Strudel, my favorite cat now that Attica is gone, is one of my charges here at the House of Too Many Cats, where I am the go-to housesitter. Here he is in his actuality:
As you can see, he is not only very handsome, and he not only has the trademark tabby M on his brow and the trademark tabby mayor's chain around his neck, as well as a wealth of weighty whiskers -- he not only possesses all these fine attributes but also has ears that are angled unusually low, and this plus the whiskers makes him look at all times rather skeptical and bored, as if you had just told him that "gullible" isn't in the dictionary or that you are the widow of a rich African dictator. In reality he is not as aloof as the part of my brain that recognizes human facial expressions insists that he appears to be. He won't get into my lap (or anyone's), but he likes to clonk me with his forehead, an expression of great esteem among his people. He also rumbles like an Alfa Romeo and drools all over me. It is love.
Bela is here too. He is living in a little bowl at the moment, rather than his spacious filtered and temperature-controlled tank, which is kind of the fish equivalent of living in an RV. The cats take no notice of him at all. This was not the case a few years ago when I brought a cage full of rats to stay for a while. Strudel and Melissa would stare at each other covetously from either side of the wire and each would take the occasional swipe at the other to see what would happen. Melissa came off the best in these exchanges because Strudel couldn't get his big paw through the wire, while she on several occasions managed to pinch his disdainfully obtuse ear.