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I AM the arbiter of the House Rules, which are few and simple: No dogs on the furniture. No cats on the work surfaces.

No animals in the bedroom. No barking. The cats have no problem with this last one.

The only one who finds it problematic is Lucy, the Dog That Is Not Ours.

However, she accepts it as a rule, even if she thinks it is a silly one – what’s the point of a dog if not to bark?

On the whole the rules are obeyed without problems – mostly!

Lucy is a naturally obedient dog, and not out to make trouble, so apart from an occasional vocal outburst reprimand is not necessary.

Sayyida al Hurra, Someone Elses’s Cat, Queen of the Mediterranean and with a demeanour so dignified that she would make Queen Victoria look flippant considers that she is above the law.

However, without acknowledging my authority she will graciously acquiesce – I am, after all, a mere human!

Her son, Mr Tommy Fluffipants, considers that as he is cute and fluffy, rules do not apply to him.

Regularly I catch him on the kitchen table, a picture of innocence. ‘Tom!’ I holler.

He slides off and sits on the nearest kitchen chair, from where he regards me with perfectly round, perfectly blameless orange eyes.

‘It wasn’t me. I’m too cute and fluffy to do anything so wicked!

It was another cat who looks just like me.’ He has no conscience. He is cute, fluffy, and a consummate liar!

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