“Impending death,” however, was just a mirage.
When we first met Morgan, his right hind leg had one speed: stop. The exact pre-Tabby’s Place details are unclear, but there was rain and thunder and an abandoned, dead-legged cat in a Morganville, PA garden. He was neutered and friendly — meaning clearly loved and willfully “lost” — but going nowhere fast. So, on an actual dark and stormy night, our creamsicle cat flew like a Dutchman to Dr. Fantastic.
The news was bad — bad as in, “the Dutch border has been invaded by rabid French horn players” bad. Bad as in, “Donald Trump is moving into your basement” bad.
Bad as in, “Morgan has thrown a blood clot and is fixin’ to diiiiiiiie.”
Let the record show that Sylvia is still alive.
Tabby’s Place cats are made of tough stuff, and Morgan would prove no exception. “Thrombus schmombus,” he said. (Which, in Dutch, I think translates to “I’m fixin’ to live and live AND LIVE SOME MORE.”)
We held our breaths through his stay at the specialty hospital. We held our breaths through his Quarantine period. We held his breaths as he flirted with the possibility of having ringworm (which would have meant many more weeks in the bowels of Tabby’s Place’s quarantine area, getting dipped in lyme sulfur). We held our breaths as he cleared Quarantine.
But Morgan was breathing easy — and breathing out joy on everyone who approached him. Once again, we had a case of a cat who had seen the worst but was bent on being a blessing. So he’d been abandoned. So he’d been dealt an ugly hand. Life is about now, and Morgan is about life.
Morgan’s Quarantine cage just so happened to be under Sammy‘s. (More on her in the near future. Patience, kittens.) When Sammy’s original rescuers came to visit her, Morgan hammed it up like the Will Ferrell of felinedom. He reached. He meowed. He heaved his hulking head (approximately the size of a blue-ribbon cabbage) into the cage, rubbyrubbyrubbing on the bars. He oozed love and joy and life.
There’s not a bitter bone in Morgan’s body — and that’s a good thing, too, since he’s approximately the size of the Netherlands and made of muscles. His cardiac condition is the only thing fragile about our solid boy.
We’re under no illusions that Morgan’s future is footloose and fancy free. (Although he is the kind of cat who would gladly help a whole town fight for its right to dance, if Kevin Bacon was unavailable. But I digress.) His condition is nothing short of dire, and every day his heart continues to beat is a gift and a victory.
Still, we can’t help but whisper in those giant whelks of his ears: Remember Sylvia.
Diagnoses don’t have the final word, life does. And life wins.
At the moment, the Quarantine ham is offering up a sort of mirage we expect to be quite temporary. Last week, Morgan became Jonathan’s new office-mate (“prodigal son” Gunther has unceremoniously left Jon for the Community Room, and “prodigal baked good” Cookie has unceremoniously left Jon for the lobby-love of Levi and Boots). Since that time, the big cat with the giant spirit has shrunken into himself a bit. Rather than a comedian, he’s an observer, keeping to quiet corners — for now.
Just today, for the first time, I saw Morgan stretched out in his full glory. Gone was the fearful circle into which he’d curled those first few days, and long were those magnificent Morgan-legs, yawning forth in comfort and bliss. He’s reviewing the situation, just biding his time before he bursts out into full bloom.
But mark my words: bloom again he shall, and when he does, Morgan will only know one speed: life.
*No, I am not making this up. You really think even I could make up a Flying Dutchman? Old-timey folks had lots of time on their hands, and wild imaginations. If they lived now, old-timey folks would create reality shows and rides at Busch Gardens. Lose gravity and lose your lunch on…The Flying Dutchman!