The sheet appeared to grow a pair of black, hairy paws, with small pink pads on the end. Suddenly, sharp claws popped out from behind the pads and grasped the sheet from the front.
Creamy squeezed his eyes shut. Then he forced them open a little and stared: the sheet was still there, swaying about this way and that, as the claws kept tearing it.
Creamy shifted closer to Lennie. ‘What's that, Lennie?’ he whispered out of the side of his mouth.
But before Lennie could answer, the sheet split open, and a long, black shape sprang out of its folds and slithered to a scraping halt right in front of Lennie.
Lennie blinked. Then he shuddered slightly, as a pair of glittering green eyes looked into his. He recognised those eyes – they belonged to Satie, the Captain's cat.
‘Oh, it's you,’ said Lennie, ice in his voice. For Lennie, though ready to like almost any cat, was not particularly fond of Satie. In fact, Satie was practically the only cat he had ever met whom he just could not get to like. It was not that Satie had done something awful to him; it was more that he always looked as if he might.
Satie was indeed a cat who was hard to like. He swanked about the ship as if he owned it, took the best bits of food for himself, dozed for most of the day in the best armchair in the lounge, and expected everyone to fawn upon him – just because he was the Captain's cat.
But the worst thing about Satie were his claws: sharp, curved and ever ready to scratch. It was not for nothing that the ship's cook could frequently be seen chasing Satie up and down the deck, a kitchen knife in hand, shouting: ‘You wretched cat! I'll clip those claws of yours, if that's the last thing I do! Just you wait.’
Satie of course never waited. He knew better than to hang about when the cook got angry and went after him. Quite unfairly, of course, Satie thought. After all, he rather liked the cook and if occasionally he happened to scratch him as he was climbing up his trouser leg - well, whose fault was it?
Certainly not his, felt Satie. After all, he reasoned, how else was he supposed to save himself from injury except by using his claws to hang onto the cook's trouser leg while being violently shaken?