There is a note on my desk reading, “Everything is really, truly OK.”
You might say we whisper this over every Tabby’s Place cat.
That would be half the story.
Half the joy of Tabby’s Place is parenting. We do not use the word “fur baby” idly, nor do we see ourselves as mere monorails for fish mush and insulin.
We are in the business of love, the limitless kind that laughs off logic and gravity. We are uncontrollably unconditional, cherishing every cat as a child.
As long as little ones languish anywhere, every day at Tabby’s Place is Mother’s Day. We gather the gasping and the grieving under our wings, human hens with wild whiskered chicks. We comfort the fearful. We heal the sick.
We love every life as the meaning of life.
We mother the Grecca-geriatric and the Pickles-new. We stand between Lynette and the schoolyard bully named diabetes. We sing lullabies to Denali. We hold Poncey‘s hand through the valleys of FeLV. We read storybooks to Ash and Snowy, and every one ends, “Everything is really, truly, OK!”
In fact, when you translate Tabby’s Place — the laundry and the kisses, the intensive care and the extensive patience, the solariums and the fundraising, the felt mice and the alpine feelings — into “cat,” you get something very close to, “Everything is really, truly OK!”
We are in the business of birthing beginnings.
Sometimes we get to begin at the very beginning.
This was the case for Marchand, smaller than a harmonica and mewing a dirge. Days into life, the hour was late. His mother was missing, his umbilical cord still attached.
There were no siblings by his side, no strength in his almond-sliver body.
Marchand was one kitten, a broken biscuit with no credit to his name but his cry. Many would say there are more important tasks at hand, more efficient ways to change the world. You will not get anywhere fast, loving one by one.
You will not live at all, doing anything less.
There is no hope for a newborn alone, and no reason the brash, grasping world should notice. But Tabby’s Place is not quite of this planet.
Tabby’s Place is the mothership for otherworldly mercies.
The moment we got the call, every letter of T-A-B-B-Y-S-P-L-A-C-E spelled H-O-P-E. Within the hour, Marchand was our Grand Marquis, welcomed with fanfare, swaddled in warmth, mothered by many (selfless foster mamas Bree and Drew chief among them).
Improbably, outrageously, audaciously, everything was really, truly going to be OK.
This is the whole dream behind our Cherish the Kittens Fund Drive, of course. We are daring to believe that you are made of the same motherly material, that a single Marchand marshals your mercy. We are trusting that you can’t live with the thought of a kitten unloved, that you will love like life depends on it.
You might say we hope that you are rather like a mother cat, and now you’re getting close to the full story.
Mama cats love with the strength of a hundred Hulks, as selfless as angels and as gentle as dandelions. Even when they are threadbare and threatened, starving and spent, they give every breath for their babies.
Patches panted for comfort on the street, her speckled belly heavy with futures. A single stray cat can’t expect much from a world of busy people, important folk flexing their egos and stepping over hungry inconveniences.
But the triplets wrestling inside of Patches got a message outside. Through the motherboard of mysterious mercies, the quilted queen became a Tabby’s Place cat.
Woven at once into a golden tapestry, Patches felt like a kitten. She’d landed with J.G., foster mother extraordinaire. Patches’ needs would be met. Her meows would be met with the harmony of hugs.
Everything was changing so fast that the only thing beyond question was: everything was finally, really, truly OK.
And soon enough, Patches would give birth to three treasures who will never know a world that isn’t really, truly OK. Briar, Berry, and Pumpkin took their first breaths in the atmosphere of grace. They will never know the thin air of street life, nor the thick question, “is love just not for me?”
In Tabby’s Place nursery school, they will never learn a lightweight definition of “family.”
They will have as many mothers as there are smiling eyes to shine upon them.
They will have as many ancestors as there are cats who have been cherished in these halls.
They will have one brother whose double-helix may not dance with theirs, but who thoroughly belongs by their side.
That’s right. Patches has adopted Marchand. Instantly. Affectionately. Unconditionally.
This tiny family makes us so grateful, so giddy, so golden, they make the whole whirly world feel…safe.
Once again, the story is told: we’re not the main mothers here.
In giving us the chance to love, the cats are our caregivers. You might even say they’re our lifegivers.
Much as we cherish the kittens, they will always be a few mewling steps ahead of us.
To love is to live, and to love the littlest is to live large.
Please love with us today. (Your donation will be matched, too.)
Everything is really, truly, OK.
What happy, blessed, baffled children we all are.
Happy Mother’s Day, Tabby’s Place family.