It’s been an outstanding winter for Abrahamic individuals.
And, now, they’re cuddling Choppers.
Much as it’s been the season of Lincoln, I think Tabby’s Place’s Abraham has more in common with a more ancient Abe.
The original Abraham - the one from Ur who begat Isaac and was kickin’ it old school Old Testament - was told he’d be blessed beyond his wildest imaginings. In the same holy breath, he was informed that, much more than that, he’d be a blessing. If the good things he’d be given were a toasty, crackling fire, the blessings that would flow through him would be a wild pyrotechnic party of Rolling Stones proportions.
Blessed to be a blessing. It turns out that doesn’t apply to just the ancient Abraham. Take it from contemporary Abe’s thoroughly modern mama:
“So, one day I went to drop off a scratching post at Tabby’s Place, and a funny thing happened on the way to the FIV suite: I fell in love with Abraham.
“Let me back up briefly: in July, I sent an inquiry to Tabby’s Place, asking if they had anyone in the FIV suite that might make a good brother or sister to Chopper, who we had adopted 2 years earlier. The vet had told us that her impression of Chopper was that he was ‘fat and bored.’
“Chopper, admittedly, is very socially high-maintenance. He stalks and tackles pretty much anything that moves, and I wasn’t convinced we were entertaining enough for him. Then, he developed a bad habit of compulsively licking his belly to the point of baldness. In any case, Tabby’s Place mentioned 2 or 3 cats that might be a good match, but tt would take another 6 months before I could convince my Darling Husband that we should go for it. Let’s be honest–we all knew it would take a special someone who could stand up to the rigors of being Chopper’s brother, and it seemed like a risky proposition.
“But then I met Abe, and I JUST KNEW he was perfect. I just KNEW it. I visited him several times between September and December, under various excuses - I need to drop off a cat carrier, the kids are bored and want to visit Edward, I was just driving by and had a few minutes to spare so I thought I’d stop in, etc. Every time, Abe and I bonded more and more, and I could see his interactions with the more dominant cats in the suite. I stalked his photo on the Tabby’s Place website, and I sent email inquiries. I, basically, made a complete pest of myself, but over the course of the fall, I became confident that his personality was the perfect match for our admittedly unpredictable Chopper.
“On the day of the Big Decision, I brought my girls with me to visit Abe. As soon as we entered the room, he chirped a hello and hopped down to meet them. After banging his head into Sophie’s chest, he smeared his body into Tessa’s and slid down into a purring little puddle as she stroked his fur, delighted. That was it - any doubts I may have had, melted away. Two days later, I was driving home with the best Christmas gift my Darling Husband could have given me.
“Abe’s adjustment to our home could not have been any more different from Chopper’s. Whereas Chopper sauntered (literally) into our house, immediately claiming every room and every person as his domain, Abe made it his personal mission to find every Abe-sized nook and cranny in our house, and cram himself into it. As our house is 180 years old, there are TONS of Abe-sized nooks and crannies.
“I won’t lie - the first couple of times we let Abe out of his ’safe room’ to explore the rest of the house were absolutely harrowing for us. I’ll spare you all the details, but suffice to say, I now know exactly how our house was built, since I spent a good part of one day wriggling my way around a dirt crawlspace under my family room, trying to entice Abe to come out for some kibble. Abe-proofing has been a full-time job.
“Our next challenge was introducing Abe to his new brother, Chopper. We were prepared for the adjustment to take months. It took exactly 7 days. Chopper, as expected, spent the first several days growling like a Doberman pinscher at the closed door, then through the baby gate, to Abe’s room (our home office). In response to this, Abe merely blinked at Chopper, and chirped inquisitively (Abe: “Friend? ” Chopper: “I WILL DESTROY YOU.”)
“However, it didn’t take long for Chopper to give up the posturing, and move on to close-range sniffing. After one or two rounds of halfhearted, no-claws-extended kitty boxing, Chopper shrugged his enormous shoulders and consented to his new housemate.
“Abe has since taken up residence under my bed, which is infinitely preferable tothe basement nooks and crannies, and we have provided all his creature comforts on the top level of our house, since he is still too nervous to go downstairs, except in the evenings, when the house is still and quiet.
“Today marks 3 weeks since we brought Abe home, and it has been such a different experience from when we brought Chopper home. Whereas Chopper burst into our family like a tornado, immediately making his presence known and announcing the full breadth of his personality much like a blinking neon sign, Abe has been much more subtle. Watching him grow in confidence has been watching a slow unfolding of a personality.
“I really wonder what his life was like pre-Tabby’s Place. In some ways he’s very much a kitten, responding to our touches by rolling over, purring, and kneading our outstretched arms and hands. In other ways, he’s completely socially backwards - he truly does not seem to know how to play. His gaze passes right over toys, feathers, balls, and he outright runs away from the laser.
“I didn’t want to write this story until I knew that it would end with, ‘and they all lived happily ever after.’ Today, I woke up knowing in my heart that it was going to be so. The first thing I saw as I opened my eyes was my big, menacing, hulking mouse-hunting bruiser, Chopper, gently and patiently, TEACHING ABRAHAM HOW TO PLAY. Over and over again, he galloped at him, stopping just short of Abe, and dashing back off again, inviting Abe to join in. Abe chirped at him nervously, not quite sure of what to do, hiding periodically under the bed, then coming back out again and seeking out his ‘brother.’ Then Chopper started to groom him, putting a paw gently across Abe’s back to keep him still so he could be more thorough. While Abe did run back under the bed to escape after a minute or two of this, I heard a distinct inquisitive ‘brrr?’ as a little white nose immediately peeked back out, and I knew it was the beginning of something really good.
“And they all lived happily ever after.
“Thanks, Tabby’s Place, for another amazing rescue. Without you, I don’t know what would have happened to Abraham. We are so grateful to have him in our lives.
“Chad, Dana, Sophie, Tessa, Jack the Sheltie, Chopper, and Abraham
“P.S.: We briefly considered changing Abe’s name but couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. It actually suits him really well. We did, however, give him a middle and last name. He is now known as, ‘Abraham Lickin’ Meow-er.’”
Blessed beyond measure. Blessing his family with gigantic gentleness. And every inch an Abraham.
With all apologies to our 16th president, we’ve found the true Abe of the year.