The Lounge has changed.
The Lounge has not changed.
The Lounge is complicated.
Technically, the Tabby’s Place Lounge was not part of the recent renovations that rocketed our cats all over the building. Nobody was booted from the big lunchroom, and nobody landed there as a result of suite shuffling.
But to visit the Lounge today is to encounter a very different cast of characters than just a few months ago. Coincidence though it may be, the Musical Cats of Tabby’s Place have wafted their tunes into the tastiest room of all.
It all began with Felix‘s passing. Still so fresh it makes me wince to type, our water baby’s departure marked a major shift in the culture of the Lounge. The sink went silent; the table no longer thudded as Felix’s lunchtime launchpad.
Around the same time, Raja increased the pace of her slow fade. Years of perseverance finally flickered into a few final weeks, then the goodbye that ripped us all raw.
All the while, Sam was rock-starring his way through serious radiation therapy for serious cancer, returning with funky forehead tattoos and the mother of all feeding tubes.
The one constant in this sad chaos was Katrina, the hyperkinetic hooligan who no one would ever otherwise describe as “constant.” It became quite comforting to see our lithe, leggy lunatic shrieking on the lunch table, tail flippeting, face rubbing and biting at alternate seconds. The youngest cat in the Lounge was suddenly the solid ground we needed come lunchtime. As for her own lunches, it was becoming evident that prescription food wasn’t doing her allergies any favors after all.
When Sam was finally freed of his feeding tube, the first order of business was getting him to eat — anything. If beer-fried nacho pizzas were his bent, so be it. Fortunately, Sam satisfied himself with non-prescription cat food — a new and exotic taste after years on the medical-grade mush. Suddenly, the Lounge was a “regular food” jamboree.
And so suddenly, the Lounge was welcome to cats who needed no higher prescription than Love + Spoiling.
OK, Puzzle‘s posers are a bit more complex than Love + Spoiling can conquer. With lymphoma licking its chops over his little black-and-white body, chemo is called for…but only in close cooperation with Love + Spoiling. And so, Puzzle has become the highest-flying, happy-go-luckiest goof in the Lounge. Where Sam and Katrina keep it cool on the windows and (in Sam’s strange, Sammly case) under the soft-drink closet, Puzzle ascends, scaling microwaves and cabinets to proudly ping his head against the ceiling. Incapable of any expression other than “nutty as Nick Nolte” or “unconscious,” wide-eyed Puzzle is reaching for both remission and redemption from his shy, sad past.
The Lounge is a good place for such goals.
Sugar should know. This 100% natural sweetener sang into our sanctuary with one sad, sour story behind her. At sixteen years of age, she was suddenly unwelcome among the people who had raised her. They were moving cross-country; they were out of options; they were smitten with their “Sug,” but they just couldn’t take her along.
We don’t presume to judge people and the circumstances that drive them to desperation. Human beings can be in “hopeless situations,” too. So we simply set about re-sweetening the little striped Sugar-bear’s life…in the Lounge.
Sug took to her new, nicer-than-Nutrasweet neighborhood in no time. There’s nothing salty about this girl, just genuine, old-fashioned sweetness. (Sugar says the hipsters can keep their stevia and monk fruit extract; she’ll stick with the good stuff. And don’t even talk to her about I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, because she can.) Intentionally oblivious to the other three cats, Sugar will serenade you with the sweetest little meows, well-practiced from some secret elderly feline church choir, until you pet her and powder her with love.
Are the four Lounge cats friends? They’re hardly neighbors, really; if Mr. Rogers resurrected to sing “these are the people in your neighborhood,” I think Sam, Katrina, Puzzle and Sugar would be surprised to make each other’s formal acquaintance. Each one is all about love, food, and spreads of sunshine.
But the Lounge is Love Central for each of these introverts, and its regular food jamboree means life is all kinds of delicious.