Although we have zero non-awesome cats, there are more varieties of awesome than there are flavors of ramen (which is also rather awesome…but I digress). Some awesome cats sparkle, some shimmer…and one opalesces.
Yes, this is a play on Opal’s name. But, much more than that, it’s a reflection of her spectacular nature.
Diamonds may glisten, and emeralds may beckon from the rough, but an opal has a way of catching the light just so. From one moment to the next, it can go from looking like a bland rock to a miracle from outer space. Opals are somehow both fragile and magical, otherworldly yet reflective of what’s best in this world.
So it is with our Opal.
The fragile side is undeniably the first facet Opal shows you. Approach the girl with the beautiful face too quickly, and she’ll flatten her ears, scooch away, and bolt at her first opportunity.
But to give up at that point is to miss the beauty.
Tireless socialization volunteers have found - and allowed all of us, increasingly, to find - the deeper truth of our Opal. This timid lovie wants to be loved…and she’s got far more courage than meets the eye.
I once heard a wonderful description of what happens to each of us in tough times. Like a tube of toothpaste between firm fingers, we’re squeezed by life’s circumstances. Just like that tube, we prove what’s inside of us by what gets squeezed out.
By all accounts, this winter was one long “tough circumstance” in Ringoes. With record amounts of snow and howling winds for 800,000 years several months, we began to wonder if we’d suddenly been beamed to Antarctica. The merciless weather dampened the mood out in our cats’ solaria - or, more accurately, it ended all moods in the solaria. Most of our cats have zero interest in wild winds, paw-tingling temperatures and, most of all, mountains of snow.
But most of our cats aren’t Opal.
Who could have guessed that the tiny girl with the wary green eyes would be first into the solarium after a record snowfall? Who would have dreamed that Opal - Opal! - would plunge directly into the snow, an intrepid trailblazer set on discovering the world for herself while the other cats merely observed?
Who knows what courage glistens in seemingly-timid hearts?
Happily, it’s not just snow that brings out Opal’s best side. More and more, Opal is letting us love her every side.
While, once, she lived a squished existence between the top of the suite ramp and the ever-handy solarium tube, today Opal dares to dwell out in the open, surrounded by cats and daringly reachable by human beans. Approach with enough gentleness and deliberation, and you can pet the gentle girl with the watchful gaze.
Obviously Opal isn’t a gem for every setting. A home with 3 toddlers, 4 Newfoundlands and 8 hissing cockroaches is probably not the perfect fit for this delicate Opal.
But the right human bean(s), with the right kind of patient courage, will find in our girl something much greater than an heirloom.
Here’s hoping they’ll bring in a bucket of snow for her enjoyment every winter.