“Meow,” the cat, a sleek female named Ophelia, squeaked. The Queen sauntered by, voluptuous and sensual in her feline ways. She was a part-Siamese. Very exotic. And she knew it. She was trying to catch Hamlet’s eye.
But Hamlet concentrated on abandoned cheese. Hamlet had seen the cheese before he saw Ophelia. A human must have left the cheese cubes there, after sitting at the fountain and eating lunch. The human’s loss was Hamlet’s gain.
Hamlet was stalking the cheese – it smelled like a delicious Wisconsin Gouda – while keeping a wary eye on the female. He wasn’t about to lose his snack to some molly out for a fling.
Hamlet had always been a cheese connoisseur. While other cats craved cream or were tantalized by tuna, his taste buds had a predilection for cheese. And his humans has always indulged him.
But he understood Ophelia’s advance; she knew Hamlet’s reputation. All the queens did. He had clandestinely sired three litters of kittens in the last eight months.
His sudden inexplicable lack of interest in her was insulting.
Hamlet noted that Ophelia seemed miffed that he wasn’t paying her any attention. Hamlet growled, warning her away from him and the cheese.
Cultured milk quashed seduction. Didn’t she know that? Cheese before she.
Not long ago, Hamlet would have instantly abandoned the cheese for intimate time with Ophelia.
Now, all he could keep his eyes on were the cubes of cheddar abandoned on the ledge of the fountain. She could go on her way to harass others.
Ophelia seemed suddenly jealous of the cheese. Hamlet was concerned that she might spitefully knock the delicious morsels into the water.
Water-logged cheese never tasted right. He ignored Ophelia.
She meowed again, low and sultry.
He crept to the fountain’s edge. He hoisted himself over the cheese. It was his.
Ophelia walked away, as he began to nibble, finally accepting that he wasn’t at all interested in her.
“Once upon a time, cheri,” he meowed as she walked away.
He would have been interested in her. But something marvelous had happened. His humans had taken him to see a man wearing the white coat. Hamlet had fallen into a very deep sleep in the man’s cold office. He awoke feeling very different.
Hamlet remembered thinking, before that event, that he had heard of every type of cheese. His humans had brought him Chhana, Sakura, Limburger, Jarlsberg, and Vesterhavsost. But Veterinarian? He had never heard of that type of cheese.
But that was what the humans had promised him as they took him to see the man in the white coat. “Veterinarian time,” the humans told him. “We’ll give you a treat afterwards.”
Veterinarian. That sounded like a potent type of cheese! And it must have been quite an intense experience, because Hamlet couldn’t remember any of the details about the encounter.
However, after experiencing the Veterinarian, all he wanted was cheese; he no longer found Ophelia and her kind at all interesting.
The white-coated man must be a masterful cheese maker, Hamlet thought.
He heard a tomcat leering at Ophelia.
“Silly tom,” Hamlet thought. “To be with her or to be with the cheese. I know my answer to that question.”
Hamlet thought, while eating: All that tom needs to adjust his thinking is a visit to the master cheese maker. That transformational man in the white coat.
Then that tom, like Hamlet, would recognize the wisdom of Edam before Madame.
His life, too, would be changed forever.