Annie get your grit

Annie get your grit

13937078710_3d7b38ccf7_bAnnie is not interested in going viral.

Annie is not concerned with how many retweets she can get.*

Annie is all about the business of living.

pensive-annieThe Annie Experience at Tabby’s Place began auspiciously. A certain individual — let’s call him Extremely Bad Man — slithered into our lobby with a carrier in hand and an oily smirk upon his face.**

“Hello!” announced EBM. “I am an unsavory character, and I would like to wash my hands of my cat. Can you take her?”

We’re in the business of keeping families together, so our fearless leader Jonathan made the time to talk with EBM and give him all manner of advice on making things work with his cat. But, Jonathan said, if things didn’t work out, EBM could come back and talk with us.

EBM left.
And EBM left someone behind.

It was a brilliantly sunny day, and I happened to be skipping walking in a dignified manner back from the post office about a half hour later. I spotted a weathered cat carrier in front of our entrance and ran to investigate. Alas, this carrier was carrying one very skinny grey tabby cat.

"Why, yes, I have reached the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Thanks for asking."
"Why, yes, I have reached the pinnacle of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Thanks for asking."

Lesson learned: never trust an Extremely Bad Man.

But that was all water over the dam now; the skinny cat was here, and she was ours, and we would love her.

Upon seeing our newest resident’s frail form and gigantic gold eyes, we all oozed with pity. Many “poor baby”s were cooed.

But they weren’t necessary. Annie was no poor baby. Bony bod and sad eyes to the contrary, this was a righteous dame.

After approximately 173 years on this planet, Annie has learned to make the most of the time she’s given. The day she cleared from Quarantine and moved to the lobby, she rolled and meowed and preened so boldly that she broke us, and we broke the rules. Generally, when a cat moves to a new realm at Tabby’s Place, she begins in a large crate — all the better to see and smell her weird new neighbors before having to interact with them, and all the better for us to monitor her pooping and eating and other exciting matters.

Annie lasted perhaps 3 hours in her crate, doing desperate performance art, before we crumbled. By “we,” I mean a certain staff member who shall remain anonymous for his lawlessness, except to note that he may or may not be the boss, and his name may or may not rhyme with Ronathan. The instant Ronathan opened Annie’s crate, Annie was out and flying.

"Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world." - Napoleon Bonaparte
"Let her sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world." - Napoleon Bonaparte

With all apologies to wild children like Mimi and Rose, elderly Annie won the record for highest-velocity Tabby’s Place cat that day. On toothpick legs, she covered every inch of the lobby within two minutes, then shot into the Community Room. There was not an ounce of anxiety in Annie’s wild ride — on the contrary, here was a conquering queen setting down little grey tabby flags in each new territory as she claimed it. Within the hour, 50% of our building was in control of the Sovereign Nation of Annie.

And she hasn’t slowed down since that day. Having made the Community Room her center of operations, Annie keeps running — as well as keeping things running smoothly at Tabby’s Place. Is Queen being intolerable? Annie will roar in her face. Are you experiencing writer’s block and glumly hooking all your highlighters together over and over and over again?*** Annie will bounce into your lap and stare deep into your eyes and foist inspiration upon you. Annie spends less time sleeping (and more time trotting) than any other cat I’ve met at Tabby’s Place. But it’s understandable; she is a busy dame, about the business of loving and leading and…oh…

…well, and clobbering cancer. Life is not, in fact, all hee-hee-ha-ha for Annie.

Initially, we’d hoped that Annie’s skinniness and diarrhea were simply side effects of having been in the crummy care of an Extremely Bad Man. Besides, we’ve dealt with diarrhea before. We are diarrhea doyens at Tabby’s Place. Just this evening, Annie returned from a specialist visit. Immediately upon returning, she raced to the litter box to explode some disturbing diarrhea. Except that’s not exactly how it went. Annie attempted to race to the litter box, but one of our staff members — who shall remain anonymous to protect her dignity, except to note that her name may or may not rhyme with Skwayne — was so excited to welcome Annie home that she swept her up into her arms. But diarrhea waits for no hug, and so, well…things got huggy and messy all at once.

