Oscar let his tail hang lazily down from the kitchen surface, swishing and sometimes flicking at intervals that he enjoyed. His humans would not be home for several hours and so he would make the most of the stillness of the mid-afternoon with his head propped up, surveying the baked-on orange desert below.

Oscar scanned the exterior through the window. A wide grin started to form on his feline features and his eyelids grew heavy as the satisfaction washed over him that everything was as it should be. He could enjoy moments like these for days if it was ever possible. Every rock and biting bug in its place. Those same flowerless, brown shrubs, unmoving in the baking heat, clinging barely to life in this, the driest season patiently waiting for the next.

Oscar allowed himself a moment of relaxation, his eyes drooping low, so that his view of outside was now halved by the window frame, exhaling through his nose as he did so. His mind was now pleasantly empty and he gave his tail an emphatic flick, thumping the cupboard door with his heavy yellow tail as he let go of the moment.

“Look how big it is!”

Oscar’s head snapped towards the door, and the crude voice that had boomed through the open-plan home, his senses jumping alive. He did not recognise this one but entertained the interloper while he regained some feeling in his legs and paws.

The human stopped as soon as he had crossed the threshold and proceeded to stare at Oscar, one hand pointing, in a rather blunt manner. Oscar was not sure if this one had been communicating to another of its kind, or whether it was just a little slower and exclamatory than what was allowed to pet him.

It started to cross towards Oscar’s kitchen. Ponderous, sluggish steps echoing across the simply furnished living area, its head bobbing with each sloppy footfall. Oscar hoped silently it didn’t intend to touch his coat with those big clumsy hands that were swinging absent-mindedly by its side; he stayed lying down on the cool stone surface but stared on as the human got closer.

“Good kitty…”

A puffy hand reached out slowly towards Oscar’s rear. Oscar moved to sit up and face the intruder with all of his front. The human was holding an empty white bag in the other hand and from the way it was holding it it looked as though Oscar was expected to climb on inside with a little gentle persuasion. Oscar tilted his head to one side as the biped began curling an outstretched arm again.

“Hmm.” Said Oscar. The human froze. And after a pause: “I think it ought to leave.”

The human’s mouth was wide open by this point but this then curled into a nasty grin as the bag was let go and two hands started towards Oscar’s neck.

“Told it.” And Oscar leapt at the invader, knocking it to the ground with his full weight and claws digging into its fabric covered chest. There was a brief howl and then the house was silent again save for the soft cleaning of paws and fur. A red pool grew around the fallen foe but Oscar was already back on his surface, watching the dust blow by.