Nature, they say, is red in tooth and claw. Sometimes nature's ruthless survivalist instincts takes an unexpected form, in this case the amiable persona of Mr Fluffy. Now Mr Fluffy is a sweetie. He has a white face, and a white bib, and a white tummy, and four shaggy white paws, and white whiskers, and the rest of him is black. Most of the time he wears the expression of a slightly baffled panda, except when he is chasing birds or butterflies, and now that he is a proper grown up cat he doesn't bother to do that as often as he did, preferring to spend a good hunk of his day asleep in a cardboard box. He is often to be found hanging out with Our Ginger and they wash each other, a proper bromance. He invariably purrs when I pick him up, and never grumbles at being scooped up and carried to a different room, merely ambling back to where he intended to be in the first place once I've finished petting him. He has taken to flopping down in my lap in the evenings, when again he purrs a lot. And, as his name suggests, he is properly long haired and very fluffy.
No, you would not expect Mr Fluffy to be a ruthless survivalist. He looks like the sweetest natured cat you could hope to meet, besides being slightly dopey. But Mr Fluffy is a terror when it comes to food, his own and everybody else's. It started innocently enough, with Mr Fluffy finishing up anything the other cats had left on their plates with a Can I have that if you don't want it? expression. Then, as the kittens got older and more independent and started going outside at odd times so that we couldn't always feed all four of the cats together, we noticed that if one of the others missed a meal and we put food down for him later when he came in, Mr Fluffy was sure to appear as if by magic and ended up being fed as well. Sometimes he would emerge from his cardboard box, and sometimes come bursting through the cat door, but he could sense the scraping of a spoon in a tin or the rattle of biscuits at fifty paces.
He was always the first to fall upon any food put down, so much so that there was no sense in trying to feed the other cats until you had given food to Mr Fluffy. He was always amiable, never growled, never hissed, but he developed the unnerving habit of putting his foot across his brothers' necks and calmly shoving them out of the way. I was out today at lunchtime, but the Systems Administrator told me that Mr Fluffy had learned a new trick, pushing first one brother and then the other off their food before returning to consume his own dish. They didn't push back, or growl or hiss, but sat there looking pathetic until the SA put down more.
Despite regularly consuming three lunches, two teas and two suppers, Mr Fluffy is not fat. I suppose we had better worm him again, but I suspect he is simply not a good feed converter. However, it is not nice for his brothers not to be able to finish their meals in peace, or even start them. I think we might have to start feeding Mr Fluffy by himself, in the kitchen.