A FEW NIGHTS later, Foofer was sleeping comfortably in bed with his Mummy and Wilbert. The night was a bit warm, so Mummy left the window open. Foofer could feel the slight night breeze as it rippled over his body, giving him pleasant relief from the heat. He was content, lying between his Mummy and Wilbert where he felt he could protect them best.
All of a sudden Foofer heard a slight mewling sound. It was the noise of a cat purring and meowing in low tones. Foofer perked his ears up. A few seconds later Layla appeared in the window from outside, quiet as a proverbial mouse, watching the occupants of the bed. Foofer was very still, but he was quite alert now. He waited to see what Layla would do.
Layla sniffed the air and then carefully dropped down to the bed from the window sill. Her step was so light her weight made no movement as she crept between Mummy and Wilbert. She stopped just short of walking on Foofer. He could hear her purring louder. He made no move, but keenly observed Layla sniffing Wilbert's nose and then Mummy's hand as it lay on the covers. Layla's tail twitched as she turned her eyes to Foofer.
Cats and dogs may be different animals with a different set of likes and dislikes, but one thing they have in common was their ability to see in the dark. Foofer and Layla locked glares; her green eyes seemed to be flashing, while his own brown eye and blue eye were steady and expectant.
Layla hissed slightly. "Don't you ever sleep on the floor?"
"My place is in the bed," Foofer snapped back. "There is no room for you here."
"I'll say," Layla cackled. "You take up a lot of room, Foofer."
"And don't forget it," Foofer pointed out. "It's my job to protect my parents and our house, even if I have to protect them against you."
Layla switched gears and became polite. "No need to threaten me, Foofer. I mean no harm. All I want is to whet my whistle before I go back outside. The water in the gutter and from the fishpond isn't the same as the fresh cool water your Mummy leaves out for you."
Foofer paused, as if he were considering Layla's words. "Fine," he said finally. "Get a drink and then be on your way."
Layla jumped down from the bed ever so lightly. A few seconds later Foofer heard her licking water from his bowl in the kitchen in short, quick laps. Because the kitchen was so close to the bedroom, Foofer could hear everything. He thought Layla was taking forever to get her drink of water.
"Thankfully Mummy changes my water twice a day," Foofer thought to himself in disgust. "I'd hate to drink water after the cat has her fill, drooling and spitting."
Layla was back a few minutes later, jumping back on the bed. She stopped to wash her face briefly but Foofer prodded her on: "You can do your cleaning once you get back outside. Now move along!"
Before Layla could respond, Mummy moaned and rolled over in her sleep.
"If you wake up my Mummy, I'll boot you out the window myself," Foofer said to Layla, becoming angry.
"I'm leaving, you mean beast," Layla hissed under her breath as she stepped lightly past Foofer to the window. "Thank you for the water."
Foofer felt a bit guilty for being so mean. Even though he didn't like Layla, it was still no excuse to be cruel to her. "You're welcome," he whispered. And because he was curious, he asked her: "Where do you sleep at night?"
Layla stopped at the window sill, where she perched and turned to look at Foofer. "Here and there," she purred. "I try to stay in the backyard where I sleep in the grass, but sometimes my fancy takes me elsewhere. You know, all around the neighborhood."
It was on the tip of Foofer's tongue to remind Layla not to annoy the neighbors, but he held himself in check and said instead: "Very well, then. Good night."
"Good night, Foofer," Layla whispered, and she was gone.
Foofer snuggled next to his Mummy to get comfortable again. He was certain there would be no more interference from Layla that night.
FOOFER & THE CAT BURGLAR ©2011-2017 Deborah O'Toole. All rights reserved.
"Foofer & the Cat Burglar" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "Foofer & the Cat Burglar" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.