What a tangled web Charlotte weaves.
From name-changing to suite-hopping to hitching the fast track to unexpected adoption, she’s been an ongoing enigma.
When Charlotte made her debut at Tabby’s Place around a year ago, she immediately joined the Witness Protection Program. Along with BFF Opal, she came with one of those names that just had to change. The pair arrived as ”Rancho and Duncan,” and early conversations always went the same way:
“Which one’s the boy?”
“Duncan. Which one’s the boy, Duncan?”
“Oh…they’re both female.”
“Duncan is a girl?”
So Duncan quickly became a Charlotte, and Rancho an Opal.
What neither one became was snuggly - not right away, anyhow. In the early days, brave Ginny was the only one who could touch Charlotte…and then only by wrapping our grey girl in a towel, purrito-style, and petting her with a safely-gloved hand. (What she lacked in “people skills” and size, Charlotte easily made up for in teeth and claws.)
As we worked to figure out the best suite for Charlotte, her BFF Opal was always two steps ahead in terms of socialization. Long before I could make eye contact with Char without sending her skittering in terror, I could pet Opal (and even convince myself she was enjoying it).
But Charlotte was anything but behind schedule. With great intention, our funny-faced girl simply meant to move in her own way…and she didn’t miss much anything.
I guess it’s only fitting that a member of the Catness Protection Program should become a keen observer. While most cats are pretty sharp, Charlotte’s darting golden gaze was exceptionally alert. If a human was approaching, Charlotte knew (and took cover). If dust blew across the suite floor, Charlotte wouldn’t miss it. If a tree falls in the forest, Charlotte hears it…even if that forest is in Zanzibar. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Ask Charlotte.
Still, for all her powers of observation, it seemed Charlotte couldn’t - or wouldn’t - see that human affection could be beautiful. Try as we might, we couldn’t muster the evidence it would take to convince Char that human beans = loving.
We couldn’t…but Mrs. Charlotte could.
It was one of those moments that made me want to holler, “Well paint me green and call me Gumby!” (You have those moments, too, right?) The instant Danielle was off the phone, I squealed, “Charlotte????!!!!!”
“Charlotte,” Danielle nodded, incredulous. For a good week or so, we were all incapable of saying the cat’s name without audible italics.
Apparently Charlotte’s meant-to-be mama had visited the previous weekend…and encountered a very different Charlotte from the girl we knew. Charlotte had the love and trust inside of her all along. She was just saving it for the right person.
And that “right person” is quite a remarkable human bean indeed. Mrs. Charlotte has been a member of our Tabby’s Place family for quite some time, having accepted the luminous Li’l Bea (who sadly passed this April) and sponsored our firecracker Lilly for years. If Charlotte was determined to choose one and only one human bean to trust in this world, she made an exceptional choice.
Charlotte, we’ll never quite unravel your web of mystery. But we dance to the joy of your being loved and chosen for exactly the enigma you are.