It’s painfully obvious – sometimes on a painfully-hourly basis – that we are made of dust. But do we forget that we’re also made of stars?
Our Bonnie lass will not forget.
Not long ago, Bonnie was snuggling up in Suite B, making herself at home in a micro-world of her own design.
While other cats (such as Natalie “The World Is Not Enough” Rosenberg) would forever ramble the far reaches of the solarium, Bonnie was content to confine her universe to an (open) cage. Here was a cat who took to heart GK Chesterton’s observation that, by loving and attending to small things, you make your world large and rich: “The telescope makes the world smaller; it is only the microscope that makes it larger. Before long the world will be cloven with a war between the telescopists and the microscopists. The first study large things and live in a small world; the second study small things and live in a large world.” (She also took to heart the same Chesterton’s quote that “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese”, and this concerned her greatly.)
But recently, Bonnie’s world was besieged by small invaders inflicting far-reaching mayhem.
At Tabby’s Place, we like to use a big words to say simple things, because it makes us feel smart. So I trust you’ll bear with me when I use the term “upper respiratory infection” to mean “cold.” (Or perhaps you’ll prefer the term favored by a staff member who shall remain anonymous, but who may be British and have a name that rhymes with Zarina: “the dreaded lurgie.”) Normally when a cat gets an upper respiratory infection, there’s a bit of sniffling and snorkling, maybe even a run of antibiotics, but nothing Cataclysmically Dreadful.
Then there are the abnormal occasions. Leave it to Bonnie to be abnormal. Supranormal, if you will.
Struck by some extra-strength nasties, Bonnie moved almost instantly from “slightly snuffly” to “fixin’ to diiiiiiiiiie.” She wouldn’t eat. She wouldn’t move. Her eyes wouldn’t sparkle. Dust and ashes overshadowed her countenance. I’m afraid not even a bowl of bacon would restore her soul.
But love and self-sacrifice and the stuff of stardust could.
Under the same sanctuary roof, a certain human was also feeling flattened by an upper respiratory infection. I will allow her to remain anonymous, except to say that she may or may not be our Senior Veterinary Technician, and her name may or may not rhyme with Quaneese. This individual was capital-S Sick. She sounded like a cross between Lauren Bacall, Homer Simpson and Darth Vader. She coughed more than she spoke. She oozed plague from every pore. She, too, was in Very Bad Shape.
Quaneese was not exactly in prime condition for sacrificing her weekend to a fixin’-to-diiiiiiie tabby cat. But Quaneese’s love could do nothing less.
I wasn’t the only one who was startled-but-not-surprised when Quaneese announced, “I’m bringing Bonnie home.” She explained, “She’d be scared at Dr. Fantastic‘s. And I know I can get her to start eating and feeling better.”
I’d seen this size of starry love before – seen it often among my comrades here at Tabby’s Place, and among the cats who inspire it. Still, to see a sickly human bean sacrificing her own much-needed crash time for a sickly Bonnie…it was downright miraculous, in the everyday way of most miracles.
Still, there were no promises. Bonnie was not doing well. Bonnie might not thrive. There might be Something Bad Inside.
But on St. Patrick’s Day Sunday, the triumphant text message came through: “Someone is feeling better this morning. Eating more on her own, up and walking around more, purring like crazy.”
Just like that, Bonnie was bouncing back. It wasn’t long before she was bouncing into the Community Room, squeaking and purring and chowing down as our newest Community Cat, and capital-T Thriving.
And a bonny bonus: Quaneese is also all better.
Poets may not have much to say about the subject of cheese, but there aren’t volumes enough on this planet to fully laud the kind of love that saved Bonnie. In our greatest moments, we – feline and otherwise – scale the heights of self-giving love. In so doing, we are truly, deeply found.