After you’ve loved >1 cats, you learn to stop using expressions like The Nicest Cat In The World.
You might think the first cat you love is undoubtedly the nicest. And you are undoubtedly right. But then your heart meets its second cat.
So maybe you’re just lucky - both of the cats you’ve now known and loved have been extraordinarily nice. Lucky you. Blessed you.
Then along comes cat #3. And #4. And #1,193 (that’s the number we’re up to at Tabby’s Place). All of a sudden, well, butter my brow and call me a biscuit - it turns out there are at least 1,193 Nicest Cats In The World.
There are as many kinds of “nice” as there are ways of being a cat - and no two cats are cats in precisely the same way. So at some point you stop comparing cats and realize: every cat is a world unto itself…a world in which she is the Nicest Cat In The World.
Still, if we were going to call a single feline the Nicest Cat In The World and Webster gracefully declined his worthy title, it would be well-nigh impossible not to hand the award over to Sabrina. (It’s also well-nigh impossible to find people who say things like “well-nigh.” But I digress.)
Sabrina’s early days were decidedly not nice. I wasn’t there, so I can’t know the details, but there was a construction site, an accident, a kitten, a catastrophe…and the next thing we knew, the tiny white wounded warrior arrived at Tabby’s Place with an injury so horrifying, even stout-hearted men couldn’t bring themselves to look at it. (Not that I would be so indiscreet as to name the stout-hearted men who had to look away. Especially not when they may or may not be certain Founders and Executive Directors who are my boss, and whose names rhyme with Ronathan.)
Whatever happened to this little ball of babyhood, it was ugly. Tiny Sabrina was at Tabby’s Place for mere moments before we rushed her to the emergency vet.
Once there, baby ‘Brina lost that mangled front leg - but found a fawning admirer. One of the vet techs who helped save Sabrina’s life lost her own heart to the timid kitten with the big purr. Sabrina, we hardly knew ye before adoption whisked you away.
That was over four years ago now. Let’s think of it as Sabrina’s sojourn to Paris, where she learned the laws of elegance and grace and all things ooh-la-la. Like another Sabrina, though, our girl wasn’t meant to stay in France forever.
Yes. The onetime-wounded kitten is back.
Again, I wasn’t at the scene of the sorrow, so I only know broad outlines of what happened. There was another cat, a clash of personalities, a dark turn towards “inappropriate elimination”…and the next thing we knew, our beautiful “tripod” kitten was back at Tabby’s Place, this time as an adult. This time, her leg was fine; it was her heart that had borne the latest wound.
Once Sabrina cleared from Quarantine, it was an easy decision to move her to the Lobby. Getting to live in the Tabby’s Place Lobby is a little bit like finishing third grade and being told that, instead of having to go to fourth grade, you get to go to a bouncy castle where marshmallow Fluff and crumb cake grow from the walls and unicorns whinny rainbows from their nostrils. Actually the Tabby’s Place Lobby is sweeter.
The Lobby, therefore, is a good place for cats who’ve been dealt an especially raw deal, whether a scary diagnosis or a heartbreaking history. After losing her family of five years, Sabrina was a shoo-in for this cushy piece of real estate.
Sabrina’s no slouch in the seriousness department, so she spent a few circumspect days reviewing the situation. A square bed with a hidey-hole became her haven, and she’d crane her big moon-face out to look around and think and muse.
And then she made her decision: this was a good home.
Having decided this, Sabrina was ready to let loose her not-so-secret identity as The Nicest Cat In The World.
We can’t and won’t judge Sabrina’s previous people, because it’s clear she learned a whole lot of love from them. When you pick Sabrina up to hold her, immediately she begins to hold you. She’ll wrap her entire being tightly around you, surprisingly maternal for a never-mommed kitty, as if she’s reassuring you, it’s all going to be okay. This uber-hug is all the more amazing since she’s missing an entire front leg. Remain in her embrace for more than 0.004 seconds, and Sabrina will unleash her secret weapon: the kitty kiss.
I don’t mean nose-bumping. Many cats do that, and it’s awesome. But this is different.
I don’t mean licking. Many cats do that, too, and it’s divine. But this is different.
I mean kissing you full on the mouth. With her nose, her licks, her robustly-rubbing round face. Sabrina wants to inhabit your love and envelop you in hers.
And she will have her way.
Was this Nicest Cat In The World born this way, or raised with such sweetness that love is all she is? Yes. In the nature/nurture debate, I’m staking my claim on the “both” side. Surely such a sweetheart was born with maple syrup (if not marshmallow Fluff) in her metaphorical veins. But, whatever happened at the end of those five years in “Paris,” it’s clear this cat was loved well in the interim.
And for that, we will be forever grateful. And so, I predict, will be Sabrina’s soon-coming forever family. The Nicest Cat In The World doesn’t stay unadopted long.
PS: Top thumbnail by Jessica, second photo (Sabrina in her hot rod bed) by Jane. The subsequent photos would have had 10,000% more awesomeness if they’d been taken by a gifted photographer such as, say, Jane or JM of What A Good Cat fame. But Jane and JM were busy loving on Sabrina, so you’ll have to take what came out of my camera. Thanks, J & J, for posing with this nicest of cats for me. I know it was hard work.