The last of my three elderly cats died on New Year's Eve. My visiting friends, Marjorie and Michael, helped me deal with her. The ground was too cold to dig, so we took her frail little body into the woods and laid her out on the snow as a sort of sky burial. I returned to my cold, cat-less apartment.
Over the next few days I cleaned and packed up the bowls and litter boxes. I replaced the urine-stained futon mattress. For the next few months, I lived the crazy cat-free lifestyle. I slept past feeding time. I took spur of the moment road trips and vacuumed half as often. However my lap was empty.
Sometime in April I discovered a clump of orange fluff stuck to the skirt of my bed. I pulled it off, considered this to be the last evidence that I had ever had an orange cat and, after a few minutes, I put it back.
A week later, Marjorie and Michael visited again. When I told them the story they exchanged a look. When Marjorie found I still had the care instructions for the cats taped to the fridge, they said it was time to get a kitten. Marjorie looked up local shelters and we ended up driving to the city pound, which was inundated with kittens. We played with tuxedo cats, marmalade tabbies and sweet faced calicos. Then I spotted her, a gray tabby desperately reaching through the bars of her cage for me to take her out and cuddle her. She looked like a little cloud. Even better, she had a brother, an adorable silver and black tiger.
I took them home. I named her Nimbus and him Cumulus. They made my home warm again. I took out the bowls and letterboxes and said goodbye to sleeping in. They clawed my new button, knocked over my plants and they played with everything. They slept purring in my lap and brought joy back into my life.
Editor: Marjorie Skiba
Colorist: Rick Hughes
About the Colorist: Rick lives in Arizona with his family, including an adorable little poodle that they rescued from a shelter in South Korea. His biggest hobby is working on his beautifully colored webcomic Winter Suns.
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