It’s not easy being a countess at a cat sanctuary.
But when you’re as easy to love as Consetta, you find your way.
In a sense, Consetta’s bags were packed from the moment she stepped off the taxi in Ringoes, NJ. (It was not a literal taxi. It should have been a quadruple stretch limo. It should have been a sapphire-encrusted chariot pulled by twelve unicorns. Regardless, it came from Manhattan.)
Dripping elegance, Consetta was not sure what she’d gotten herself into.
Sure, she’d gotten herself out of a “hopeless situation,” the kind that haunts Special Needs countesses at high-volume urban shelters. Sure, she’d traveled with the Class of 2021, New York’s finest/bravest/most outrageous, a Manhattan minibus mewing with the likes of Grecca, Bellamy, Bosco, and Lizzy.
But she’d also gotten herself hurled from the heart of the city, into…well, what was this “Tabby’s Place,” exactly?
It had a lot of heart, which was heartening. It had a lot of cats, which was questionable.
A tower even among torties — the Empire State Buildings of the feline world, empresses without exception — Consetta was a little too elegant for us. She counted the measurements of civilization. Art museums: zero. Literary journals: zero. Hot dog carts: zero.
Meanwhile, a pinwheel-eyed paraplegic tuxedo was spinning through the lobby and screaming “WE’RE ALL MUTANTS!” (This is Olive‘s standard greeting.)
It was all a little much.
But being a true countess, Consetta took a deep breath and dropped her suitcase.
She wasn’t sure what sort of opera she was entering, but she would make it her own. And, more importantly, she would make us her own.
While her traveling companion Grecca howled high-volume hip-hop from the Lobby (a sound you no doubt hear, this very moment, from wherever on the planet you reside), Consetta kept quiet…for a time.
It is the way of countesses and tortoiseshell cats to take the full measure of their realm, to take the time to look until they see, and to take a deep breath before bursting into song.
After all, who were these new kinfolk? Again, she counted: Cats: over one hundred, 100% of them bizarre. Huggy hollering humans with life-threateningly low levels of decorum: enough to fill a ferry.
There we were, swinging from the (metaphorical) chandeliers. (Consetta scanned the ceilings in vain for a single crystal chandelier. I mean, c’mon, were we even trying?) There we were, singing asinine original songs. There we were, being ridiculous in all directions. There we were, slobbering through life with one eye or googly eyes, incontinence or incoherence, Special Needs or specialties like laying on the floor as flat as a worm until a feral cat feared us 1% less. There we were, loving bigger than any “reasonable” person would recommend.
It was a perplexing collection of creatures, even by New Jersey standards.
And over and over again, Consetta chose us.
She cast her lot with the mutants.
She reminded us that the whole lot of us are mutants, and that’s a whole lot of wonderful.
And one day, she opened her wonderful mouth, and the opera never stopped.
To be continued tomorrow…