Pepper and Susan and I met Jigsaw on Super Bowl Sunday of 2004. Pepper, (left) was four years old, had been with me since August of 2001 and reigned as king of the one-bedroom apartment I lived in when I first moved to Silver Lake. Jiggy was about eight weeks of age when I went to investigate his desperate caterwauling coming from the building’s garage only to be surprised to find him scrambling out  from beneath the car under which he sat and literally jumping into arms to take advantage of the opportunity to have a home.

Pepper was not at all happy with the competition and in an infamously sinister episode very early on in their relationship was almost successful in choking the kitten to death right next to me on the sofa upon which I sat. Seriously, Jiggy was half-passed out with Pepper’s jaws clamped on his neck and constricting his airway. Like a cheetah with a gazelle. Domesticated, my ass.

During those first few weeks Pepper took every opportunity to attack and/or terrorize poor Jiggy.  Terrified of coming home and finding him dead I kept them separated whenever I was away; Jiggy in the bedroom and Pepper in the livingroom with separate food and water and litter boxes. When I was at home I opened the bedroom door. There’d be skirmishes, but with less frequency.  If it got too quiet though I’d freak and make sure Pepper wasn’t administering a killing bite. Eventually Jiggy got big and bold enough not to put up with Pep’s bullying bullshit, and Pepper chilled out. But to this day, whenever I find them like I did this morning snuggled up together on the chippendale, I flash back to a time seven Februaries ago when I never thought there’d be a chance in hell that they’d ever become such close friends. Family even.