In return, he left me a cat.
She (working title Catkin, a term of endearment used by the Lovely Son, who could never decide on a name for her) is settling in, purring loudly for me and growling ferociously at everyone else.
Admittedly, Millie needs to be growled at to stop her from committing murder; Lottie just employs the renowned Death Stare.
Poor Tosca, who has done nothing at all to deserve Catkin's growls and dagger-like glares, is oblivious to the peril she is in as she potters about short-sightedly, too close to the portly newcomer. Flossie has the sense to sit quietly in her basket and avoid making eye contact or her usual friendly overture - even her uncomplicated mind recognises that this is not a cat whose ample behind can safely be sniffed.
Hamish and Scooter respond as we have come to expect; they flee, they hide, they behave as though someone was after them with an axe. I notice that it doesn't affect their ability to know when it's dinnertime.
But by this evening it begins to feel more like a ritualised form of pseudo-warfare; a Haka as performed by actors rather than by a group of truly dangerous warriors. I feel less anxious about Catkin, although I expect some blood-curdling cries in the night - my bed is Queen Lottie's territory, and is not always willingly shared.
Five cats. How did it come to this?
(image courtesy of The Simpsons)