Donald and James were littermates, and they had been together their whole lives, from a shelter, to their first owner, to another shelter, and this place. They had been with the boss for years. When they first arrived, they were put in the basement, because it was the only area with carpet. They sat underneath the bed in the basement bedroom for an hour, and then they had gingerly made their way up to the living room. They explored every inch of the house. James learned that the closed keyboard cover of the piano in the living room was perfectly shaped for napping, or lying on his back and meowing for attention! He also learned that he was not allowed on the piano.
Their first owner had loved them very much, and they had come with a little brown mouse toy and a plastic heart on a shoelace. These were their favorite toys for a long time, and they still loved and played with them, but as the years passed, new favorites had arrived. Larger toy mice. Foil balls that made a wonderful sound when batted across the floor. Pieces of ribbon. A fish on a toy fishing rod, then, eventually, the individual components of the fishing rod toy, cunningly separated and played with all around the house. All toys were wonderful toys.
The boss had made them some little fleece balls, which bounced in a charmingly unpredictable manner. They stored them under the couch for safekeeping, but the boss would always find them and put them under the coffee table. They couldn't understand why she insisted on doing this, but they would dutifully put them away, under the couch again, until the next time. The boss had also made them some little fleece pillows. They were good for sitting on, bunny kicking, and putting toys near, on and under. The toy piles were always very deliberate, and they probably meant something, but the cats never bothered to explain. Sometimes the boss would do a similar thing next to the front door, putting snowy socks and mittens in a row. The cats approved, and would often add little toys to the lineup. The boss would laugh when she saw this, but they never understood why.