Certain creatures have been known to hide.
Naked mole rats. Slow lorises.
Scared cats. Scared humans.
Two autumns ago, amidst the chaos of Snowtober, Tabby’s Place wrested Jeannette and Melanie out of hiding. Along with their six adoptive siblings, these elderly ladies had suddenly joined the Tabby’s Place family through the Guardian Angel Program. Bereaved of their beloved dad, advanced in years, and entirely unsure of what we were all about, the girls hid.
However, for cats who aren’t so shy that their name is Shy, hiding generally loses its appeal. So it happened for the two old girls. We rejoiced to see them play and explore and roll around in the brave new world of Suite B.
Then came the delicious opposite of hiding: adoption. When gentle Melanie found her home, we would have thrown a fiesta if the sound of our singing wouldn’t have sent her back into hiding. Once again, she had a person. Once again, she was wanted and chosen and claimed.
Until, once again, she wasn’t.
The news crashed over us: Melanie “hid too much.” Her new person did not want a cat who was “under the bed all the time.”
I can smell the smoke coming out of your ears. I can see your exasperated comments forming now. But hold on now.
Maybe Melanie’s adopter was weary of joy that hides. I wonder if her own happiness had been hiding from her grasp for far too long, peeking out in glints and glimpses she could never touch. Perhaps she desperately needed a purring balm for her sorrow. Weary of the search for a hope she couldn’t hold, she just couldn’t bear a cat who eluded her reach.
We weren’t there. We didn’t know her ache. And so, no questions asked, Melanie came back.
Melanie is still back, still serene at Tabby’s Place, and not hiding one bit these days. We believe she’ll find her home yet. We believe she’ll dare to emerge next time. When something is right, you don’t hide forever.
But in the meantime, Melanie’s lady-in-waiting, big-eyed Jeannette, may offer a taste of bold inspiration. Here I hand things off to Jeannette’s own adopter:
“When we first adopted her, Jeannette was so shy that we renamed her Hide-y.
“But Hide-y has been with us a little over a year, and, as you can see has become quite comfortable taking over the house. We adore her, and I know in my heart she was at Tabby’s Place so long just waiting for us to adopt her. She has just recently warmed up to my husband and will sit by his side on sofa or on the bed.
“She is so funny. Every time she hears the fridge door open, she is at her dish looking for food. Her favorite thing to do is to drag her fishing pole all over the house, including up & down the stairs.”
Her favorite thing, it seems to me, is to be where she belongs, free and seen and held and fully alive.
When it’s right, we don’t hide forever. And eventually, even elusive joy finds us all.