Erm…on second thought, be it known: I am full of well-meaning baloney.
Right now, if you walk into the Apartment bedroom at Tabby’s Place, you will find yourself awash in roughly 86,000 kittens. If you look down, you almost can’t see the floor for all the kittens swarming about. If you want to get to the other side of the room, you’ll need to ask God to part the kittens like the Red Sea, or else try to crowd-surf your way.
I’m not exaggerating. OK, I am. But just a little.
OK, a lot.
But still…there are a lot of kittens at Tabby’s Place right now. Supposedly kitten season ends as the warm weather ebbs, but our 972,000 18 kittens apparently did not get that memo.
With 43,000,000 18 kittens present, you can bet we have a wide variety. Orange kittens and black kittens and tabby kittens and grey kittens. Shy kittens and mad-as-a-hatter kittens and wooly kittens and sleek kittens.
Calendar-cute kittens and…well…funny-looking kittens.
There. I said it. There are funny-looking kittens. In fact, sometimes they even grow up to be funny-looking cats. Exhibit A: Babs. (More on her next week.)
But, before you storm the Bastille my office with flaming torches and pitchforks, I promise: I mean no harm in my use of “funny-looking.” I’ve been called funny-looking myself. In fact, back in 7th grade, my best guy friends drew an extremely “flattering” picture of me, with an arrow pointing at my slightly scandalously short jeans and saying “S.S. Highwater.” That became my nickname for years. Seventh-grade boys are awesome. And so are funny-looking people…and kittens.
With all of this said, I must confess: Miley was one of the funniest-looking kittens I think I’d ever seen. With a big Bubba belly and a perpetually food-smashed face, she always looked a little disheveled, a little wacky, a little…well, funny, in a purely-fantastic way. Her belly was the topic of many vet meetings. Was there food in there? (Yes, but not that much.) Worms? (Possibly; and so we kept treating her for ‘em.) Even tinier kittens? (No, Dr. C promised; 4-week-old kittens can not be pregnant. No, not even in a rare freak occurrence. No, Miley was not going to get on the cover of the National Enquirer next to Bat Boy and Nostradamus.)
But a funny thing happened on the way home. One day, suddenly it seemed, Miley was…a beauty. Lucille Ball-like in her quirky loveliness, in fact.
She’d always been adorable. She’d always been cute. She’d always been infinitely smooshable and mooshable. But overnight, she grew into her funniness and came to own it.
Not to say that Miley is no longer funny-looking. But, at the end of the day, we’re all a little funny looking. Miley has satellite-dish ears. Sesame is roughly 1/8 the size of a “normal” kitten his age. Bialy has a big, giant head. Tashi likes to put kittens’ entire heads in his mouth. I’m a klutzy failed ballerina with feet the size of skis and jeans about 4″ too short.
But for each of us, it comes down to claiming your power - your funny, awesomely individual power - and being exactly what you are. Or, as my fourth-grade teacher wrote in my 1990 yearbook: Don’t be what you isn’t; just be what you is. ‘Cause when you is what you isn’t, you isn’t what you is.
Miley is what she is, and what she is, is…glorious. With a now-wormless belly, wonderfully wavy fur and that infinitely mooshable face, she’s headed home, sweet forever home, with her buddy Malbec. If only we could all rock our funny-quirky-fantastic ways with such confidence and panache. Miley, I want to be more like you when I grow up.
And that’s two kittens down, 9,832,000,000 16 to go.