Cats are unconcerned with metrics.
Development directors and other dorklike individuals go googly over stats like “length of stay” and “kitten-to-adult adoption ratio.”
Cats and other awesomelike individuals are not so concerned.
This means our cat-pointed pity is generally misdirected.
Far be it from me to prod an innocent adopter. But, I have heard at least one staff member — call her Tangela — saying things like, “You know, Captain Smoochipants has been here five years. He must be waiting for someone very very special.”
Funny thing about that tack: it never holds.
“Isn’t that special,” the adopter nods, moving on to the cat he’s supposed to adopt anyway.
It’s just as well. Even if we could briefly convince adopters that our long-term residents were consumed with longing, the cats would undo that ruse.
As the Tabby’s Place cats see it, life is already “totes mcgotes amazeballs” (a direct quote from Adam). Who cares whether the amazeballs bounce here or there? Joy is a movable feast. Why worry about how long the pillar of fire hovers over Tabby’s Place before moving on to a forever home?
So, you’re an annoyingly perfect kitten adopted less than five hours after arrival? Whoopee-ding-dong for you.
So, you’re a one-eyed, morbidly obese slab still waiting after nine years? Whip out the party hats and noisemakers.
They celebrate being adopted. They celebrate not being adopted. They celebrate. Period.
All of this makes it all easy to imagine that particular cats will simply stay. The pillar has parked. They are ours. No one can have them, noooo one I tell you.
Until their number is up.
This week, it came for the cat with her own zip code, the cat with my whole heart, the cat who let a thousand flowers bloom before finally finding forever: Violet. My Violet.
She’d been here three years without twiddling her metaphorical thumbs three minutes. From the day she dropped in from Georgia, Violet had one mission: expand. Expand her territory. Expand her girth. Expand her fan base.
Expand the magic.
If Violet had been a fragile flower, she’d surely have been slammed with self-doubt by now. Were it not scandal enough to be overlooked, Violet saw her own kith and kin plucked before her.
Can you imagine? Not only two sisters, but the very cat who bore Violet were adopted ahead of our roundest torbie. It’s enough to make any creature think she’s defective.
Any creature, except a cat.
Humans morbidly watch sand race through the hourglass, thinking unproductive lies like I’m running out of time! We worry that, not only hasn’t our ship come in, but it’s been hijacked by pirates with swords.
Cats, meanwhile, allow themselves to get distracted by life. There are sparkly bits in that sand! People are singing to me, badly but with affection! Now they are giving me roast beast! OH MY STARS they heated it in the microwave! That’s because I am spectacular! I am a radiant being of infinite awesomeness!
And, as usual, the cats are right.
Why count your losses when you can count the stars — or, more to the point, you can’t?
Why zoom in tight on things that aren’t happening when so many wonderful things are vying for your attention? Real people love you right now. This creature actually exists. There are six SuperMoons this year. Marcus Mumford and Taylor Goldsmith perform Bob Dylan songs together.*
With apologies to the moon and Marcus and Taylor and Bob, Violet has long been one of my most favorite wonderful things. I’d flounce into Violet’s solarium, call her name, and proceed to be exuberantly screamed at and rubbed. I’d effuse right back. I’d rub her glorious patchwork. I’d sing to her, badly but with affection. And I’d flounce back to my corner of the world, cozy in the fact that Violet was my cat.
Until she wasn’t.
insult to injury wonder to joy, Violet was adopted by a member of the extended Tabby’s Place family. Staff member Josie’s sister met Violet and immediately found her heart wrapped in floral patchwork. It was a fast-track to forever.
Naturally, I handled this with poise and maturity and pounds of aplomb. Which is to say, I cried like a wee little child.
The day before Violet’s departure, I bumbled into her suite and blubbered into her blobular self. Oh Violet! Late have I loved thee! I’m going to love you forever! Ohhh, noiny noiny noiny noin etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum….
Violet opened one eye, unimpressed. Get a grip, lady.
I managed to stop snotting all over her, but continued to vomit words. I love you, Violet. Love you love you love you. Love you.
I swear Violet’s eyes fluttered the following, clear as day: Angela, for heaven’s sake, I am not dying!
Hm. Good point, that.
What happened next was certainly a God-thing. My lovefest with Violet was interrupted by the well-meaning intrusion of Goldie, who only wanted a cuddle. Violet, never a superfan of her own species, spun away from me and hissed Goldie full in the face, pounding him like dough for good measure.
Oh yes. Violet does scorn cats. And she would be going to an “only cat” setting. Maybe this was okay.
Of course this was okay.
If you have any doubts about this, I present to you these photos, taken less than ninety minutes after Violet’s arrival Casa Forever. You can see that she is stressed to the max and pining for me not at all.
In one sense, the Tabby’s Place cats are ours forever. In another, we’re simply gardeners of someone else’s cats for a very brief time.
In every sense, we’re overgrown with love. Bloom on, beautiful ones.
*With assorted awesome friends, no less.