Love covers a multitude of sins.
So does an extra-large Snuggie. But I digress.
I ask you: do we love things/people/cats/salamanders because they are lovable…or is it our loving them that makes them lovely?
Would that weird old amethyst be a treasure if it wasn’t first on your great-grandmother’s hand?
Would that quirky upturned nose attract your affection if it wasn’t on your beloved wife’s face?
Would Tanya‘s spark have fanned into a family’s flame of love if they hadn’t already pre-adopted her in their hearts?
The little calico with the moon-sized eyes had been at Tabby’s Place for 4+ years. Her gasp-worthy beauty was never in dispute. In fact, every time we had visiting photographers and artsy-minded folks at the sanctuary, they were drawn immediately to Tanya. All cats are beautiful, certainly…but Tanya was something out of this world, or at least out of a pre-Raphaelite painting. Gaze at her in person and you’d need to rub your eyes in disbelief: Is that an actual cat, or am I looking into a fresco? Her magnificent loveliness rocked every beholder. Accordingly, there are more fan photos of Tanya floating around the web than Caucasian dreadlocks in a Whole Foods.
But for all that beauty, admiration never grew into full-on forever-home love.
In the immortal words of The Coasters, “She’s pretty as a daisy…but look out, boys – she’s crazy.”
Just as you’re not supposed to reach out and “pet” the oil paintings at the Met, you’re not permitted to reach out and rub Tanya…according to Tanya.
And so the gorgeous girl continued to be admired from afar. In the eyes of potential adopters, being unpettable may be the unpardonable sin.
But love covers a multitude of sins.
A clan we’ll call Familissimo (translation in Italian Italiangela: Mega Molto Family Of Awesomeness) knows a thing or three about kitty “sins.” Familissimo had adopted a series of unique Tabby’s Place kitties: Francis the frightened, Brando the tailless, and Rusty the untouchable (chosen primarily for Brando’s love of him). They’d loved them all deeply. In fact, they’d loved them into large-hearted snuggliness – even Rusty.
I didn’t think too much of a cryptic note I received from Papa Familissimo last month. (Which is a miracle in itself, since I’m good at thinking too much, period.) I’d asked him to write an article on his adopted cats for the next Tabby’s Place newsletter. He did (magnificently – watch your inboxes for that soon). At the end of his touching, wonderful article, Papa F. wrote a sentence something like: “Now, I wonder which Tabby’s Place resident will be next to join our family?”
Hmm. Ponderous indeed.
A few days later, Papa F. came to visit – a regular occurrence for all of Familissimo. This time, he was on a mission. The happy confession tumbled out: they loved Tanya. They’d always loved Tanya. For four years, ever since adopting Francis, they’d been biding their time and loving Tanya from afar. And now they – and their cats – were ready to very likely love Tanya forever.
I sputtered something intellectual like “Blubglubalubba?”
“Yes,” said Papa F. with a grin. “Tanya.”
He wanted to go out and visit with her. As usual, Tanya was radiating beauty in the Suite B solarium. As usual, her orb-y eyes got bigger, orbier and more petrified as we approached. And, as usual, Tanya recoiled immediately. But she stayed in her little bed, allowing Papa F. to touch her…and loudly growling the entire time.
No false advertising from this girl.
But love covers a multitude of sins.
Papa F. continued to pet Tanya. Tanya continued to growl. I slipped out of the room to allow them some private time to bond, in whatever strange way was taking place.
And, in a few days, Tanya had joined their herd of deeply-loved cats.
Tanya’s loveliest days have yet to blossom. She has stepped out of the painting and into the reality of love…and grace.
Above all, love each other deeply…for love covers a multitude of sins.