“This is not what I’m used to,” she stalked disdainfully through the house, sniffing everything as she went. “This place is barely fit for human habitation, let alone me.”
“This is what I could afford,” I protested weakly. Getting a talking pet for company had seemed like a great idea; it hadn’t occurred to me that it might have a personality that channelled everything in my family that I’d moved states to try and get away from. “Just like you were.”
“What?!” She rounded on me, leaping up on a chair to get closer to my height. “Explain yourself!”
“You were on special,” I told her. Bringing this up may not have been my best idea. “Getting you was cheaper than adopting a normal kitten.” The expression on her face made me pre-empt the question I thought I saw coming. “You were about half the price of the new kittens.”
“I am a purebred Marmota enchantica and I was not remaindered!” Her fur bristled.
“To bring up a probable sore point,” I interrupted, “how did you wind up at the animal shelter?”
“Sherilene died, after a long and debilitating illness, and she had no family.” She shook herself as if trying to throw off a bad memory and gave me a hard look. “I suppose you’re not too bad, a fixer-upper, rather like this house. We can work on that, unless you want to be a social island? I’m afraid I can’t recommend that.” She jumped down from the chair and began to stalk off again in the direction of the kitchen. “You may call me Telnardia and I think something died in one of these kitchen cupboards. You’d better bring your cleaning gear.”