…Makin’ the Same Thing For Fifteen Years….

I'm putting peanut butter on bread, singing, "Makin' the same thing for fifteen years...." The Fluffy One pokes his head over the counter and asks, "What is it you have? Please, give some to me!" He looks adorable as he pats the peanut butter on the knife and asks, "The butter of peanuts? Is it like the brother's favorite creamy cheese?" He decides, "I don't want it! You can give it to the dog." The Puppy says, "But it's got cat germs." "It is fine!" The Fluffy One replies. I stand there watching them, licking the peanut butter off the knife.

If you had told me I’d still be making this comic fifteen years later, that I’d even still be alive to make this comic, that I would get way better than when I started…I’d have been weirded out that you knew where to find my comic. I mean, it’s not like the cool kids of webcomics embraced me or anything.

So it’s peanut butter time again, and I think we’ll keep doing this thing. Still have some stories to tell.

I guess this is as good a time as any to ask what kind of merchandise you’d want to see from me? What would you want to see on a shirt? Would I sell more than three copies of a book of these comics? Now’s your chance to talk to me, in case you didn’t realize you could all along. You have until June 1st.

Catching Up With The Fluffy One.

In the first panel: The Fluffy One is wrapped in a towel, complaining to The Puppy that the medicine is making him live. The Puppy says, "Ya, that's good." In the second panel: The Fluffy One is eating and telling The Puppy, "I cannot believe there are more of me!" The Puppy rolls her eyes and says, "Ya, cats." The Fluffy One says, "Fascinating!" In the third panel: The Fluffy One is standing at the door, asking Babycat if she likes birdeens. Babycat asks him, "Does your mom know you're out here?"

The weeks are speeding by, thankfully The Fluffy One is eating again and doesn’t even have to be a purrito for medicine. He discovered the porch cats one day, and looked from one to the other and then through the railing like, “where are the others?” I washed his paws as soon as soon as I got him back in the door, and then he ate his dinner like he hadn’t eaten in ages. As if seeing another cat reminded him to eat before someone else eats his fud. The Puppy eats his food all the time, so I’m not sure why he needed to see cats, but man did that put ideas in my head.

Two-Star Reviews

The Puppy approaches The Fluffy One. "Oh hey, how are you?" she asks. The Fluffy One is in loaf form on the grass. "Meh, I have ceased the eating of food," he tells her. She lays down near him and says, "Ya, I don't wanna eat either. Food just isn't the same without bro licking it. You should go to my doctor!" The Fluffy One replies, "My bro did that, it did not work." The Puppy says, "No, I mean the one who cares about animals, not the one who told me I'm gonna die 'cause I'm big." The Fluffy One digs his claws into the ground and says, "This is not helping!"

Oh, could I tell you some stories, but they would make you mad, and that’s not what this place is for.

You would think there’d be more vets in the Bronx, NY, though. There’s only one with a two-star Yelp review and one with a three-star Yelp review nearby. All the others are more than an hour’s drive away. There are a few empty professional buildings with parking all along the road from my house to the nearest Rite-Aid. If this were a Sims game, I’d put some damn 5-star vets up in those buildings.

The Bright Side

The Slinky One continues his message. "Okay, I'll see you when I see you. You're all gonna die and I'll have slept on all the good stuff first." Four hours, twenty-four minutes, and three seconds into his video, he announces that he's now gonna sing some songs. In the third panel, we're all watching The Slinky One on the computer, singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

I have to admit one month later, I can’t find the bright side of losing my Slinky Son, but I started this year listening to Eric Idle’s audiobook Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life: A Sortabiography. I credit the Pythons for keeping me alive until black cats came into my life, and for the first week of 2019, one spent some time in my ears on those cold mornings when I was horribly aware of what was coming. Did I do my Slinky son justice? Only here in the comic. Would this be what he’d do? Obviously I think this is what he’d do. He was always singing, and sang this more than once over the years. Hell, I want this song played at my funeral.

Coping Tools.

I stand next to the portrait of The Slinky One, holding his favorite toy. I explain that it's called a Kitty Can't Cope Sack and that he said he took away all his woes. The Puppy says, "Oh yeah, I remember that thing! It doesn't do anything for me." the butterflies say, "Nip is good!" The Fluffy One says, "It is only magical for the cats." In the third panel, I take a lick of the catnip toy.

