You have heard of the Kitten Room.
You would think, having heard of said Kitten Room, that said room contains kittens, whole kittens, and nothing but the kittens.
But, as aforementioned Kitten Room is contained by the larger bizarro world known as Tabby’s Place, you would be incorrect.
The kittens in the Kitten Room are all kittens, except for the ones who aren’t.
Maybe we’d better start with the easy part. There are, in fact, actual kittens in the Kitten Room.
Aech is a verifiable, bona fide, genuine kitten. By anyone’s definition, so too is his sister Artemis. (The latter may or may not also be the actual goddess of wild animals, but that has not yet been verified.) At six months of age, they are tiny, zippy, irresistible minicats, well deserving of places in a Kitten Room.
Tink, tiniest tortie of palest hue, is smaller than a kitten or a cookie or a pearl. Six months old, she is all kitten, all the time.
Beyond the triumvirate of A+A+T, however, things get a little…debatable.
Is Noodle a kitten? Is ramen a real noodle? Why do pool noodles float?
Um. I mean: is Noodle a kitten? He’s ten months old. He’s no longer what is technically called a “babykitten.” He is a proper teenager. Is a teenager still a child, a kitten?
I’m gonna give this one a loud “yes.” As anyone who has ever been a teenager knows, adolescence can feel an awful lot like childhood, minus the great excuse of being tiny. You can be just as scared — maybe more so — but you’re expected to Know Things and Do Things like chemistry and working at the Gap.
Noodle: definitely a kitten.
But then there’s CornPop. Having crossed the one-year mark — the classic mark of Cat Adulthood, the point of no return to Kittenopolis — CornPop is not, by many definitions, a kitten. She is a catdult. An awkward, darling, orb-eyed adult who looks and acts like she’s not of this earth, still getting to know the terrain and smells of life among cats and kittens and stanky hairless beasts called “people.”
Is an adult still a teenager? Is a teenager still a child, a kitten?
Yes, kittens; we know it’s true.
I should note, at this point, a further complication of this whole Kitten Room categorization system. One of our clearest cases of kittenhood does not live in the Kitten Room. Lucas, age nine months, lives in the Community Room, generally the Province Of Old Pharts. Why? The better for superstaffer Ginny to socialize the scared out of him.
There are kittens beyond the Kitten Room. But more on that in a moment.
Back in the Kitten Room, there is one case of bold, shameless non-kittenry.
At least, technically speaking.
I’m speaking, of course, of one Venga.
Venga: at least three years old.
Venga: afflicted with eyelid agenesis, mended by surgery to create new eyelids, but left with a squint that makes her look like the very eyes of age.
Venga: too terrified to play Jenga with human beans, but we’re working on that.
The official story is that Venga lives in the kitten room because it’s a safe, smaller area for her to heal and hope and learn to trust us. She’s anxious around our kind, but consumed by love of other cats. Accordingly, she’s emerged as a sort of mother among minicats.
The bona fide truth is that Venga is actually a kitten.
Like you and me and 17-year-old Bucca and 22-year-old Patches and the 92-year-old president of Malaysia and all the other overgrown children among us.
Here’s the secret, kittens: every suite at Tabby’s Place is the Kitten Room. Every city on earth is a day care for big little people of all ages and sizes and fears.
Let’s take care of each other, little ones. It’s a big world out there.