If you are a living creature, you may have some questions.
What is life?
Why are we here?
What ever happened to justice, and mercy, and pudding pops, and Nickelodeon Gak?
Maybe, dear living creature, you’ve been chided for your questions in the past. Questions are dangerous, incendiary things. Maybe someone has tried to douse those flickers.
But take heart: cats have room for all your questions.
As it happens, they have some questions themselves. That’s truer of no cat than Katrina.
Katrina’s burning question today: Why the LOUD EXPLETIVE am I in the EXPLETIVing lounge?
Oh, Katrina. If only you knew what we knew.
You know many things, Katrina, many things far beyond our grasp. You know, for instance, what it’s like to be one of the “too many” in that frantic feline refugee center, New York City Animal Care and Control. This ain’t no Ellis Island. This isn’t even the line to get a wristband at a Kendrick Lamar concert. This is madness. This is desperation. This is every effort being not enough.
You know what it’s like to be on the bubble.
You know, too, what it’s like to pop through that bubble, thinking you’re on your way to the end of all ends…only to end up in a strange new beginning.
When you came to Tabby’s Place nine long years ago, Katrina, you may have thought it was a sort of death. What you knew in New York wasn’t good, it wasn’t safe, but it was known, and in questioning times the known is a hug, even if only the cold pseudo hug of a vise.
You know, Katrina, what it’s like to wring life out of your questions. As you got over the grief of losing control, you got to the business of making new plans, hammering out a new path, a you path, a hurricane-force path to Tabby’s Place stardom. In a matter of months, you went from being Cat #E29107 to KATRINA ROSENBERG, known and loved and feared just a little bit.
Maybe a lot bit, sometimes. You knew how to bite, how to lose your gourd, how to pitch phenomenal fits.
You knew more than we did, though. You knew — you never ceased to know! — how to love you. You taught us how to love you. You couldn’t get enough of yourself, and soon enough, neither could we.
You even knew how to get yourself adopted, once, briefly. You didn’t know — how could you? — how to stay in someone’s heart and home, so soon you were back to the known gnarly world of Tabby’s Place.
And for the last seven years, you’ve known how to stay…exactly…where…you…are.
Katrina, somewhere along the line you gave up knowing how to burn. Your old anger calmed down to coals, and you forsook ferocity. But with all that went the greater glorious knowing that made you you. You pretended to forget your essence, shoving it — and your stripey, torbie, tempestuous self — into the triangle-cubby of Suite B. There you stayed. You asked no questions; you asked no favors; you asked no sympathy.
So you can’t know why we’re answering you now, and in this EXPLETIVing way.
But for all that we don’t know — and Katrina, our species knows so very, very little — we knew that you were fading for all the wrong reasons. We knew you needed a new call, a new dream, a new path to glory and mystery and life abundant.
And so, Katrina, we moved you to the Lounge.
You have questions. I understand. Your questions have thus far been expressed in growls and spits at Felix (who admittedly deserves them, the old lech) and Chester (who doesn’t, at all). That’s OK. Ask on. There’s a greatness to your questions, even if you are scaring the volunteers.
And there’s a greater greatness to you — because you are getting to know yourself again.
Your hazelnut eyes are awake today, your long lean self all twitchy with interest. You’re not happy — not yet — and we know that. But you’re again asking, living, in the hubbub of holy happening hurly-burly life at Tabby’s Place.
Katrina, perhaps this is what you need to know most of all right now: we still know you.
You’ve not been forgotten.
Nine years wasn’t enough to move us — even pinball-headed peons that we are — on to flashier things.
You’re still new and numinous and utterly known at Tabby’s Place.
Dear Katrina, lovely living creature, ask all your questions. We can’t answer them all (I’m sorry, but I can’t help you out regarding why Batman and Superman and Captain America and Iron Man can’t seem to get along). But we will hear you and walk with you and love you and know you at every turn.
We’re in the wild wondering together.