The Kitty Can’t Cope Sacks had to have some high-grade magical nip in them, he would lick them all night, sometimes while lying on my head. The sound of his spiky tongue dragging on the nip was the best way to go to sleep. If I had a white noise machine, I’d put the recording I have of his late-night SCRAPE SCRAPE SCRAPE in there and be happy forever.

 

This is the Cat I’ve Been Telling You About.

As The Slinky One sleeps, The Woman (the Ninja Twins border collie mix sister) says, "This is the cat I was telling you about." m'Man says, "Whoo! Whatta babe!" The Slinky One looks up, all his whiskers and vision restored, and says, "Buongiorno! What took you so long?" The Woman wags her tail and says, "Hello my bro! Let's go chase some squirrels." m'Man adds, "Hullo, bebbe!" The Slinky One walks off with The Woman and m'Man, asking, "Can we get some ice cream?" The Woman tells him the squirrels are made of ice cream. "Okay, that's kinda weird," The Slinky One replies. "Ya ya, the birdeens are made of fish!" m'Man adds.

This comic strip exists as a love letter to my cats and dogs, and so I owe it to them to keep telling the story, while keeping it as bearable as possible for you all to read. I haven’t wanted to get into my Slinky son’s health beyond what I’ve been sharing, because I have no life-saving advice for anyone, beyond adopt cats and love every minute you have with them. That’s the moral of the whole comic, really. Despite being in perfect health, cancer somehow got to him. He did not smoke, he rarely ate junk food, and was a fitness enthusiast, running miles every day of his near-sixteen years. He leads the way for me all the time, and now is no different.

He was able to enjoy ice cream and walks in the sun right to the end, and he was–and still is–so very loved. That’s all anyone can hope for, isn’t it?

I came up with all the comics you’ll be reading over the next few weeks while walking around with him, while he was still here, aware there’s really only one way out for all of us, but still happy he was with us. If you’ve been reading this comic from the beginning you know no one’s ever really gone, and I’m going to keep it as funny as all this can be because I personally hate those comic strips where the characters get old and die, don’t you?

I wanted to share some photos of him with his bro and his dog sisters, because nothing heals like a load of cat photos. Down at the end is a classic video of him in action with his bro and The Puppy.

A black kitten pokes his head out of a large cat bed.

My son loved all the cat beds.

A black kitten pounces right on the camera.

My son was a huge fan of Wolverine.

A silly woman holds two black kittens up to her face. One is in mid-meow.

Here I am huffing the Ninja Twins in 2003. The Fluffy One is voicing his concern and The Slinky One just wants to get back to running up and down the stairs.

A svelte black kitten stands at an open window, looking up at birds in a tree.

My Slinky Son was a fan of open windows and all the good stuff he could see through them. Birds, okay? Birds.

A black kitten stretches out in the grass, looking wild-eyed and ready to pounce on the dog behind him.

Here is a weird shot of The Woman creeping around behind The Slinky One, who is in full Ninja mode, blending into the grass.

A black cat stretches out on a radiator.

I told you he liked lying on radiators, didn’t I?

A black cat is stretched out on his back, sunning his underbits.

My Slinky Son was a laid-back little dude.

Two black cats stretch in the grass in identical poses.

When I get a tattoo, it’s going to be them like this. My yin-yang. The Ninja Twins.

A black cat sits in a frying pan on a table.

Taking “If I fits, I sits,” to a new level, my Slinky son checked out mum’s cookware.

A black cat sits on a rock which is painted like a turtle in front of the yellow blossoms of a forsythia.

My Slinky son in his natural habitat, soaking up the solar powers of spring.

A black cat looking debonair.

Look at my sexy son.

A black cat wearing a tie walks in a backyard.

My Slinky son loved to dress up and his business attire was something he was very proud of.

A silly woman wearing a paper printout of fire on her head holds a cat dressed like a fireman.

While my Slinky son enjoyed dressing like a fireman, he wasn’t sure about my cheap costume of fire. Still, he humored me.

A black cat wears a paper printout of a Pop-Tart and rainbow, like Nyan Cat.

Yes, he was totally fine with this.

The Slinky One and his guide Puppy, chilling in the kitchen, where my Mum was cutting up some chicken for them.

Two black cats, with their tails crossed, sit on the back of a couch looking out a window.

My sons, the Ninja Twins, holding tails and looking at the world, together.

Why are you still reading? Go watch that video! Go!