We’re fast approaching a year since the Dessert Kids began their journey to a sweeter life.
It was March of 2009 when Twinkie, Cupcake, Strudel and Trifle – and 89 of their closest friends – were rescued from the million-dollar home with four-foot high drifts of waste. Today, all 93 cats have found safe, loving placements, where they can begin the slow process of learning to live loved.
It’s been awhile since we checked in with the boys, Trifle and Strudel, here on Felis Catus, so it’s high time to remedy that.
One milestone for any nervous nellie at Tabby’s Place is the day he or she becomes “pettable.” As milestones go, it’s a rather subjective one. Some felines will seem to decide, almost spontaneously, that any human bean is a good human bean, and start letting every visitor love on them. Others will pick and choose meticulously, baring their soft bellies for those beans they trust, but bolting in panic from less-familiar faces.
Living in Suite B, the dessert boys fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Ever the more intrepid of the two, Trifle has been slowly accepting a key truth: humans who will twirl feather wands for you are not bad humans. Not at all. In fact, some of them can even be trusted to rub your sweet, spotted tabby belly. And, if aforementioned humans decide to turn their affections to your brother Strudel, you need to head-butt them vigorously to remind them that they love you, too.
Still, he’s not taking any chances. The wariness isn’t completely gone from Trifle’s golden eyes, and he’s most content when he’s the one initiating the love-fests. That’s fine by this human bean.
When it comes to shy, sweet Strudel, he’s tagging along with Trifle on this ride of his life, moving just a scosch more slowly in the process of trusting us. Bashful Strudel’s trust is all the more remarkable given that we gave him good reason to deem us Bad, Bad Beans this week.
When Strudel seemed to be having some ear issues, our vet team – the brave folks who love our cats enough to risk making the kitties all hate them – went in to check him out. Often, an itchy ear will turn out to be just a bit waxy, or have no apparent problems. (As Jonathan once suggested, it’s highly likely that the cats gather at night and agree, “OK, guys, let’s all start scratching our right ears tomorrow. That’ll drive ’em crazy!”) Alas for Strudel, his ear was rather angry and infected…and you know what that means.
We would have to do Mean Things.
Now, you know and I know that these Mean Things aren’t really mean…at least, not in our whacked-out human bean logic. Better to traumatize a cat in the short term than to let problems fester and suffering skyrocket. If we didn’t believe that, we’d never bring our own cats to the vet. The Mean Things we do for love are, I truly believe, some of the most loving things we’ll ever do.
Still, when it came to Strudel, cleaning out and treating his angry ear – repeatedly – was a real risk. While there was never any question that we’d rather set back his progress in socialization than let him suffer medically, there was a very strong chance that we’d lose much hard-won trust.
As it turns out, that fear was unfounded, giving too much weight to the power of Mean Things. While Strudel was not elated to have his ear dealt with, he’s already left the Mean Things in his past and settled back into his groove – his bashful, darling, increasingly pettable groove.
So the dessert boys will play. They’ll accept and adore pets. And they can handle trusting human beans again even after facing Mean Things. Is there any question as to what comes next?