Cloud 9 Portraits


Honored Cat : Nelson S. 9/14/04 – 3/4/19

Rescued from Portland Community College as a kitten of about 4 weeks, I was given a phone call by my mother that a young women in Southeast Portland named Angela had a yellow tabby kitten to be rescued and adopted. 

My girlfriend at the time, Lisa, and I went to the trailer park home of a beautiful friendly young lady who greeted us at the door, allowed us in, and walked over to the kennel cage placed on her kitchen table.

When I approached, a lovely little confused kitten with a faint trail of white cream layering on the tail, capped off by a posh of white at the end.

Little Nelson

Lisa held the kitten and I stroked him with gentle care and amazement. I never would have thought we would be together for more than fourteen years  

After a brief conversation we left and decided to name him Nelson.

Nelson was the only pet of the household for the first nine years of his life.  He enjoyed the role and the attention.  Too often as I look back, he did spend many quiet hours alone. I was in my mid thirties and very active.  I wish sometimes I could have had more meaningful moments with him, but hindsight is always 20/20.  Nevertheless, Nelson was a mischief and a loner. 

In July of 2009, I moved into my current apartment home and Nelson transitioned nicely.

He curiously would open cabinets, jump on counter tops, or watch running water in the bathroom sink.

Nelson was an explorer, pioneer, and recluse during our first nine years together. Eventually, he would explore outside the apartment under supervision.

In 2013, my mother gave us her eleven year old chubby, darker toned yellow tabby named Bo Bo.

His name was originally Applesauce. “Bo” was the prototypical lethargic, overweight lap cat. He loved to snuggle. Nelson and him hit it off from the start as best buddies.

Nelson being alone for so many years really took a liking to Bo and they palled around consistently, giving each other loving licked baths and sleeping closely together.

Bo and Nelson

It was a special experience for the both of them and for me. On October 3, 2016 at the age of 14, I had to make the difficult decision to euthanize Bo after substantial weight loss and fever.

I explained to Nelson that his friend would have to visit the other side.  Nelson was saddened and depressed looking back now and really took it hard.  Nelson went back to being the only cat again and even though I was working from home and loving him, he missed his pal.

On May 8, 2017, I was at the veterinary where Bo was retired and saw a black and white tuxedo cat sleeping by herself in a small room with a plexus glass window.  I asked about her and was told her name was Xena and she was 17 years old and left by her previous owners who moved to Hawaii. 

At first I was reluctant because of her age and the medical costs that might ensue. I left, not even had met Xena, since she was curled asleep.

That evening I sensed that I could not leave her there abandoned in the twilight years of her life. I thought perhaps that Nelson could enjoy the pleasure of another companion, better still, a female.

The next morning, I went back and adopted the tuxedo I named Chicklet because of her small size and a perfectly placed black birth marking on her back right white heel that resembled a Chicklet bubble gum (small, and lasting).

Nelson was not as thrilled as he was with Bo at first, and Chicklet still had a lot of sassiness and attitude for her age.  Remarkably, they never fought, just teased each other and co-existed well.  I still have very fond memories of the two.  

Nelson & Chicklet

Approaching Nelson’s 15 years, he was not eating and the time had come for him to depart this plane.

He was the first cat of my 12 that I actually had the courage to stay for the whole euthanizing process.

Nelson died in my arms and I felt the energy leave his body and at that exact moment knew that the life force never dies, it just transforms.

I felt the energy enter my body and I have never been the same man.

I learned the most valuable lesson of this life: Death implies Life and Life implies Death.

This is the cycle of Life and the transformation process and teaching we are all here to experience.

Nelson taught me this and I am forever grateful, saddened at times, but lucky to have had such an honorable friend.

As of this writing marked the two year anniversary of his transition and I cannot help to think that he and Bo are somewhere in this Universe playing like old buddies.

I smile now more than I cry about his departure because I was able to experience a short segment of my life with him. I give thanks to the Creator for making this possible. I give thanks that his destiny is secure.

Simple kindness to one’s self and all that lives is the most powerful transformational force of all. 

Dr. david r. hawkins