The Odd Squad at Tabby’s Place has zero mere members.
It does, however, have 100 co-captains.
When it comes to “weird,” we have an embarrassment of riches at Tabby’s Place. But even amid this bounty, one cat stands out.
His hair stands on end.
His head resembles a shaggy gourd.
His meow sounds like the love child of an inebriated crow and Amy Winehouse.
He is, of course, Dwayne.
In the Olympics of Odd, Dwayne would be our Michael Phelps, his woolly neck weighed down by gobs of gold.
But it’s been a long road to glory.
Dwayne’s training began in the tee-ball days of TNR. We first met our funky character as a free-roaming cat. We didn’t just “meet” him, of course; we met him, began his training, and entrusted him to world-class coaches. Which is a nice way of saying, we removed his reproductive organs and put him back outside (with fabulous caregivers, natch).
By all accounts, Dwayne excelled at outdoor life. He was happy, healthy and a good teammate. But he had his sleepy green-bean eyes set on gold. This junior varsity stuff wasn’t getting him where he was destined.
So Dwayne got going.
Unbeknownst to us — but, no doubt, well knownst* to Dwayne — there was a marathon in the making. I’m scarcely exaggerating.
To put things in perspective, the average free-roaming cat’s home range is 4.9 acres…but calling Dwayne Rosenberg “average” is like calling Dwayne Johnson “delicate.”
By the time we heard from Dwayne, he’d earned the “13.1” magnet for his station wagon. A befuddled animal control officer called Tabby’s Place, informing us that he’d picked up one of our feral cats (as confirmed by microchip)…seventeen miles away from his colony.
Walking seventeen miles is impressive. Walking seventeen miles when your legs are eight inches long is all Guinness Book-y glorious.
When our rambling man came back to Tabby’s Place, we immediately learned three things: (1) he was unbelievably sweet, (2) I mean, like unbefrigginglievably; and (3) something was seriously strange about his tongue.
Somewhere along his long ramble, Dwayne developed some facial paralysis. This makes it hard to groom (witness those wings), hard to eat like a gentleman (witness the ever-present trail of slop), and impossible to meow like anything remotely feline.
Fortunately, Dwayne isn’t remotely distressed. And, since Dwayne was a Tabby’s Place TNR cat, Dwayne had a safe haven waiting for his winning self and his twitchy tongue. Given his new special needs, we’d have taken him in even if he was spitting fire, but his sweetness is solid gold.
Today, legions of fans aspire to be more Dwaynely. That’s not because he triumphs over FIV; not because he is snuggly and woolly and mountain manly; not even because his voice is 0% feline, 10% dinosaur, 10% human and 80% species-not-yet-discovered.
No. Dwayne’s greatest glory is in his gladness.
Like the grandest achievers in every field from pentahlon to 19th century Russian literature, Dwayne is excited.
Dwayne is excited to be loved, every single time every single person appears.
Dwayne is excited to YELL!!,
every single time yelling is appropriate continually.
Dwayne is excited to eat from every single bowl that belongs to every single eater (more on that in a minute).
Dwayne is excited to meander, weird browny-grey wings of wild dust-bunny fluff flapping all the way.
Dwayne is excited to be.
If this really were the Olympics, humans would be painting their faces browny-grey and waving sloppy dust-bunny pompons. Since it really is Tabby’s Place, we’re doing something better: lazing on the Suite FIV floor, cooing and cuddling and bathing in the tuneful YELLS of Dwayne.
Lest you think our oddest Olympian medals alone, know that Dwayne shares the glory all around. Our gravelly-voiced victor isn’t too precious to loll with the dreamers in Suite FIV. Humans are Dwayne’s favorite, but cats are a close second. He’s been known to shove all his medals under the Kuranda bed just to make an insecure cat feel comfortable. The ground is level in the Suite FIV solarium.
Dwayne may be our winningly weird flag bearer, but cat cannot live on gold medals alone.
Cat cannot, in fact, live on cat’s own food alone.
Close it out for us in glory, Dwayne…
*Not much goes unknownst by cats. Once you know something, you can bet they’ve knownst it for ages. Now you know…nst.