There are things you don’t believe until you do.
And once you do, my sweet stars, do you ever believe.
The madness of King Matlock is such a thing.
Adopted barely out of infancy, the Matlock we knew was mighty close to being The Perfect Cat(TM). Cuter than a chipmunk in a hat; playful but not predatory; lovable to the outer limits of the universe…Matlock was made for adoration.
Still is. Always will be. That goes without saying.
But when Matlock made his first tour of Tabby’s Place, no one was saying, “hey, have you noticed he’s 500% bat-guano crazy?”
In Matlock’s defense, Matlock was a Wee Little Kitten (WLK) last time around. Kittens are expected to be at least 250% bat-guano crazy. If they’re not, this is a medical deficiency that must be addressed. Matlock was a perfectly normal WLK.
But WLKs become Great Big Adults (GBAs), and the same levels are not so easily accepted. Whether it was his madness, his urinary issues, or some unholy alloy of both, Matlock’s people could not take their GBA another day. They returned him to Tabby’s Place.
After we finished beating our breasts and wondering what we could have done differently — standard Tabby’s Place staff procedure following a returned cat — we got down to the business of mooshing Matlock’s face. GBA, WLK, whatever anyone might say, Matlock was still every inch The Perfect Cat(TM).
Surely everyone would see it the same way.
Then came the day that Matlock made his case to Suite B. As a GBA, he was out of Kitten Room contention. As a healthy young yodel, he was made for the room of mirth.
And as his first official act as King, he made mincemeat of many neighbors.
Matlock was a madman, and all the floodgates to his frenzy were officially unlocked. Our little yodel had grown into a yowling yahoo, at least around neighbors he deemed sub-super-duper. He wanted to play, not pulverize, but that got lost in translation to other cats.
All other cats but one.
It seemed Matlock found his own unlikely criminal defense attorney in one Cheddar Rosenberg. As his cuddle/clobber-buddy, Cheddar was very much Matlock’s match. As the sole witness to Matlock’s well-meaning ways, Cheddar was the one who could exonerate King Mat before all his scared subjects.
And as his very best friend, Cheddar was the fellow WLK gone GBA who could connect with Matlock’s merry, maddening madness.
It would be a stretch to say that Matlock has settled down in the months since his return. He still has a bad habit of underestimating his own strength/scariness/ability to make cats scatter. (“Wha…? Where’d everybody go?”) But through the patient friendship and sanity-restoring smackdowns of a true friend, he’s learning that all-growed-up doesn’t mean all-funned-out.
It helps that we love him like mad.
Matlock, it may not fly in a court of law, but you’re invincibly innocent in our eyes, and our hearts are eternally unlocked to you.