kiss and cuddle your animal friends around you. they are the best, and you know it, but it’s easy to take them for granted sometimes. i know i do all the time. but not right now.

my first cat was named spunky – a big head with a little kitten body attached to it. his hair stood up all the time, like he’d just stuck his paw in a socket. he died very young and suddenly – i remember crying in the workshop as he slowly stopped breathing. then came pepper, my beautiful blank panther that i used to hoist onto my shoulders, pretending i was some pirate or animal charmer. she died alone, at the age of thirteen, one cold snowy night while i was in far-away l.a. then, not too long ago, though already over five years have passed, i had four cats – fleas, who was a total superhero of a cat indeed, and mamacat with her two kittens, mellow and trouble. a little after a year – with me often waking up and all four bodies snuggled on my own; and many a night barricading sleeping human toes from kitten teeth and pouncing claws with pillows; and even better, being spooked awake at three a.m. when all cats, i believe, go a little crazed, running around like mad happy demons, careening off walls – fleas went missing, and a handful of weeks later, mellow died.

..and now my heart has broken again, all the worse due partially to former breaks, for a young cat who i love. she was beautiful, a total sweetie, strong and fierce in everything she did – playing, eating, talking, you name it. and with an ability to love that made me laugh in delight and awe every time. i still really can’t believe she’s gone. it just seems impossible.

i don’t know whether to post this. ..and instead of hugs or nice words sent to me, just please hug and kiss your cats and dogs, ok. thanks. i’m going to hang out with my trouble and mamacat, who these last few days have been so serious and sweet with their glances.

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