13937040189_b03dba0c71_bThings are messy in more than one way for our Annie this spring. It so happens that Annie does not simply have cancer, but she has a very nasty case of gastrointestinal cancer. Chemo can buy her time and comfort, but the prognosis is not good. At least, so the story goes.

But I’m believing a better story for the cat who believes so ebulliently in life. Would y’all please pray and believe for Annie with us?

*Besides, it is entirely impossible for a lady of such sprawling vocabulary to limit her thoughts to 140 characters. Please.

**Yes, I am selling the drama here for your personal amusement. In all honesty, I cast no judgment upon this gent. I don’t know what’s going on in his life. Neither do you. But we do know that Annie was meant to be a Tabby’s Place cat, and this man was simply her chariot.

***Of course this never happens to me. No, no, no, that isn’t my highlighter tower over there.

Photo credits: Top and bottom by the amazing Jess B. Others by AT.

4 thoughts on “Annie get your grit

  1. I met Annie last Sunday and she is one feisty little girl – adorable and no-nonsense. If any cat can beat cancer, she is the one — let’s all pray and love on her for her speedy recovery!

  2. I certainly don’t approve of the actions of Annie’s former owner (I can only imagine how scared she must have been abandoned in that carrier), but before we condemn him too harshly, and particularly if he was aware of her serious medical condition, I have to say that he might have been trying to do the right thing by her by ensuring that she got to a place where she would be taken care of. I have had a cat with cancer and the costs of fully committed treatment can be astronomical and out of reach for many cat owners. Leaving Annie at Tabby’s may have been the alternative to putting her down because the cost of treating her condition may have simply been impossible. A similar situation happened recently in our community when an elderly couple left their ill and aging dog at a shelter with a note saying that although they loved their pet dearly, they could no longer afford to care for him. Ultimately the owners were located and the funds were raised so that they could keep their dog. I wish Annie all the best, and I hope that Tabby’s mission can also include financial assistance to those who may not be able to afford the “exceptional circumstances” surrender.

    1. Dear ZedMama,

      You are 1,000% right. I confess I hesitated to go for the easy laugh with “Extremely Bad Man,” for exactly the reasons you mention, and perhaps I should not have done so. There, but for the grace of God, go I. We do not know what this fellow was facing, financially or otherwise, and the bottom line is that it is a blessing that Annie is at Tabby’s Place where she’ll receive all the care and love she needs. I wish her former owner nothing but the best.

      I wish, too, that we were in a position to offer financial assistance to folks struggling with their cats’ medical expenses. Most of the cats who come to Tabby’s Place do receive a “full scholarship,” so to speak, in that they come to us with no financial resources/donation whatsoever. (The Exceptional Circumstances cats are a very, very tiny sliver of our residents — I’d say 1-5% at the most. The overwhelming majority of our cats come to us straight from dire straits.)

      Since our mission is to rescue cats from hopeless situations, regardless of most medical issues, it is our pleasure and privilege to do so, and to cover the full costs of their (often very costly) medical care. That’s the reason why, alas, when we do take cats from the general public, we have to ask for a donation that will help us to help many other kitties.

      There are many great resources out there for helping folks to keep their pets through all the expensive vicissitudes of vet care:

      That said, the hardest thing about this labor of love is not being able to take every single cat in every single situation. We do the best we can, with all the love we have to give. When we can’t personally take a cat, we help as much as we are able. We are all in this together, and we “need us all.” I am very grateful to hear how things worked out for the elderly couple and their furry loved one in your community.

      Keep up the good fight and know that your dear cat is in my prayers. She is blessed to have you, ZedMama.

  3. Read this post earlier this AM and cannot get it out of mind. Angela, the thought of little toothpick legs running around placing little grey tabby flags paints a charming picture of Annie, who is determined to live each moment with zest – on her terms. Much love and prayers for you Annie – live each day fully – forever on your own terms!

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