further questioning, Toby stretches, stands, and slinks away.

Instantly, Lucky scrambles to his feet, padding after his master’s master.

At once abandoned and alone, I roll over, then roll back onto my belly, procrastinating my next move.

“Don’t lie on the floor,” my grandpa used to say, “the cold will get to your bones.”

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