There are no sacred cows at Tabby’s Place.
And, when one turns up, it tends to get promptly barbequed.
No matter what your cares, color or convictions, you will get teased - with love.
If you wear large bows in your hair, or listen to country music, or eat smelly veggie burgers, or write oddball blog posts (ahem), you will get razzed - with love.
Cat or human, you will find yourself in the crossfire of the banter - with love.
More than anything, you will be loved - for all you’re worth. (And reminded, amidst all the fun-poking, that you are worth a lot.)
It’s that crazy-large love that sometimes has to dispatch a sacred cow or two. (Note to PETA and all anti-meata-eata’s: no actual cows, sacred or secular, were harmed in the making of this post. Promise.) There comes a time, from time to time, when things we once held non-negotiable need to be…well, negotiated.
And all for love.
So it was in the Suite B bake shop this winter.
For endless eternal aeons a couple of years now, we’ve insisted that best-buddy-bros Trifle and Strudel be adopted together. You cannot adopt them separately in a box, you cannot adopt them separately with a fox. You cannot adopt them separately, Sam I Am.
The rationale was 100% pure love: Strudel and Trifle had mutual PTSD from growing up in a hoarding house of horrors. They’d overcome so much together - from 4′ of feces to the catty characters in Adoption Room 2 - that they couldn’t be separated. Their own bond seemed to support our thesis. Trifle was rarely seen not surgically attached to Strudel.
This was 94% from Strudel’s side. Trifle, the Skipper to Strudel’s Gilligan, had a growing wanderlust for the Whole Wide World. (By which I mean Suite B, which is only slightly smaller.) The bigger, bolder Trifle was the first to trust humans, the first to strike out solo, and the first to find other cats to love (exhibit A: Steve).
Strudel, on the other hand, would not allow us to see him - heck, he would not allow reality to see him - without Trifle within snuggling range. So their bond cemented our mandate: the boys could only be adopted together, period.
Hmm…make that a question mark.
In the last six months or so, an undeniable something spun out. Slowly, Trifle was spending the bulk of his time with the humans. Surely, Strudel was whiling away his hours cuddled up with Georgie, and Jitterbug, and all manner of non-Trifling cats.
The bond wasn’t broken - not now, not ever - but it was changing. Trifle and Strudel clearly accepted that. Would we humans do the same?
I keep discovering that, much as people say cats hate change, we human beans tend to be the old sticks-in-the-mud. It’s amazing how much we can project onto the cats when we want to. But time, and reality, and God, march on. The cats are astonishingly adept at living in the present moment - whatever it offers. We’re at our best when we join them, hearts full of trust.
We had a choice to make. Would we accept Strudel and Trifle’s present, or lock them into a past that limited their hopes of adoption?
By now you’ve figured it out.
Trifle’s treat came first. You may recall the nice gentleman of April 2010. (Or you might not. That’s a long time ago now - before “tiger blood,” before the Arab Spring, before Oprah went off the air, before Dot was even born.) He wanted Trifle like a toddler wants tapioca. But there was only one vacancy in his house…and we couldn’t bust up the Dessert Boys. So the nice gentleman went away, understanding but glum.
But nice. So nice. Soon we’d find out just how nice.
When Strudel and Trifle made it clear that they were willing to walk separate roads, I ventured to e-mail The Nice Gentleman. It’s been a long time, but…does Trifle still cross your mind? Do you love him still? Do you want to love him forever? Because…things have changed.
He did. He does. And now, Trifle is home with The Nice Gentleman.
But, oh, what of Gilligan Strudel?
The bashful boy had his own baker’s treat in the making.
Not one month after Trifle’s triumphant adoption, along came a Lovely Young Couple. They had a cat. Their cat wanted a cat. They were okay with a cat who loved cats more than human beans.
Strudel was very okay with that whole idea.
Today, there aren’t enough sprinkles in central Jersey to match the boys’ bliss. Trifle has a human who’s adored him since before time Cupcake Wars began. Strudel has a cat and a home and a family who gets him.
And we have fresh reason to trust the cats, the tides of time, and the way all things work together for good. Happy Valentine’s Day, Trifle and Strudel.