Not all freedoms deserve the name of “liberty.”
You are technically free to eat cup after cup of Floam. No one can legally stop you from watching Pootie Tang on a continual 24-hour loop. And our Founding Fathers secured for you the right to walk around Manhattan with pretzel rods in your mouth while telling people you’re a walrus.
Similarly, little Liberty technically had the liberty to die.
The tiniest of tabbies flirted this unholy “freedom” twice. Found in the cab of a truck, skinny, starving Liberty was a few non-meals away from her demise. Happily, she was plucked up by life and love, and she and her platoon of siblings came to Tabby’s Place instead.
This is typically the point at which the story turns decisively happy, with no glances back. But Liberty had one more shot at “give me liberty and give me death” before she’d be done.
In standard operating procedure, our vet team scheduled Liberty and her clan to be spayed/neutered around 8 weeks of age. Ninety-nine-point-nine-nine-nine percent of the time, this is so routine as to be a non-event. (OK, the kittens might disagree. But you get the point.)
Zero-point-oh-oh-oh-one percent of the time, cats take liberties we don’t like.
Following her spay, Liberty wasn’t quite right. The whole “waking up” thing eluded her, and as she stumbled to consciousness, she saw…nothing.
Liberty was blind.
It’s approximately as rare as a bad apple pie, but it happens; cats can have wretched reactions to anesthesia. Little Liberty did.
Denise and Dr. C worked furiously, coaxing the tabby’s body back to normalcy. C’mon, Lib. C’mon, Libby. Come around…
But you cannot convince a creature to be made free. Think of a two-year-old who MUST CLIMB THE CUPBOARDS NOW. Think of a pop star who must ride a wrecking ball. Think of you when you were about sixteen and must have thought it was a good idea to put your hair in 1,000 tiny braids (more Foolio than Coolio).
We couldn’t convince. We could only pray.
Ultimately, Liberty — and the love that would not let her go — chose wisely. Her gaze began to clear, and the world reappeared in all its glory. She was reclaimed by the only freedom that’s real: the freedom to be what you are made to be. And a kitten is made to be nothing so much as a ball of pure joy.
But don’t take my word for it. Just this week, two full years after Liberty’s perils, we heard from her elated adopter:
“I adopted “Liberty” from Tabby’s Place in November of 2011.
“Madison, as she’s now known, had come to Tabby’s Place with the rest of her litter at a very young age and been bottle fed. Madison also had a slight complication and temporarily had went blind when she was fixed. You may remember her.
May? May?? Our hearts are not at liberty to ever forget…
“I pass Tabby’s Place from time to time and have always wanted to stop in. However, the timing is never right. I’ve attached two pictures of Madison: one from when she was at Tabby’s Place as a kitten, and a more recent picture of her as an adult.
“I know a lot of the staff was very fond of ‘Little Libby,’ as they had called her, and I just wanted to share an update on her and let everybody know that she is perfect (and very spoiled!).
“Madison loves her brother, Willie (a rescue beagle mix), and she is extremely social. She sleeps at the end of my bed every night… and I sometimes wake up to her on my head or cuddling. She is the sweetest, most personable cat and I couldn’t be happier.”
Nor could we, AwesomeAdopter. Neither happier nor more free.
Photo credits from de top: Karina c. 2011; ubervolunteer Jess c. 2011; Liberty/Madison’s AwesomeAdopter x2.