Emperor Kuno of Germania ascended the throne in 972, when he was just 9 years old. The empire itself was only 12 years old, but he was already its third emperor. This was a setup ripe for instability.
Immediately, Kuno had problems. His vassals wanted to make his cousin Bertha empress, and declared war to make it happen. He was vastly outnumbered. Another group of vassals declared war for independence from the empire entirely.
The only solace Kuno found during this time was in his cat, Mite.
Now Mite could be a mischievous creature. But he always returned affection in kind, bringing Kuno gifts, clearing the castle of rats (a very valuable contribution, it turned out: the German court was plague-free during Kuno's reign.)
Affection was what Kuno needed most. He had a human friend, but that friend had a very low opinion of him. He had a crush, but she also disliked him.
Another child singled him out for bullying.
Only Mite was there for him, purring and uncovering his vassals' secrets.
As a child ruler, Kuno was powerless to do much about the wars that hemmed him from all sides. He had little choice but to let the armies of his vassals lay siege to his holdings one by one. The only thing that kept him from a swift end was that the armies of the two factions crossed each other frequently, and often clashed on the battlefield.
The years of civil war dragged on, until Kuno came of age at 16. He married his betrothed, Muadhnait, a princess of Alba, and then he set about trying to salvage what he could of the young empire.
He launched a plot to kill his cousin Bertha, in hopes of bringing that particular rebellion to an end, but without success.
Next, he began to slowly accumulate enough money in his coffers to create some new titles. This was important, because if he lost the empire (and that was looking increasingly likely) the only other title he held was the county of Regensburg. He would go from emperor to count, and it was unlikely that he'd hold on to that title for long. Like his great-great-grandfather Karlmann before him, Kuno was pragmatic in his fatalism. He created a duchy for himself, and then the very kingdom of East Frankia that his grandfather had destroyed in order to keep his lands together.
Things were looking, well, not up, exactly, but at least Kuno was not going to go without a fight.
And then, one day, his wife came to him, red-eyed and sniffling, with a request:
"Kuno, this cat has to go!"
For Emperor Kuno this was no choice at all: he might be forced to give up his lands, he might be forced to give up his title, he might even be forced to give up his wife, but he was never going to give up his cat.