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It was a year ago today that I realized something was amiss with Tristan, a year ago tomorrow that I had to have him put down, and a year ago Saturday that I said goodbye to his adopted brother Percival. A year ago, no one at my house was smiling much.

And while I don’t literally believe the following statement to be true, I can’t help but sometimes think Cambria understands this at some level. How else to explain his timing? Because, for the first time ever he crawled beside me in bed a few mornings ago, snuggled up between my torso and my arm, laid his paw and chin on me, and purred with vibratory gusto.

It was marvelous. Simon awoke during this, climbed into bed with me, and asked for a back-rub. I declined so as not to disturb the cat. My arm started to go to sleep but I dared not shift, lest I disturb the cat. I started to get hot—fur is warm!—but sweated it out until he decided to move on.

Cambria loves me, but he’s not a snuggler. He follows me around the house, sleeps at the foot of the bed on my side, and otherwise keeps me company during waking and sleeping hours, but he’s not the lap cat Percival was or one to demand cheek rubs like Tristan did. In some respects, this is kind of a nice change of pace; he’s certainly the lowest maintenance feline I’ve lived with as an adult.

I love him, too, and have not expected or tried to shape his behavior to match my other boys. I laugh that he shares Percy’s bad habit of biting me for attention, and I am frankly relieved that he doesn’t share Tristan’s bad habit of enthusiastic furniture scratching (It’s safe to recover our barrel chair now.). And if I’m really honest with myself, I’m kind of flattered that he’s more of a one-woman cat that Percy or Tristan were. He likes Matt and Simon just fine, but I’m his main squeeze. As I think I’m the one who needed him the most, that seems fair enough.

So who knows if he’ll ever snuggle up like that again or what possessed him to give it a go in the first place? I’m without a clue. But I’m grateful from the bottom of my heart that he did, because it was nice to revisit that specific form of feline affection at a time I am acutely reminded of its absence.

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