The cats were with him. The thin, black one, stood perched like some immobile idol cast in ebony and glared with hateful, yellow eyes at the chubby cat who lay next to their master having her chin rubbed. The black one had relinquished just that spot some minutes before when the heavier cat had invaded her space. It wasn’t that the fatter kitty was tougher or more aggressive; it was just that the black cat with golden, hateful eyes did not like to share anything, and would retreat at the idea of being touched by the fat cat. So she merely stood, perched just so, on a cedar chest and glared while her calico housemate received the ministrations of their owner.
The fat cat purred her pleasure, lost in a kittenish eternity of bliss, and the black cat stared and hated, trapped in an ever of what might have been.
For cats, their owner, when he was present, would never leave. For the cats, if their owner was away, he would never return.