As Chance (or Yoda) would be happy to tell you, when 80,000 years old you are, care what people say you don’t.
It’s less expected to find such wisdom from younger sages…much younger sages. Unless those sages happen to be Miley and Millie and Arugula and Endive.
Yes, you did hear me right: we have sages/kittens named for random garden greens and stars of some Disney show that was fairly popular (Laurie Missouri or something like that ;-)).
We have an unwritten rule at Tabby’s Place: mamas get to name kittens. In the Tabby’s Place canon, 2 Chronicles would read something like, “A mama cat begat a mama cat, who begat a mama cat, who begat a span of kittens; verily they were separated from her, and henceforth came to Tabby’s Place, whence they were fostered by Ginny the Great, who hath begotten them by love.” (That’s Olde Catt Translation for you.)
And so, in begetting fostering these two teeny-tinies, Ginny earned the privilege of naming them. Hello, world - meet 4-week-old Miley and Millie.
They’re infinitely gentler and they don’t roar, but otherwise these mini-muffins would make old Chance proud. They are completely and utterly unconcerned with anyone’s opinion. It’s good to be Miley and Millie, and they are living up every moment in their own messy way.
Did I say messy? Let’s be real here. Make that filthy. Picture Pigpen from Peanuts. He’s a sparkling paragon of pearly purity next to these piglets.
This is no reflection on their superb foster mama. Patient-as-Job Ginny keeps them clean, gently washing those tiny faces and lightly blow-drying their fur…only to have M & M dive back into their food, then litter, the minute mama’s back is turned. Being caked in food, then rolled in a crust of litter, gives kittens a certain “breaded” effect - and, on this count, Miley and Millie out-bread Baguette and company.
Getting two new kittens - on top of our three wonder breads and a solo baby named Zumba - is cause for excitement. But what if I told you that they were only the tip of the iceberg…and that this iceberg is made entirely of kittens? (I apologize for the fact that this image will now forever exist in your head.)
There must have been a bumper crop in the cabbage patch this year, because the harvest has been…insane. Miley and Millie were quickly followed by Arugula and Endive, named and fostered by uber-mom Danielle. All four kittens came up at Monday’s veterinary debriefing. As you might imagine, these are extremely sober-minded, grave and serious meetings at Tabby’s Place. Accordingly, a main topic was the debate: which kittens are the messiest eaters at Tabby’s Place? (Serious stuff, I tell you. Not everyone can handle this kind of drama.) Miley and Millie were the winners…but it was thisclose.
That makes eight wonders of the kitten world. But before we could decide that eight was enough, along came the next batch of babies: Chianti, Shiraz, Malbec and Cabernet. This tipsy tetrad is being fostered casa Kelly, and they bring the total to twelve.
Raise your hand if you don’t think we’re done yet. Gold star for you!
The final batch of kittens came bearing bittersweetness. First was microscopic Ripple. With his umbilical cord still attached, Ripple was less than 24 hours old when he came to Tabby’s Place. Despite Denise’s heroic efforts, all the way up to CPR, this smidgen was not meant to endure. And so, surrounded by love on his first and last day in this world, Ripple left us.
The kitten sorrow and the kitten joy were not yet through. On Sunday, the final pair arrived, a brother-sister tabby team that Danielle named Sesame and Tahini. Sesame, the boy, thrived…but little sister Tahini soon joined Ripple in the junior heavenly choir.
It’s just too soon. There’s nothing “right” or “okay” or - my least favorite term - “natural” about one so young being snuffed out so suddenly. I’m of the belief that, as angry as we are over a baby’s passing, God is infinitely more anguished. I will always remember my comfort at learning, back in my seminary days, that the original Greek in the shortest verse of the Bible - “Jesus wept” - actually means that Jesus was deeply, down-to-His-core angry. Why? Because Lazarus was dead…and there was nothing right or okay about it.
Death is an enemy - the last enemy, so it’s said. Why, then, is death allowed to steal? We don’t know, can’t know. But death will be defeated. Ripple and Tahini - and Pitzel and Grady and Larry and all the rest - will live fully and forever.
In the meantime, we’ll deal partial death-blows to death with our love. Death groaned a bit when it found Tahini embraced and adored in her final moments. Death yelled “OOF!” when Denise put her mouth to Ripple’s tiny face to offer life-giving breath.
Death can’t ultimately have them, because life wins.
Clean, messy, young or old, that’s a promise for all of us.
And, if you’ve been keeping count, that’s a grand total of thirteen kittens at Tabby’s Place right now. Sounds lucky to me.