10:00 AM

Green eye, supercilious, appeared over Edna Biddle’s Brobdingnagian bosom.

“You’re not dead, are you?”

Edna Biddle lay supine in a welter of dusty pillows. She opened a veiny eye. “The hell do you want, cat?”

Mr. Tufts batted Edna’s nose. “The pull-tabs, woman! Your services are required!”



10:30 AM

With effort akin to heaving a sideboard up stairs, Edna rolled, thrashed, flailed, and heaved herself from bed into electric wheelchair.

Greta minced into the room, the noise having put her in mind of tinned cod. “She should really consider a live-in caretaker.”

Mr. Tufts licked a whisker. “Who would live in this sty? Or even set foot?”



Edna finished her lunch – Cheetos, Gallo wine, Reddi-wip consumed straight from the nozzle. She felt eyes boring into the back of her neck. Edna turned the chair to see Mr. Tufts staring up at her.

“Now what?”

The cat flicked a white-tipped tail in the direction of the disused second bedroom. “I have taken it upon myself to count the back issues of Knitting Journal languishing in yon fetid morass. Do you know how many –”

“Don’t know, don’t care.”

“One hundred sixty-eight issues. Fourteen years’ worth, if my arithmetic is correct.”


“It’s a lot of knitting literature. For a human who’s never knitted so much as a coffee trivet.”

“Gonna learn.”

“To knit?” The cat circled and showed Edna his ass. “You’re too arthritic to uncork wine. You’ve taken to having screw tops delivered, which you wrench open with pliers. Greta and I noted with alarm the painful effort you exerted opening our Gravy Lovers’ Beef Feast. Greta wanted me to remind you that we don’t care what else you do – loll about in squalor, watch talk shows – but opening those cans is perhaps the only vital purpose left to you on this Earth.”


1:30 PM

With a yelp of arthritic agony, Edna drew back the pull-tab from the Gravy Lovers’ Chicken Chunks O’ Luv. She shook the open tin over the arm of her wheelchair. The meat plopped to the floor, missing the filthy plate by a good six inches. The cats fell upon the heap. Their eyes gleamed with ancestral memory of quarries felled, their jaws champed with the ghoulish puppetry of compulsive appetite.

“Pretty kitties,” Edna murmured. “Oo likey dat chicken, don’ you!”


2:00 PM

“The old days. Remember?”

“She doted on us.”

“Catnip mice.”

“Fancy Feast. Not the generic stuff.”

“The laser pointer. The Red Dot. You know, I almost caught it once.”

“The chewy treats.”

Snores rumbled from the bedroom.


3:30 PM

“Outta my way, Gret. I can’t see Steve Harvey.”

Greta mrowed and continued to block the TV.

“Jeez, I fedja aready just a hour ago.”

“It’s not the feeding that’s the issue,” Greta said, “it’s what Tufts found under the dirty brassieres on your nightstand.”


“Two weeks’ worth of insulin, unopened. You’re not following your regimen.”

“I toldja. I’m borderline. I don’t need to stick myself if I feel OK.”

Borderline diabetics are not prescribed a twice-daily injection. Should your limbs atrophy and your motor function decline, Tufts and I worry that your effectiveness with the pull-tabs…”

Edna hurled the nearest thing to hand, a mud-crusted garden trowel. Greta slipped nimbly out of its path, but the trowel struck the TV screen which went dead as green slate.

“Stupid cat! Look whatcha made me do!”


4:10 PM

“Her television is kaput. This could have a deleterious effect on us.”

“I fail to see how. We do not watch television. We don’t need ‘entertainment.'”

Mr. Tufts wiped a paw over his face. “I have observed that a human, deprived of pursuits merely slothful, often drifts to habits less wholesome, even downright destructive.”


5:00 PM

“Two empty bottles.”

“Store-brand muscatel. Revolting.”

“Here’s a third, rolled under her wheelchair.”

“Is she responsive?”

Mr. Tufts clambered up the terrycloth that shrouded Edna’s immobile form. He batted her face. Edna groaned, but didn’t move.

“Best-case scenario is intoxication, but I cannot rule out a diabetic coma.”

“And the pull-tab?”


“This is serious.”


8:00 PM

“She hasn’t stirred.”

MrTufts sniffed Edna’s breath. “Shallow exhalations, sweet and cloying. I fear diabetes-induced ketosis.”


1:30 AM

“She is not breathing.”

“The worst has happened.”

“Goodbye human.”

“What do we do now? We cannot eat! Our human is useless!”

Mr. Tufts arched his back and swished into the kitchen. “Not entirely.”



The EMT ripped his facemask off. “Christ, what a scene in there. Cat piss everywhere. Old lady’s corpse half decomposed, still in her wheelchair. Smell got so bad, the neighbors finally called 911.”

The detective said “We’re calling relatives to come ID the body.”

“Don’t bother. The face is mostly gone.”

“You’re – oh my god.”

“Yeah. And we’re calling the humane society. Need homes for two cats. Very well fed.”