Forever loved: Mullet

Forever loved: Mullet

“Nervous, but easy to handle.”

Such was Mullet‘s description on his Intake Exam.

Nothing can make today easy to handle.

“Nervous, but easy to handle.” We may not have been personally scooped up by Animal Control, but Mullet was all of us.

With chestnut eyes and a coat the color of a circus peanut, he was easily the handsomest cat in three counties. But Mullet had a weak appetite for admiration. Let the other cats strut like sultans and crash like billy goats. Mullet was made of mellow, bent on gentleness.

When you are as honest and honorable as Mullet, you can’t stop telling the truth. Mullet was brave enough to be nervous, even around the hoodlums and rabble-rousers of Suite E. His prudence and his softness did not earn him cool points with unsavory characters like Hashbrown.

But when you are as brave and as heroic as Mullet, you can’t stop savoring life, even when it scares the peanuts out of you.

“Nervous, but easy to handle.” Mullet spilled his own secrets from the start. His heart beat like a hummingbird’s, but his eyes lit up when love entered the room. His eyes widened as he realized that love never leaves the room at Tabby’s Place.

Love did not leave the room when Mullet’s fears flared.

Love did not leave the room when Mullet needed to be medicated, an act of love that can feel like an act of war.

Love did not leave the room when someone explained to Mullet what a “mullet” actually is, then proceeded to sing “Achy-Breaky Heart” three times. (This is a testament to Mullet’s ability to forgive.)

Love did not leave the room when the likes of McGregor and Sunflower and Juel were around, cats to groom and giggle with and gaze at in gentle wonder. Mullet wrote thank-you notes to the cats for being cats. Perhaps Mullet only came to trust us because of our sterling track record in providing him with cats.

Love was the room in which Mullet lived. Love is the rope bridge between “nervous” and “easy to handle.” Love makes even loud sounds and lunatic neighbors named for fried potatoes “easy to handle.” Love lets you be “nervous” all your life without asking that you change. Love leaves no one unchanged.

But love entered the room like Eden’s first dawn one inconspicuous day.

She was not a watercolor calico or a supermodel Siamese. She would be neither the youngest nor the oldest in the room. She was a plain grey hoodie of a cat, too meek to say “excuse me” when Shaggy stepped on her toes, meek enough to inherit the earth, meek enough to meet her soulmate on the way to the solarium.

Malora had not made a single wave in her life. But the tidepools of Mullet’s eyes overflowed at first sight. He saw his entire life in an instant. Everything had led to this day. Gentleness recognized gentleness.

We recognized true love.

Mullet and Malora rejoiced in each other, and their bliss was infectious. You just couldn’t glimpse the eight-legged, two-headed MullOra and not feel a surge of gratitude towards life for being life. In the middle of New Jersey, in the middle of their meek lives, in the sacred space between “nervous” and “easy to handle,” two cats formed one monument to love. They found each other. Glory found the gentle.

I can’t find the words to make peace with what happened.

Although Mullet has faced a freckling of medical issues in his year at Tabby’s Place, none of them have been particularly serious. But then, feline heart disease is known for not making itself known. It was another unremarkable morning when our staff found Mullet paralyzed, back legs frosty with the telltale cold of a saddle thrombus.

The cat with the gentlest heart had thrown a fatal blood clot. He was not in pain, but that would not last. There was nothing to do but love him enough to love him across the final bridge. Mullet left this world in a wreath of weeping friends who loved him more than life. Love did not leave the room.

Love never leaves the room.

I believe that Mullet has, and has not, left us. My eyes will fill with tears when I reach for circus-peanut fur, or my eyes dart around Suite E for that chestnut gaze. I will put my hand over my heart and feel the hummingbird inside, nervous on a normal day, if such a thing exists. There are things that will never be easy to handle.

My eyes will close, and I will feel a surge of gentleness that is not my own. Mullet is near. Mullet is in every moment we are brave enough to be kind.

Mullet is in Malora’s green eyes as she grieves. Love is the room where Malora lives, too. Love will comfort her in countless voices and mercies in the days to come. Please hold our Malora in your heart and in your prayers.

Please keep gazing our way, beloved Mullet. You have bequeathed us a tenderness beyond telling. Until we meet again, may we make your golden heart proud.

Reflections from Mullet’s fellow adorers:

Karina, Director of Volunteers: “Mullet was a cat’s cat. Even though not all cat’s wanted to be his friend, it didn’t stop him from trying.

I’m glad he found his one true love (Malora). I will miss this gentle boy.”

Kitty LeFey, Blogger & Board Treasurer: “Mullet was a sweet cat with an unfortunate name that belied his great good fortune and ours for getting to be together at Tabby’s Place. His avoidance of being on the floor in Suite E was the stuff of legends. But, this boy was a complete charmer. He made fast friends with Juel back then. Later, in Suite A, he wowed Malora into loving him and to consider trusting us. The whole time he had so many of us head over heels because of his gentle good nature and total adorableness…and softness…and because Mullet. I have a terrible, blurry picture of Mullet mid-sneeze that I have cherished from the day I took it. Mullet was a perfect gentleman and will be sorely missed, but I’m glad to have a very real, imperfect snapshot of a wonderful furry friend.”

Thanks to staff members Grace, Jae, and Tiana, and volunteers Ruth and Rob, for additional stunning photos.

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