When someone loves the Tabby’s Place cats, it makes me happy in my heart.
When someone loves the Tabby’s Place cats so much that it bubbles over in words, it makes me very happy in my heart.
And when someone’s words overflow into a grand guest blog post, I’m HIMH to the hilt.
The following comes from uber-volunteer Florie. Enjoy the heart-happiness:
“I used to arrive at Tabby’s Place for my Friday afternoon feeding shift at 4pm, as requested, and stay until about 5 or 5:30 at the latest. It took me quite a few weeks until I was relatively calm about the process of feeding the Suites, with all their special needs and supplements.
“After arriving for my shift, it’d take a few minutes for my brain to shift from my day job of troubleshooting Linux code (all you geeks out there know what I’m talking about) to herding cats…which is, in some respects, quite a leap…and yet in others, not a leap at all.
“It took some time for me to learn which cats needed which types of food or supplements, and the more serious divisions of food delivery, such as who needs to be crated to ensure he only eats diabetic safe food before his insulin injection. Soon enough, though, I was an old pro, and I was practically on auto-pilot. Who needs those pictures in the feeding binders? I know Charlie from Virginia and Pepita from Sam.
“On my little merry way I’d go with my plastic tray of rectangular paper boats full of a veritable buffet of assorted wet foods. I always had specific names written on the specifically prepared paper boats, more for my own conscience than for the cats themselves. Have you ever tried explaining to a room full of 18 cats that only one specific cat, the cat whose name I so carefully wrote on that one particular paper boat, is permitted to eat out of said paper boat? Yeah, try it sometime. ‘Futile’ does not even begin to describe. But I try, as we all do, to make sure the cats get the food meant for them based on their needs.
“And as my familiarity grew, so did my free time at the end of my volunteering shift. This gave me more and more time to spend getting to know the cats in the Adoption Rooms, Community Room, and Lobby, and to work with my socialization assignments. So many furry friends, so little time…
“As the months went by, I grew to dread hearing Volunteer Coordinator Karina call out, ‘Ten minute warning!’ This meant she’d soon be locking up for the night, and we all had better boogie so we leave before or with her. It soon got to the point where staff jokingly threatened to lock me in for the night if I didn’t hop in my car and drive ahead of the folks locking the parking lot gate.
“Side note: the thought of being locked in overnight is still amusing to me, more so depending on how overtired or punchy I am on any given Friday. Just the concept of a feline-only version of the Night at the Museum movies is somewhat hilarious. What does happen at Tabby’s Place overnight, when all the humans leave? I bet we could all come up with some amusing anecdotes…
“Anyway, I am the first to admit that I’m the slowest person alive in general, especially when it seems when it comes to leaving gatherings. I’m notoriously the last one saying goodbye, or the one, coat in hand, having a quick chat with someone I didn’t get to talk with yet. My poor wife is typically waiting in a running car while I’m still lollygagging for goodness knows what reason. However, Tabby’s has brought out a new platinum level of lollygagging ability in me.
“How can I leave when there are still so many tiny furry bellies that need to be snurfed? When there are still so many older and injured cats that need to be gently snuggled and cooed to? So much love to spread amongst my kitty besties who enjoy being loved on, and so much patience I want to share with those who are still learning to trust us nutty humans.
“And lately, as many of you know, Tabby’s Place has been going through a huge construction transition, which the staff has taken as an opportunity to do some much-needed rearranging of kitties in the Suites. So I’ve kind of been like a newbie again, learning who’s in which room and who’s transitioning to which diet, once again feeling those flop sweats as I get nervous about sorting through all the new details. Since I need that extra time back for my actual feeding duties, I’ve started arriving earlier to protect my free snuggle time from that dreaded ‘ten minute warning.’
“Earlier and earlier, I find myself arriving at Tabby’s to make sure I have my precious lobby play time with Tanzy and Sapphire, or so I can sit with Skittles in the kitchen while she purrs softly in my ear. My time at Tabby’s is helping me heal through some things that I didn’t honestly know how to heal from. I am so grateful to each and every furry healer that I spend my Friday afternoons with, and for all of them, I will keep stretching the boundaries of my shift and my heart.”
All photos and awesomeness courtesy of Florie. Our cats could take ten million minutes of you and still crave more. You’re better than all the paper boats in Peoria.