Rannie (Tam's tortoiseshell cat) jumps up on my desk and commences a slow stalk of my bacon, eggs and Emmenthaler cheese on toast sandwich. I pick it up with one hand and push on her side with the back of my other hand, saying, "No! You already had a nice saucer of grease* -- hey, are you purring?"
She is purring in anticipation and pressing back against my hand, happy to get the attention but still mostly focused on my sandwich. "No, Rannie, you cannot have my breakfast."
"No," I tell her, and increase the pressure until she hops down. Outside of meal time, she's permitted on the desk so she has a refuge from Huck when he's especially determined to play with her, and the "Not while I have food" rule is a little too subtle for a cat's mind, not to mention contrary to her natural inclinations. I look down at her as she walks abound the desk to stare accusingly up at me. "I'm sorry."
"Mmrau." Rannie raises up and put both paws on my knee, eyes wide. striving to look as kittenlike as possible, and asks again, "Menk-Nao?"
She doesn't quite talk yet, but it's not for lack of trying.
(Meanwhile Huck watches silently, waiting, a tiger biding his time.)
* Not grease, really about a tablespoon of olive oil, enlivened with a half-teaspoon of bacon grease because she was begging for it, despite having been served kibble when I first got up.
4 weeks ago