Forever Loved: Meatball and Tyke

Forever Loved: Meatball and Tyke

There are weeks that power your perseverance, and weeks that push your fist higher and higher into the restless sky. The start of September in Ringoes, NJ was one of the latter.

We lost Meatball. We lost Tyke. And I’m not ashamed to report that we lost our patience with reality.

The good died old and young this week.

Meatball, that paragon of patience, was the kind of cat who should never die. Lovable down to his long-fuzzed toes, Meatball was a hulking huge heart wrapped in several cats’ worth of fur. Slow-moving, slow to anger (by which I mean utterly un-angerable), slow to release a heart from his hairy grip, Meatball was the master of laps and love and letting you just breathe.

All cats have mystical soothing powers, but some cats take this to the ultimate stratosphere of serenity. In Meatball’s presence, you could instantly be at home, at peace, at one with yourself and a love larger than yourself.

Bonus bliss if you brushed him along the way.

Meatball knew where he was needed, placidly padding his way between Community Room and Lobby in search of souls in need. (And fresh fish slop.) No lap left cold, no heart left shivering; such was Meatball’s motto.

Tyke’s look of love was all for his astonishing foster Mom, Senior Veterinary Technician Denise.

Old though he was, such a cat should never die.

But to lose Tyke in the same week…now the universe was yielding no mercy.

We never dreamed we’d get to hold Tyke forever. He was lucky to be alive at all, the only survivor of his litter, ravaged by something even a world-class neurologist couldn’t quite name. It’s likely Tyke was taken by something called a “storage disease.” It’s undeniable that Tyke stored several Meatball-long lifetimes of love in his few weeks on earth.

Thanks to foster mom miracle Denise, and all the staff and volunteers who ensured that Tyke was never outside warm arms, our tiniest tabby never suffered. Thanks to Tyke’s own thousand-year-old soul, we never stopped learning. Gazing into his sloe eyes, watching his snappy, happy mouth smile and gleefully bite in all directions (air is deeeelicious!), we knew we were in the presence of greatness.

And we knew “goodbye” was ever imminent.
And we were completely, utterly, shatteringly unprepared anyway.

What a week. Death has dealt two blows too deep, and there are hurricanes and hatreds and rumors of war on our horizons. Yes, I’m afraid we have just about lost our patience.

But not our faith in love.

Rage with us, kittens, leaning into the courageous confidence that death will not have the final word. This week we grieve, we gasp for mercy, we give what feels like our last possible tear. But somehow, again and again and again, we rise by a force beyond ourselves to do what we have to do, love again, wise fools, unplacidly padding our way where we need to be.

Impatience is inevitable. Hope returns. Meatball and Tyke, we will rise on the courage you gave us. Until we meet again, beloveds.

2 thoughts on “Forever Loved: Meatball and Tyke

  1. I cried when we lost Meatball last Saturday and I cried again reading this tribute. I feel blessed to be a part of the Tabby’s Place family and am thankful for the kind volunteers and staff I have met along the way. For Meatball, Tyke and all the other cats we have lost thank you for being part of our lives and you will always be in our hearts.

  2. Sleep in the arms of Tabby’s Place love. I am always speechless in the face of great loss – great sadness. I only know that to love a cat is one of the most wonderful, rewarding loves – and if you love, you face grief. Life is short – fill it with love. Meatball, Tyke – forever in our hearts – never forgotten, always loved.

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