Cats arrive full of soul and song.
In some cases, they come with personal theme songs.
Magdalene‘s is Run the World (Girls). Thimble‘s is Happy Talk. And George‘s is most decidedly Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.*
Make that simply Hello Fadduh. Once he’d laid eyes on the lookalike dad-he’d-never-had, George saw all the kin he craved.
Somewhere in time, Sequoia may well have been a real biological fadduh. There could be dozens of little orange-and-white saplings out there, with rings of Sequoia’s DNA.
But there’s only one son calling Sequoia top pop — and that’s George.
You’ll recall that George and his brother Johnny Ringo came to us frantically bonded. So they were…until they moved into the Special Needs suite. (Aside: that suite name has become an anachronism, as it’s now more like the Timid, Mentally
Ill Awesome, and/or Didn’t Fit In Elsewhere Suite. I would probably definitely be in this suite if I were a cat.)
All of a sudden, brotherly love was the farthest thing from George’s mind. The little orange-and-white anxiety ball bolted into a cubby…and immediately cuddled up beside his own image.
If this were an Oscar-bait movie, we’d now cue the Weezer soundtrack and close-ups of Sequoia evaluating his bachelor life. He thought he had it all figured out…until a child he never wanted made him the man he was meant to be.
But Sequoia never went through any soul-searching. He’d kept that soul nice and tidy, and he was perfectly prepared for his child of the heart. The bashful bachelor made way for his protégé, snuggling right back into George’s squirmy side. Where once Sequoia’s eyes had been hard, wary stones, the sight of George softened them to golden honey. Come right on over, son; welcome home.
If Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son had visioned felines, it might have looked a lot like this.
You’ve heard the parable behind the painting:
- Bratty Son asks for his inheritance right now: You know, Dad, as though you were already dead. Minor detail that you aren’t.
- Dad says yes, no questions asked.
- BS tramps off, blows it all, Lindsay Lohan-style; ends in spectacular ruin.
- BS trudges back home to ask if Dad will have him back, this time as a slave: I blew it. I’m worthless. I know. Oh, I know.
- Dad races, breathless, fueled by glee down the road to meet him, ignoring BS’s apology to simply celebrate: You’re here! You’re alive! You’re home! Now we dance! YES!**
We call this “the story of the Prodigal Son.” But I’ve heard it said that perhaps this is getting it exactly backwards. Yes, the son is a selfish twit and a failure and yet a blessed boy-child before it’s all over.
But is this story not really about Dad — this lavish, outrageous, entirely “irresponsible” Dad who welcomes the lousy twit home…with joy…even before said twit shows any improvement/de-twittification?
This is surely the story of the Lavish Papa.
Which brings me back to cats.
George is not a selfish twit…but it was awfully audacious of him to assume the role of Sequoia’s son. Put yourself in Sequoia’s stripes. One minute you’re in your Lay-Z-Boy, binge-watching The Mindy Project when suddenly, a strange teenager manifests in your living room, plonks his lanky legs and hormonal odors in your lap, and belches out: “You’re my parent now. I love you. Eerrrrrrrrp.”
Would you snuggle this stranger? Would you say yes?
And a funny thing happened: George, timid, terrified George, became friendlier. With humans. With cats.
Then a funnier thing happened: Sequoia did, too.
Sequoia had spent many moons learning to fear the world. In all his months at Tabby’s Place, he hadn’t been able to shake that scared shell. A few scales shrugged off here or there with certain volunteers, but on the whole his heart was impenetrable as a cannonball.
Then there was George.
Today, Sequoia’s letting us pet him. He’s strutting around the suite. He’s owning his space and his self and his joy.
The Prodigal Son? The Lavish Fadduh?
Let’s call it a draw.
Thank You, Papa, for the love that is the resounding Yes.
*And Adam‘s is Rock Lobster. But, then, we gave up trying to comprehend Adam a long time ago.
**Somewhere my seminary professors are clutching their colossal brains and howling at my under-exegesis. Yes, there is another brother in there, and a whole lot of a lot more to this parable. Go read it for yourself. Seriously, do. Worth it x 100,000,000,000.
Image credits from de top: AT, Jess B, AT, Rembrandt van Rijn, AT.