In a land of ice and fire and overthrown kings, you never know just who will rise to power.
With all apologies to those vaguely Icelandic warrior folk over on HBO, the thrones of Tabby’s Place belong squarely to torties.
There was a time, vaunted in Tabby’s Place lore, when one tortie ruled them all. In the back suites and cubbies of the sanctuary, you can still hear the tabbies and calicos singing of good queen Pepper‘s reign from Jonathan’s office. It was a simpler time.
But many torties have risen in the years since, and if there’s anything true about torties, it’s that they were born to rule. So what happens when we get 800,000,000 torties all at once?
It’s a veritable game of thrones torties.
Natasha hails from central NJ and can pull rank on the whole lot of them. Ensconced in Suite C for nearly five years now, she’s toothless…and tireless in her grabs for power. If, by “grabs for power,” you mean “attempts to cuddle all beings.” Oh, yes. Make no mistake: ‘Tash is ruthless in her mission. Although she once shrank from human touch, petrified of the pain it could cause her infected teeth, she’s scaled the heights of might…and mushiness. Since having all her choppers removed, Natasha has been on a bold mission to love on everyone. Shy, Oliver and Mango are her usual cuddle buds of choice, but just last week the aging dynast showed her deep courage by attempting to head-butt Sluggo.
A Mini Cooper shouldn’t play chicken with an eighteen-wheeler.
A paddleboat shouldn’t ram an aircraft carrier.
A paper airplane shouldn’t fly directly into the Death Star.
And a domestic feline should not attempt to head-butt Sluggo.
But Natasha is no “domestic” – she’s pure royalty. And, despite his reputation for ridiculing lesser cats (and by “ridiculing” I mean “beating the living kazoonas out of”), Sluggo accepted Tash’s head-butt…and warmly returned it.
Perhaps Natasha’s boldness is because she realizes the throne is much-contested these days. There are other torties in town…lots of other torties.
Consider Tia, a tortoiseshell tubster with a brash plan of her own. You’d think that the best place from which to rule Tabby’s Place would be Tabby’s Place. But Tia’s staking her hopes on a new strategy (and, like Patti LaBelle, she has a new attitude): she was only at Tabby’s Place for a twinkling before getting spirited off to her forever home. It’s a big way to make her mark: Natasha’s been at Tabby’s Place for many moons…but I, I, will be here for just a flash, like a comet. An enormous, mooshworthy comet. With a tail.
Or what of Mona, whose tortitude comes in subtler hues? Suite FIV, realm of big-boned, big-hearted boys, would degenerate into one big frat house if not for its den mother. Picture Aunt Bee + Mrs. Garrett + the really butt-kicking silver-haired lady on Game of Thrones, and you’ve got our Mona. She takes care of the boys…and she takes care of business. Our peaceful-yet-powerful princess has the distinction of being the only dilute tortie currently residing at Tabby’s Place – and her empire will not be diluted. (‘Specially not if her best boy, warrior-of-love Gus, has anything to say about it.)
Then there’s dainty Beatrice, she of the tiny feet and the jumbo personality. Of all the cats to have danced through the Lounge, Bea is the first and only to have her very own cup. Given her habit of sipping from the dirty cups in the sink, imbibing diluted coffee and tea and who knows what, we arranged for Beatrice to have her very own people-cup, enthroned in the center of the lunch table. In case anyone else is tempted to drink the clean, fresh water from that cup, the sign beneath it is a word to the wise: BEATRICE’S CUP. Bea may be as sweet as creme brulee, but leave the cup alone: you don’t want to grab for the goblet of a warrior tortie.
Fiona puts the “cent” in “ancient”…as in cento percento, or 100% pure spectacular. She may have seen this earth before dinosaurs roamed it, but toothless Fiona is top cat in the little old ladies’ suite of Adoption Room #3, where her peaceful reign goes unquestioned.
Still, with all this tortitude afoot, I must pledge my allegiance to the one tortie who seems to have no interest in power whatsoever. It’s no coincidence that, hanging over my desk as I type this e-mail, there’s a photo of Franny with the caption, There are no ordinary cats. (Thank you, Colette – you wise woman, you.) At eighteen, with eight hundred eons 4-5+ years of diabetes, kidney disease, asthma and arthritis under her belt, Franny’s got nothing to prove. She is who she is, a supremely gentle soul who can still out-sing Adele at age 18 (Adele, let’s hear you when you’re 88 – and I sincerely hope we will). She’ll let you hold her, beg you to feed her (repeatedly), and never hold it against you for testing her blood glucose or giving her 874 pills a day. Franny is all gentleness, full-strength grace. Her throne of choice is a recycling box under Danielle’s desk, and she has learned the secret of contentment.
But just as I’m about to hand Franny the title of top tortie, my mind trips down the hall to Quarantine, where there awaits the biggest tortie of all.
I do mean biggest.
But that’s another epic tale for another epic time…
PS: All photos are courtesy of the artistic genius that is volunteer Jess.