Every day is a party at Tabby’s Place.
There are shenanigans. There is tomfoolery. There’s enough Party Mix to make a trail to Neptune and back.
But one day still stands apart.
Since we don’t know the literal birth dates of our feline residents, we mark every Tabby’s Place cat’s birthday on January 1st.
This requires a very large pre-order of birthday hats. (Also Band-Aids for the humans who attempt to apply such hats to cats.)
But in all seriousness, this gives us cause to reflect on just how glorious and yet timebound our residents truly are. On an ordinary day, it’s entirely too easy to forget that Bucca is eighteen, or Divya is fourteen, or Faye is rocking twelve like it’s two. Even Rose, the eternal kitten, is six now.
January first. BOOM. (Who is, incidentally, eight.) The collective birthday barrels in.
They’re aging. So are we. It’s startling and mysterious and okay.
But I’m not one to dwell too long on the solemnity of birthdays, and I promise you I will never send you or Bucca or Boom one of those ghastly “another year older” cards. Especially not in January, that jaundiced month of leafless trees and rocky restarts.
No. Instead, I will ply you with presents. Here’s what you’re getting, birthday cats:
Bucca, age 18: A monocle, Mr. Peanut-style, the better to emphasize the Van Gogh-groovy swirls in your righteous right eye. Science-y people call this “hyperpigmentation.” The rest of us call it “magic,” and it should be magnified. Bonus: improved vision will amp your ability to monitor lesser beings (Heather/Ginger/Angela).
Swiffer, age 15: A set of four microfiber slippers with little furry fingers, designed to sweep floors while you strut. At last people will stop inquiring about your name and get down to the business of loving you.
Jimmy, age 12: One half-ton of butter, carved into superheroes enjoying dairy products. You’re newly toothless (and feeling infinitely better for it), and although you can still eat cat food just fine, this epic sculpture needs an honorable disposal, and somebody’s gotta do it.
Patty, age 11: An autographed, life-size cutout of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. (She’s been asking for months.)
Wilbur, age 12: A safety orange sweater. This will simultaneously match your wildly-alive personality and enable you to Banish Winter. Suite FIV has seen deep sadness with the passing of Chachi, and your sunshine is needed more than ever. With a blindingly orange sweater you can usher in summer sweetness better than ever before. You can also distinguish yourself from…
Wilbur, age 3: A record deal for your debut album, “Return of The Other Wilbur.” (You first pitched “Original Wilbur,” but your A&R man gently pointed out that you did come first to Tabby’s Place, but The Other Other Wilbur came first to earth, so this could get dicey.)
Walter, age 12: A personal, Walter-sized revolving door. This will enable you to (a) walk through doors in an infinite loop, as is your desire, and (b) have the pleasure of denying humans passage through the door, a fitting revenge. Bonus: a mute button for that maddening human shout of “WALTER NO!”
Mary, age 7: The flower crown you deserve, anointing you Sweetest Creature In The History Of Living Beings. We have been remiss in regaling you properly, yet still you love, and love, and love us and life and everyone that moves. The world must know of your wonders. The creatures of all species must feel your grace. The nations just might be healed by your happy, hate-proof heart.
Of course, January 1st is just the “observed” version of our residents’ birthdays. Any day is a good day for gifting the cats, whose lives gift us with infinite joy.