The Littlest Gangster

When she gets up in the morning, my wife is greeted by our cats, Oliver and Mia, who bustle about as Sandy makes her breakfast. Every now and again, the cats will get a treat of wet food, with each cat getting a portion in a separate bowl. Other times, if they don’t get their treat breakfast, Oliver will jump up on the kitchen table and sit patiently while Sandy eats her breakfast and reads a book — he’s her "breakfast buddy." He likes being up there, and every now and then Sandy might give him a tiny morsel of food.

One day, I got an IM from Sandy saying, "Oliver was being a food bully [this morning]." I assumed that Oliver was stealing some of Mia’s special wet food breakfast, as sometimes he will try and assert his authority like that. However, that wasn’t the case at all — Oliver kept putting his paw on Sandy’s book to push it out of the way, so he could perhaps sneak some people food! The way Sandy phrased it, though, made it sound like Oliver was shaking Sandy down for food, in exchange for letting her read her book. "He was like, ‘You wanna read? You give mes your breakfasts.’"

I thought this was hilarious — the thought that Oliver was demanding "protection money" made me imagine him as a very small fedora-wearing gangster, spouting veiled threats like, "You know, it would be a real shame if some kind of wild animal tore up your book, eh?" And so, for the next few days, I called him "Little Gangster."

For the record, he’s behaved himself since then.

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