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Ever since the weather turned cold, our orange tabby cat, Nigel, has spent the evenings curled up in a box that didn’t make it into the recycling after Christmas, in front of our faux (you know, the kind with molded concrete logs) fireplace. We keep joking that we should get a giant spatula and flip him over; he’s already a nice golden brown on one side.

This cat – he’s actually a free-loading bum wearing a furry striped suit whose tender paws haven’t ever touched anything rougher than freshly-vacuumed carpet – definitely landed in a good spot when the Rustad Family choose him over his siblings to bring into the house. We are constantly pondering why we have this useless creature that does nothing except consume expensive “ProActive Health Adult Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Food for Active Cats” – active cats, there’s an oxymoron – and then in turn, produces poop for us to scoop.

I guess a bazillion views of cat videos on the internet can’t be wrong; we have him because he entertains us even when he’s not doing anything but being a cat.

We never miss an opportunity to remind Nigel – as if he cares – that life could have turned out very differently for him. Every day on our way home we drive past by a field that is home to a group of at least eight cats. Life isn’t so easy for these kitties; while Nigel is literally warming his toes by the fireplace, these cats are freezing their little feline butts off in some cat-igloos that a sweet lady has put on the property. This nice lady, who has also made sure that they are neutered and spayed, also drives over to feed them every day. So now, if we stop in front of the field, they all run over to see if we’re the Kitty Meals on Wheels delivery for them.

Thinking about the life of the field cats versus Nigel’s can get pretty deep pretty quickly. Nigel was born into poverty – abandoned by his mother in a cold garage in Petaluma. Through some fortunate circumstances, when he was a kitten, he was plucked from what was certain to a hardscrabble life foraging for mice and scraps. He escaped his destiny of being like the cats in our neighboring field (or Kitties of the Corn as we have come to call them) to come live like a king in our house.

Stop me!! I’m talking about cats that given the chance would just as soon eat us as sit with us…not Jean Valjean. Cat philosophy; it’s a thin book.

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