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Susie wouldn't have been so bad, but Shreddy hated it every time she had puppies. Each litter was two months of hell. Worse, sometimes not all of the puppies sold right away. Invariably, it would be Shreddy's least favorite of the sniveling, whining, icky little creatures that stuck around for the extra month. Or half year. Shudder. Shreddy didn't understand why anyone bought the little brats at all. But he was glad when they did.

Susie whined and cried whenever the last puppy from one of her litters was finally sold. Shreddy sniggered. He wasn't completely heartless though. Whenever Susie lost a puppy, even Shreddy stood at attention in the window watching the somber proceedings of the little funerals outside. He may have hated the little brats, but cats understand the seriousness of death.

Over the years, the little row of tombstones in the garden grew. Five were stillborns; one had a weak heart; and two were too adventurous with necks too weak for their own good. Shreddy mourned them all. Though, he would have hated them had they lived.

It was an unhappy equilibrium, for Shreddy, but it was stable. Puppies came, and puppies would go. Grumpy cats will be grumpy. All might have been well, if the red-haired-woman could have left well enough alone.

Shreddy, Susie, and their shared master.

But then...

It was Shreddy, Susie, Cooper, and a woman who Shreddy would no longer acknowledge.

Cooper was a yellow, toy Labradoodle. Where Susie looked like a painfully precious pillow-decoration, Cooper looked and acted more like a mop. Nothing could be more contemptible. Susie, however, was smitten, giving Shreddy one more reason to despise her. That reason multiplied the next time -- and every subsequent time -- she bore a litter of puppies.

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