The Writing Assistant Snuggles Up

Hi. I insist that you call me Dudey. You could call me Duderbug, Dudiferous, or simply The Dude. But please, never call me by my fancy name: Kitomaru. That was just hopeful thinking on Mommy’s part. 

You see, I am part of a long line of grey cats. It’s a tradition that extends to naming. We’ve always been grey, but I kind of defy that because I am quite white also. It started ages ago, with the male cat Grandma had as a teenager, named Kitto. Then when Mommy was just three years old, she was given a similar-looking kitten—pure grey with subtle black stripes—named Ms. Kitto. It was a funny name, because it sounded like “mosquito.” Her job was to help with schoolwork by rubbing on pages and easing the stress of getting decent grades. She was so good a this, she lived a long, long time—until Mommy was grown up and in graduate school. 

After the lease was signed on Mommy’s first apartment, Kitta was the grey cat who moved in to claim it. She loved to play fetch, and even once caught a bird on the balcony! When she proudly delivered it inside, feathers flew everywhere before Mommy returned the bird to the great outdoors. Kitta was more aloof in the way she worked: she preferred to watch Mommy read manuscripts and scribble in her journal from a distance. But, she made it to the big city! There, she helped Mommy recover from long subway rides and two jobs: one at a publishing house and one in a bookstore. She liked it in New York so much she decided to stay. 

Mommy missed the mountains, so when she moved again she decided to get a balcony overlooking them. That was the first place she plonked me and my sister Kiteya, after we were adopted. I was really, really good at playing with my tail while balancing precariously on the railing. I didn’t mind that we were three stories above a parking lot. It never scared me, and I never fell. Maybe that’s why Mommy finally gave up on calling me Kitomaru. I am the totally chill, unfreakoutable dude. 

The thing you have to know about me is that I am a ferocious cuddler. I insist that I stay glued to Mommy. Usually, I’m either purring on her lap or yelling at her. I am, after all, a snowshoe breed with a lot of Siamese in me. So I talk. I have conversations, especially when I wake up after a nap. I can open all the cupboards in the house to creep inside. And I just love it when Mommy is writing. 

She writes on a chaise lounge, with a desk for the computer monitor extended over her legs. I snuggle up on the end of the chaise, under the desk, in a wonderful cave. It’s perfect for napping the day away while words and stories swirl in Mommy’s head nearby. I sometimes snore. She says it’s a soothing sound.

While some claim that I’m now quite an old man, no one can tell. Aside from needing to be brushed more often and my stinky breath, I still vault onto countertops and fend off dogs that are much bigger than me. They know I’m top dude around here.  

My plan is to continue spending 85 percent of every 24-hour day snuggled up to Mommy. I help her dream up stories at night, give characters voices in the early mornings, and offer feedback to other writers during the day. I make suggestions while she cooks. And curl up with her to increase the comfort of TV shows, movies, and football games.

After all, it’s my job to snuggle up. 

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