The following events take place between 10:30 am Saturday and 1:30 pm Tuesday.
Consider this the Tabby’s Place version of an episode of 24…except, instead of Kiefer Sutherland and civilization-threatening threats, it’s 100 cats and a really epic power outage.
10:30 am, Saturday, October 29th: Snow falls lightly like merciless frozen cinder blocks across New Jersey. Cats and human beans attempt to reason with snow, remind snow that it’s October and that this does not constitute fair play. Snow responds that it has gone rogue and decided winter is not enough for its evil empire.
10:32 am: Snow goes too far, knocks out electricity in Ringoes…including Tabby’s Place. Humans cannot make coffee or flush toilets. Cats do not care.
2:30 pm: Humans realize that no electricity = no water = no washing litter boxes. Time to bust out the foil casserole pans (perfect for making ziti…or containing poopage). Cats do not care.
4:26 pm: Repeated calls to the power company go unanswered. Humans begin to suspect that power company is in league with snow. Cats do not care.
5:41 pm: Tashi chooses this moment to have explosive diarrhea across almost every surface of the Community Room, then romp through it gleefully. Conga and Katrina have epic battle in Suite C. Humans begin to suspect that cats are in league with both power company and snow.
6:15 pm: Cold and dark set in. Humans move the three smallest kittens - Edna, Paisley and Oneida - to the lobby, which is the warmest part of the building. Cats do not care.
7:45 am, Sunday, October 30th: Geoff breaks from the other 99 cats and decides it’s time to care. Namely, Geoff cares that there are now kittens in the lobby. Geoff does not care for kittens, and proceeds to spew the feline equivalent of very foul language while prancing around the lobby, remaining at least 2′ from kittens at all times (fearing cooties). Kittens most definitely do not care.
9:00 am: Hardworking human beans clean Tabby’s Place with bottled water, and feed and medicate cats by the light of miner’s lamps on their foreheads. No, I am not making this up. And, no, the cats do not care.
12:15 pm: Having given up on power company, humans begin voicing their last great hope in hushed tones: a generator. All too wise Jonathan quashes hope, informing the proletariat that Tabby’s Place is on a three-phase power system. This means that, to do us a sliver of good, a generator would need to be one of the Big Fancy Epic Variety, costing a minimum of $50,000. The cats do not care.
3:41 pm: Development Director considers auctioning off staff and volunteer cars for generator. Auctioning off Fancy Feast is not an option, so the cats do not care.
5:57 pm: Automated message from wicked, vile, purely-evil power company informs us that “the majority of customers may not have power restored until well into the week.” Humans respond by praying/adopting Geoff’s foul language/holding philosophical debates on just what is meant by “well into the week.”
Monday, October 31st, 8:12 am: Desperate times call for desperate measures, part I: as temperatures hover in the 50s inside Tabby’s Place, humans move cats out of coldest areas into cozier climes. Cats really do not care.
8:45 am: Desperate times call for desperate measures, part II: Generous Ginny brings home Samantha and Jerry, two cold kittens in Quarantine. Cats - including Samantha and Jerry - continue to show zero signs indicating care.
9:12 am: Desperate times call for desperate measures, part III: In first sign of caring, cats begin sacrificing pride and reputation for the warmth of each others’ arms and tails. Power outages make for strange bedfellows, as Oliver and Campana cuddle up so close it’s hard to tell where the marmalade ends and calico begins. Gatsby risks becoming black-and-white pancake for the warmth of Artex’s heft.
10:48 am: Upon realizing her utter uselessness to do much of anything without a computer, anonymous human bean (whose name may or may not rhyme with Flangela) ingratiates herself by getting staff coffee. Due to near-catastrophic mix-up, someone who ordered a small takes someone else’s medium. Conga/Katrina-level violence nearly ensues, averted only by the melodic meows of Ike.
1:19 pm: Development Director proposes auctioning off state and local politicians for generator, realizes no one will bid $50, let alone $50,000.
2:41 pm: Staff members do pared-down intake exams on eight new cats in the darkness. Three of the cats are solid-black, and attempt to disappear. Normal number of people involved in an intake exam: two. Today’s number: four. Jonathan notes that, in absence of electricity/computers/anything else to do, intake exams are lots of fun. Smallest cat, Impy, attempts to annihilate entire staff, nearly succeeds.
3:56 pm: Madness begins to set in. Nuttin cuddles with Lester. Webster strews envelopes all over the Community Room. Upon seeing another anonymous staff member (whose name may or may not rhyme with Zance) in the dark, wearing a red ski cap and miner’s lamp, Flangela fails to recognize him and screams, suspecting him of being a Halloween hybrid of a 6′ tall Travelocity gnome and an Alaskan gold hunter. Zance laughs. Ike meows.
Tuesday, November 1st, 10:41 am: First signs of mercy appear, as legions of power company trucks descend upon Ringoes. The cats do not care.
12:18 pm: Ike’s meows have become loud, insistent songs. Staff opts to take this as a good sign. After 3 days of kittens, Geoff requests valium or a transfer to Afghanistan.
1:32 pm: The text message heard ’round the world fires off from Jonathan’s Droid: “POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Thanks be to God, and to the wonderful, beautiful, purely-good-and-glorious power company! Evidence of the cats’ caring has not yet been determined.
And so it was that we weathered this very unexpected, very absurd autumn storm. My thanks and love go out to all who sent frantic e-mails and calls (er, attempted calls - our phone was down, too) to make sure we were all okay. Our tendency to act ridiculous notwithstanding, this is one rugged, remarkable group of human beings (and, needless to say, felines). I am grateful to God to report that everyone - of both species - is feeling fine and made it through quite victoriously. I pray the same is true for each of you and your dear ones. We will never take water, coffee, toilets or light for granted ever, ever again.
Then again, those miners’ lamps make a heck of a fashion statement.
Special thanks to our volunteer Jessica for these simply spectacular photos. Jess, you are gifted at a level that awes mere photography-peons like me. Thank you for using your talent on the cats’ behalf. Oh - and Jess did NOT take the photo of the guy in the miner’s lamp. Actually I have no idea who this Random Google Image Search Result Man is…so if he’s your uncle/plumber/priest, please don’t be offended…or tell him.