It was cold.  Colder than ever before.  The Gozo Cat Detectives huddled together under duvets and pillows and cushions, but still they were cold.  Even Missy, with her ever-expanding furriness, found it chilly, and a bit squashy, as Max, Ziggy, Whistler and Astral Squeaks like to lie on her and snuggle. Their food was cold, their water was cold. Only biscuits seem to retain their temperature.  It was wretched.  Fortunately, it was a slack time of year for mysteries, as the thought of going out was uninviting.  They wanted to go out, but every time the people they looked after let them out into the courtyard, they came rushing back in as it was still cold.  Then, a minute or so later, they wanted to go out again to see if it hard warmed up a bit, but it hadn’t, and they rushed back in again.  The people they looked after were cold too, and opening and closing the door continually seemed to make them cross for some strange reason.  There were mutterings about something called a cat flap.  Whistler had experienced a cat flap in his previous home and had found it, like most things, a bit tight around the hips.  They decided that it sounded most unpleasant.

Then a stroke of luck!  One of the people they looked after was struck down by something called Flu.  She made lots of percussive and groaning noises and spent hours in the toilet.  The Gozo Cat Detectives were very worried about her, but what could they do?  Ziggy selflessly suggested Lamb in a Delicate Gravy, Max advised a visit to the Pharmacy, Missy thought hospital corners in the bed-making department might alleviate the symptoms, and Astral Squeaks thought a good game of tag would build the patient up.  Whistler feared a vet might have to be called.

On the evening of Flu, Day 1, Missy noticed strange looking floppy bottles being carried upstairs.  She followed them and saw them being put into the patient’s bed.  She also observed that an extra duvet had been added to the bedding, which was now so deep that the patient could barely be seen though she could, sadly, still be heard coughing, heaving and snuffling.  Missy reported back on her findings and The Gozo Cat Detectives decided that a hint of warmth might be available to them if they played their cards right.  They crept up the stairs in Indian file and Whistler gave the bedroom door a tentative push.  It opened and they leapt on the bed as fast as they could.  Astral Squeaks was too small to leap, but she pulled herself up by hanging on to the duvet, which uttered a tearing sound in protest.  There was a muffled groan from the patient, almost like a cry for help, and then there was silence.  On investigation, the bed seemed to have two hot-spots, mysterious sources of heat the managed to penetrate through the divinely soft duvets and radiate across their surface.  It was a mystery soon solved.

“Hot water bottles,” said Whistler.  “On no account sink your claws into them or we’ll get very wet and possibly scalded”.

The Gozo Cat Detectives settled down carefully to a warm night’s sleep, interrupted occasionally by sounds of suffering from beneath the duvet.  They were comforted in knowing that they were helping by adding to general warmth and companionship.

They were right.

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