There was a cat - a pitifully pampered pet - who, if you had looked at him, you would have said had that smug, self-satisfied look of a cat who had got the cream. And, indeed, he had.
In truth, he got the cream every day - and twice-a-day on Sundays, high days and holidays!
But, after a year or two of lapping up the cream and licking out the bowl, he rarely if ever relished the experience as he had once done when he was a kitten.
The special treat was now a commonplace event; the privilege, a right; the surprise, expected. And so, eventually, the Cat who got the cream looked less and less smug and self-satisfied and increasingly sated and bored with life.
Other cats - those who haunted dingy alleyways and seedy rubbish tips, living on rotting fish-heads and the rancid dregs from beer cans - had always envied the Cat who got the cream.
But they were rather less envious - and realised the true price of a saucer of cream - when their mollycoddled contemporary died, long before his time, of coronary heart disease resulting from an exceptionally high intake of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
© Brian Sibley 2006