Catering to his beloved pet’s needs, he opened the back door for his ginger feline. “Go on, then. I’m telling you, it’s freezing out there. You’ll be sorry. You’ll want back in after a few minutes.”took

Despite sunshine, icy air was rushing through the open door. Tail up, the cat bounced forward with a posture that called forth a heroic flourish of trumpets.

Halfway out, the cat went still, paws caught in motion.

“In or out,” he snapped. “Come on, cold air is filling the house, and all the heat is getting out.” He could hear the furnace kicking on. “Damn it — ”

The cat chittered. An enormous scrub jaw was hopping about the icy grass. Apparently seeing the cat, it flapped it wings with an outraged screech and took flight.

The cat ran out but the bird was gone. The cat scowled back at the man with an irritated tail swish (oh, yes, cats can scowl). He was clearly saying, “I could have gotten him if you hadn’t rushed me.”

“Right,” the man replied with a dismissing snort. “That bird was bigger than you. Let me know when you want back in.” He closed the door as the cat walked away, tall up, all forgiven, searching the yard for another distraction.

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