If you spend much time at Tabby’s Place, you’ll learn to have an eye for something quite essential: the best interest of the cat.
By “the cat,” I mean the individual cat; and, I’m learning, “best interest” is by no means one-size-fits-all.
In the vast majority of cases, our highest hope for each feline to dance through our door is a forever home, primarily (or, more typically, exclusively) indoors, with a person or family who adores her. And, really, the “being adored” part is non-negotiable in all cases. There’s no cat who doesn’t deserve that, no cat whose best interest isn’t served with love.
But, sometimes, “love” looks different than a warm lap, a catnip toy and a bowl of canned food.
And so it is for Phoebe and Marischka.
Now, Marischka and Phoebe are not the first cats to arrive at Tabby’s Place trembling, terrified, and frankly appalled by these icky humans who keep touching them. We have a long, happy history of educating cats in the fine art of trusting human beans - and even enjoying snuggles. Legendary cuddle-bunnies Vinny and Peepers, for instance, each came to Tabby’s Place as scared as a gerbil in a playpen of screaming toddlers (and more than a little scar-y in their aggression towards us). Many the so-called “feral” has become, if not a cuddle-bug, at least a connoisseur of cushy indoor life and love.
But once in a very great while, there comes a cat or two whose heart just breaks each time she realizes she’s still inside, still stuck with these clunky talking beasts, still barred from the wild wood that sings her name. “True ferals,” the cats who must live outside to fully live, make up a teensy fraction of the feline world…but they must be respected, and loved, such as they are.
Loving Phoebe and Marischka, we’ve learned after months of getting to know them, means giving them the only lives they can love. Although their histories differ, with Phoebe coming to Tabby’s Place from the mean streets of Philadelphia, and Marischka from the mild streets of Flemington, NJ, their hearts are in the same place…outside. No amount of socializing, patience, treats and toys was going to convince our beautiful girls that the indoor, people-related life was in their best interest.
So, today, the girls resume the life they loved - but, this time, with a key difference. They return to the outdoors cherished, fed, belonging to someone who adores them (not to mention spayed, vaccinated, and far from the road). Tabby’s Place’s extraordinary veterinarian, Dr. C., added Marischka and Phoebe to her family of outdoor ferals today.
This is the brave life Phoebe and Marischka crave, with the safety and love that makes it truly in their best interest. As part of Team Dr. C., Phoebe and Marischka will know the outdoor life - and distance from humans - that makes them feel alive, but they’ll also have the food, shelter and devotion so essential to living loved.
Is this sort of life in most cats’ best interest? Not by a long shot.
But is it the life we need to give Marischka and Phoebe if we truly love them? Not a doubt in my mind.
Love is a messy thing. It looks different for different cats, and just when we think we’ve got it nailed down, it darts away like the laser beam our kitties can never quite catch. One thing is for sure: Phoebe and Marischka have a loved, even if unconventional, life ahead of them. I can’t wait to see the photos of them living it up in the wild wood they adore.