Fancy footwork

Fancy footwork

img-thingCarrie Bradshaw can keep her Manolo Blahniks.

Taylor Swift can keep her Sneaky Cat Keds.

We’ve got all the famous footwear we need with our Sneakers.

There's a time for decorum...
There’s a time for decorum…

That’s not exactly true anymore. We don’t have Sneakers, not at Tabby’s Place.

This comfortably worn-in, soft as suede, aged-to-perfection fellow has jogged his way into his forever home.

But first, let’s go back to the start of Sneakers’ marathon. For all his “ordinary” jellicle-cat looks and absence of attitude, Sneakers is no forgettable fellow. He may have shuffled through a set of transitions these last few years, but make no mistake: Sneakers has been richly cherished. Sneakers, you see, has no fewer than three forever families.

When he first entered the starting blocks, Sneakers fixed his eyes on the goal. He was going to make a cat man out of a certain sad man. He would, he could, he did, all in short order. Let’s call that older gentleman “Uncle,” because that’s essentially what he said when he met Sneaks. As Uncle’s actual grandniece tells the story:

“My great uncle, who turned 90 in May,  had had no pets since he was a little boy, and his childhood pet was a dog. He and his wife had no children. My uncle remained very active in his community, with his friends and church, but after my great aunt’s passing, he was alone and remained that way for many years until Sneakers…the tomcat he coaxed into his house.

“By ‘coaxed,’ I mean, ‘sat for several days with his front door wide open no matter the weather.’ Sneaks would take a step in, then bolt out and away for the day.

“This went on for weeks, until Sneakers was in full time and became my Unk’s best friend. He slept on my great aunt’s side of the bed, had towels on every piece of furniture for him, etc. My uncle even signed holidays cards, ‘Unk & Sneakers.’ He was (is) loved!”

He may be elderly, but moshmaster Sneakers can still headbang to the music of love. (Never underestimate elderly gentlemen. John McCain has also been seen doing this.)
…and there’s also a time to mosh to the music of love. (Never underestimate elderly gentlemen. John McCain has also been seen doing this.)

Richly loved indeed.

The love that Uncle and Sneakers shared went soul-deep, beyond the place where thoughts run in straight lines. As Uncle aged and his thoughts trotted onto new tracks, his family struggled with the realization that he could no longer care for Sneakers. Sneaks was Unk’s “reason to wake up,” but love meant these best friends would wake up in two different places. Love meant letting go.

Love meant Sneakers came to Tabby’s Place.

Brimful with the kind of love that can’t help but slosh over, Sneakers made quick work of spreading sweetness among us. As the “fox in the henhouse” of our little old ladies’ suite, he was the gentle gentleman our old girls deserved. Nuzzling human faces and melting into laps, he was gallant enough to let us convince ourselves we were comforting him, when he was the real healer.

Uncle’s devoted grandniece stayed in touch, telling us how Uncle seemed to have a peaceful understanding that, although Sneaks was no longer in his arms, he was safe and loved…and still truly his.14074662227_ae194da4a3_z

That grand grandniece was the first person I told when it happened last week.

The family that foster-adopted Gingko found themselves in possession of more love than they could keep to themselves. Eager to overflow their ocean of affections, they settled on the old cat who’d loved the old man. Sneakers was about to acquire his third family.

Uncle. Tabby’s Place. Famiglia Gingko.

This news had the effect upon Uncle’s grandniece of making the sweetest story sprint out of her soul:

“Oh my goodness, Angela! I’m not even sure how to respond…except I know how fabulous his new home must be, since this is Gingko’s family!

“I have actually been meaning to write you about an Uncle-and-Sneakers story. Recently, my mom has had several people out evaluating Uncle. One of the social service workers came out to my mom and mentioned saying how silly and charming Unk was, and how he answered a lot of her questions with witty comebacks — not quite the answers she was looking for, but ‘with it’ enough to be a charmer!

Sneakers settles into his forever home in preppy plaid and perpetual love.
Sneakers settles into his forever home in preppy plaid and perpetual love.

“The social service worker added, ‘He kept referring to a son, “his boy.” Does he have children?’ My mom was pretty confused by this, as Unk never had any children. When my mom told my Aunt Sally this, though, she said, ‘Connie, he means Sneakers. He always called Sneaks “his boy.”‘

“As ‘gone’ as my uncle is (not knowing who we are most of the time, or where he is), he still remembers and loves Sneakers…I have to believe my uncle would be happy that Sneakers is going to have a wonderful life.”

I believe it too, dear hearts.

Sneakers never lost — cannot possibly lose — any of the families who have loved him. He is simultaneously all of ours, connected at a deeper level than distance and linear thinking can comprehend.

May his triply-cherished victory lap race on and on.

Photo credits from de top: AT, Jess B, AT X2, Famiglia Gingko.


3 thoughts on “Fancy footwork

  1. What a heartwarming story. It would make a wonderful tearjerker movie for the Hallmark Channel or some other, family oriented cable network.

    (Anybody in the entertainment industry reading this?)

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