"Perhaps I should give him a name," I suggested.
"What makes you so sure it's a boy?" asked Rutter.
"He's a boy. Everything about him says male. I can see it in his face."
Rutter studied the two cats. He wasn't what I'd call a cat person but he was fond of Beastie so was familiar with them. He couldn't see what I meant though.
We made breakfast, just emergency rations as we still didn't want to light a fire or cause a disturbance with phaser fire or whatever, and sat in a circle chatting. As I sucked my rations out of the packet, Tom (yes, I've decided to call him Tom. Not very imaginative but he doesn't know that) ventured over. He stood at arms length, his little nose twitching in the direction of my rations.
"I think he wants some," said Al.
I squeezed a little bit out onto my finger and offered it to him. He came a little closer, sniffed it gingerly and then gave it a single, tentative lick. His nose wrinkled and he shook his head. Then he thought about it, stepped forward and took another lick. He looked pensive, as though trying to decide if he liked it or not. He decided that he did and ate the lot, his rough tongue sanding my fingertips. When it was gone, I squeezed a little bit more out and offered it again. He accepted that too. In fact, he looked to be really enjoying it, certainly more than I was.
"What flavour is it anyway?" asked Al.
I checked the packet (because you can never be sure otherwise).
"Bacon and egg."
Rutter's brow wrinkled in disgust and he shuddered. "Urgh! How do they get bacon and egg in a packet?"
"Same way they get roast beef and Yorkshire pud in one, I suppose."
Rutter studied the label on his. "Pilchard and banana," he joked.
"It might as well be. I swear the only difference between them is the label."
By now, eager for more of my 'bacon and eggs', Tom was standing with one paw resting on my knee and the other suspended in mid-air, waving it gently as he begged for more. Too soon for him, it was all gone. I told him as much and I swear his little face fell, so I reached down and petted him between the ears. He didn't pull away at all this time. He had become quite at ease with us.
The chatter continued and I became distracted by it so I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing. Without thinking, I suddenly swept Tom up in the same way I would have done Beastie, and tipped him into my lap. He went rigid.
"Oh! I'm sorry, Tom," I cooed as he struggled himself upright. "I didn't mean to frighten you. I just thought you'd like a proper cuddle."
He seemed to find my voice soothing, so I chatted away to him. He stopped fighting and his muscles relaxed a little, so I pampered him with both hands taking long caresses that ran from the top of his head to the tip of his tale. Reassured that I meant him no harm, he settled into my lap and began to purr loudly, his sharp claws kneading into my leg. He looked up at the black and white cat and winked at her. As though he had just given her consent, she got up and approached Al. She held out her paw and gave a silent meow asking for similar attention.
"Aww! Are you jealous? You want a fuss too?" asked Al. She may be a Klingon, but she's a softy when it came to cats, so readily obliged.
We both sat cuddling the enormous felines while Rutter and Traeth cleared up the breakfast things. We then set about deciding what we should do next. After an extensive debate, we decided we would remain here for the day. The natives may still be hiding and might return. However, if they didn't, then tomorrow we would respect their desire for privacy and move on.