I was telling you about my new home. I have introduced you to the human members of the household, but there are a fair few animals here, as well. Quite a menagerie, in fact. There are several other cats, a tortoise, some goldfish, an old Labrador retriever and a snake wearing a bow tie. One of the cats sidled over to me. "All right, geezer?" he said.
"Hmm, yes thanks," I replied. He was a large, shaggy brown unit, with dark eyes, a haunted expression and duelling scar just under his ear. There was something strange about him that I couldn't put my finger on.
"New boy, yeah?" he said. "Guess you don't know what goes on here yet?"
"Err, no," I responded. "Excuse me, have we met before?"
I was thinking that he might have gone to my school. "Don't think so, treacle," he said. "Think I'd remember you. Now listen up. If you want to survive here - "
"Hang on!" It had suddenly struck me what was so peculiar. "You can talk!"
"So can you," he said with a shrug.
"Well, that's because I'm not a cat," I said. "I'm a human bloke."
"Ah, I see," said my new friend. "That would explain why you're wearing that hat."
The hat! I quickly whipped it off, before my cover was blown. "But you're a talking cat," I said.
"Well yeah, that's my talent, see," said the cat. "We're all performers here, and that's how we earn our keep. They enter us for talent shows and the like. And let me tell you, you need to keep on top of your game, because if you don't, you'll be 'retired'."
"Yeah, put into a sack with a couple of bricks, taken down to the canal and 'retired'."