At Least There’s a Parking Lot

m'Man, Grand Funk, The Woman, and The Slinky One are staring at something. m'Man looks pissed. Grand Funk asks, "Why'd she bring that baby cat in there?" "I hate that place," The Woman says. "I guess she's giving someone else a chance to kill her pets!" The Slinky One says cheerily. As the others look on, m'Man goes up to the door of the vet's office and shouts, "Little cat, get outta there!" Grand Funk says "Why, why, why, why...." In the third panel, The Slinky One says, "Well, at least they got a parking lot!"

Mondays, am I right?

Vaccinations and all the things that have to be done to cats to keep them healthy and alive for as long as possible SO WE THINK even though you’re looking at four possible combinations of how it doesn’t matter and everyone ends up the same and do I have anxiety about taking the cats out of the house in a carrier and a car for strangers to poke them and possibly lose them? What makes you ask that?

The Most Intense Staring Contest.

The Slinky One is sitting with a parrot on his shoulder. "Well hello!" he says, "My cousin would like to challenge you to a staring contest!" 332 hours later, The Woman and Cousin Bird are still staring at each other. Cousin Bird has crazy eyes. "Okay, this is intense!" The Slinky One says, hunkered down under them. Walking away toward someone with wavy hair, The Slinky One says, "Okay, you have fun, I'm gonna check out this blonde!"

My cousin bird was a champion at doing freaky stuff with her eyes, and I’m honestly not sure who would win in a staring contest between her and The Woman but I know it would be a thing to see.

Shoutout to the little bird that kept me company on July 4, too. The Slinky One used to assist me with my fireworks photos, but this year it was that little one. Birds rule.

Can’t Talk. Mesmerized.

The Slinky One tells the squirrel he'll take him to the trees. The squirrel can't talk, mesmerized, he says. The Woman is herding cows, calling them last week's shoes and hamburgers. "Line up!" she tells them. "That's my sister!" The Slinky One tells the squirrel. "Hi, my cat! I have ten jobs and the new girl is catching up with her kids. How's it going?" "You gotta show my friend the trees," The Slinky One tells her.

Is this the heaven for border collies? Herding cows and squirrels? Do cows get rewarded for being your burger by still needing to be herded? What about squirrels, I would think heaven for squirrels involves a lot of nuts. I guess technically that’s what’s happened.

Shoutout to my bestie’s German Shepherd Krikkit, who better be running free in the sun with her kids and sleeping on all the pillows.

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!

Actual events that happened.

If only I could write to her and she could reply.

This year they’re calling today “A Day Without A Woman.” I’ve gone 4018 days without THE Woman, proving that Border Collies are not only serious about their jobs, they sure know how to pick a day. Re-reading the e-mails I sent about Puppy training, however, show that the Puppy knew way more about how to be a Puppy than I did and I should have been staying off the Internet. I miss The Woman, but The Puppy has turned into a hell of a dog. I would have loved to see all the dogs I even had in action together, even if that action involved me being mauled by the cuteness.

(tl;dr: I schedule my comics, so have a good day without a woman. You’re all supposed to miss me terribly and embrace women’s rights now.)