Hello kissy

Hello kissy

120729-sabrina-by-jbh-1After you’ve loved >1 cats, you learn to stop using expressions like The Nicest Cat In The World.

You might think the first cat you love is undoubtedly the nicest. And you are undoubtedly right. But then your heart meets its second cat.

120701-sabrina-by-janeSo maybe you’re just lucky – both of the cats you’ve now known and loved have been extraordinarily nice. Lucky you. Blessed you.

Then along comes cat #3. And #4. And #1,193 (that’s the number we’re up to at Tabby’s Place). All of a sudden, well, butter my brow and call me a biscuit – it turns out there are at least 1,193 Nicest Cats In The World.

There are as many kinds of “nice” as there are ways of being a cat – and no two cats are cats in precisely the same way. So at some point you stop comparing cats and realize: every cat is a world unto itself…a world in which she is the Nicest Cat In The World.

Still, if we were going to call a single feline the Nicest Cat In The World and Webster gracefully declined his worthy title, it would be well-nigh impossible not to hand the award over to Sabrina. (It’s also well-nigh impossible to find people who say things like “well-nigh.” But I digress.)

Sabrina in the arms of Jane
Sabrina in the arms of Jane

Sabrina’s early days were decidedly not nice. I wasn’t there, so I can’t know the details, but there was a construction site, an accident, a kitten, a catastrophe…and the next thing we knew, the tiny white wounded warrior arrived at Tabby’s Place with an injury so horrifying, even stout-hearted men couldn’t bring themselves to look at it. (Not that I would be so indiscreet as to name the stout-hearted men who had to look away. Especially not when they may or may not be certain Founders and Executive Directors who are my boss, and whose names rhyme with Ronathan.)

Whatever happened to this little ball of babyhood, it was ugly. Tiny Sabrina was at Tabby’s Place for mere moments before we rushed her to the emergency vet.

Once there, baby ‘Brina lost that mangled front leg – but found a fawning admirer. One of the vet techs who helped save Sabrina’s life lost her own heart to the timid kitten with the big purr. Sabrina, we hardly knew ye before adoption whisked you away.

That was over four years ago now. Let’s think of it as Sabrina’s sojourn to Paris, where she learned the laws of elegance and grace and all things ooh-la-la. Like another Sabrina, though, our girl wasn’t meant to stay in France forever.

Yes. The onetime-wounded kitten is back.

Again, I wasn’t at the scene of the sorrow, so I only know broad outlines of what happened. There was another cat, a clash of personalities, a dark turn towards “inappropriate elimination”…and the next thing we knew, our beautiful “tripod” kitten was back at Tabby’s Place, this time as an adult. This time, her leg was fine; it was her heart that had borne the latest wound.

Hidey-hole musings for Sabrina
Hidey-hole musings for Sabrina

Once Sabrina cleared from Quarantine, it was an easy decision to move her to the Lobby. Getting to live in the Tabby’s Place Lobby is a little bit like finishing third grade and being told that, instead of having to go to fourth grade, you get to go to a bouncy castle where marshmallow Fluff and crumb cake grow from the walls and unicorns whinny rainbows from their nostrils. Actually the Tabby’s Place Lobby is sweeter.

The Lobby, therefore, is a good place for cats who’ve been dealt an especially raw deal, whether a scary diagnosis or a heartbreaking history. After losing her family of five years, Sabrina was a shoo-in for this cushy piece of real estate.

Sabrina’s no slouch in the seriousness department, so she spent a few circumspect days reviewing the situation. A square bed with a hidey-hole became her haven, and she’d crane her big moon-face out to look around and think and muse.

Out of the hidey hole...
Out of the hidey hole...

And then she made her decision: this was a good home.

Having decided this, Sabrina was ready to let loose her not-so-secret identity as The Nicest Cat In The World.

We can’t and won’t judge Sabrina’s previous people, because it’s clear she learned a whole lot of love from them. When you pick Sabrina up to hold her, immediately she begins to hold you. She’ll wrap her entire being tightly around you, surprisingly maternal for a never-mommed kitty, as if she’s reassuring you, it’s all going to be okay. This uber-hug is all the more amazing since she’s missing an entire front leg. Remain in her embrace for more than 0.004 seconds, and Sabrina will unleash her secret weapon: the kitty kiss.

I don’t mean nose-bumping. Many cats do that, and it’s awesome. But this is different.
I don’t mean licking. Many cats do that, too, and it’s divine. But this is different.

I mean kissing you full on the mouth. With her nose, her licks, her robustly-rubbing round face. Sabrina wants to inhabit your love and envelop you in hers.

And she will have her way.

...and into the lovefest (with JM, of What A Good Cat glory).
...and into the lovefest (with JM, of What A Good Cat glory).

Was this Nicest Cat In The World born this way, or raised with such sweetness that love is all she is? Yes. In the nature/nurture debate, I’m staking my claim on the “both” side. Surely such a sweetheart was born with maple syrup (if not marshmallow Fluff) in her metaphorical veins. But, whatever happened at the end of those five years in “Paris,” it’s clear this cat was loved well in the interim.

And for that, we will be forever grateful. And so, I predict, will be Sabrina’s soon-coming forever family. The Nicest Cat In The World doesn’t stay unadopted long.

PS: Top thumbnail by Jessica, second photo (Sabrina in her hot rod bed) by Jane. The subsequent photos would have had 10,000% more awesomeness if they’d been taken by a gifted photographer such as, say, Jane or JM of What A Good Cat fame. But Jane and JM were busy loving on Sabrina, so you’ll have to take what came out of my camera. Thanks, J & J, for posing with this nicest of cats for me. I know it was hard work. 😉

8 thoughts on “Hello kissy

  1. beautiful blog and an even more beautiful little cat — what a love and I cannot wait to hug her and get some of those kisses for myself (and sneak her into my handbag and just happen to find her when I get back home…)

  2. I have to second Karen, I might just smuggle that sweet baby out in my purse! What a little lovebug!!! And a really beautiful post introducing us to her!

  3. Hooooooooooly. This one just melts your heart. What a beautiful girl – inside and out. You’re right, Angela. The kitty kisses are great! What a spirit she is to have been thru what she has been thru and still be so loving.

  4. Ok, so I thought I had adopted “The Tabby’s Place Nicest Cat in the World” when I brought hunk-o-cat FUZZY home! But I must admit, SABRINA just stopped me in my tracks on Sunday, and I melted completely, right where I was standing! It’s tough being a volunteer at Tabby’s Place. You have to try really, really hard not to want to take them all home. You try to resist. You tell yourself you already have enough cats at home, it would not be fair to the others, your house is too small, your days are too long, you have other responsibilities. You try to live by your head, not your heart. You leave THAT at Tabby’s Place, when you leave your favorite behind each week, hoping he will still be there when you get back, and that he has not found another “love” to offer him a home away from Tabby’s Place. If the legendary CUPID agrees with your choice and strikes, the battle of willpower is over. Done. Finished. Most volunteers succumb eventually. We just can’t help ourselves! I don’t think it will take SABRINA very long to win someone over! Best of luck, you charming little girl! In the meantime, you have THE BEST of homes, right at Tabby’s Place!

  5. Great post Angela!
    I noticed Sabrina in her kitty house on one of the lobby chairs as I was finishing my laundry room chores on a recent Tues. I was drawn by her distinctive markings (the cute brown nose), she immediately reminded me of our sweet little girl (Lucy) who we lost last month. Sabrina greeted me warmly, and I was smitten ! I grabbed my phone to get a pic to share with my husband. I totally agree with the comments above, about the ‘risks’ (and benefits) of volunteering at Tabby’s Place !

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