There’s ample room for many voices at Tabby’s Place.
And even the ones whose songs surprise us.
If you look at Bleu, your brain immediately hears a sound. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong one.
The boy is beautiful. The boy is robust. The boy is…enormous. Understandably, your brain will assume that he’s a basso profundo.
Once again, however, a cat has confounded a human brain. (Don’t take it personally. It’s their job.)
When this colossus of a cat opens his mouth, your ear will expect Barry White, but it’s Barry Gibb you’ll get. He may be the size of a Volkswagen, but Bleu’s voice is better fit for a bicycle. With training wheels. And streamers.
For all his enormous girth, Bleu sounds almost afraid to speak.
Meep! Eee! Eep.
It’s as though the mighty cat still pictures himself looking like this…
…rather than this:
But don’t you worry, kittens: we’re working on Bleu’s self-image, one lovefest at a time.
When Bleu (along with sister Feta) was returned to us, he was rather petrified. Once again, the scarediest of cats came from a home. It seems that cats who have been in the shelter “system” for awhile are quicker to roll with the changes and let us love ’em than the ones who have just been expelled from a home. It makes sense: if you’re leaving a crowded “kill shelter,” even the unexpected is an upgrade. We see this in fearless explorers like Patrick, who are elated on arrival. It’s like they’re leaving Mordor; whatever this strange Place of Tabby may be, it can only be more magical than what’s been left behind. You know – and you’re right – that there are far, far better things ahead.
But evicted housecats don’t know. After a life of relative stability and things like couches and ceramic dishes shaped like fishes, “different” can feel an awful lot like “loss.” Kill-shelter refugees can easily sing the music of the spheres — surrendered housecats worry that they may never sing again.
Time and again, it’s the housecats who come to Tabby’s Place hiding and hissing, scared and scarred and spinning with broken trust. Even if their journey to Tabby’s Place was paved with love, all they see is loss.
I like to believe that the fearless cats, the freak-flag-flyers and loud-singing hams, are just the “vocal coaches” our shy surrenders need. Amidst the post-traumatic stress of being surrendered, Bleu has met such celebratory cats as Sam and Eek (not to mention Cecille, who’s more than happy to make him feel like an American in Paris: “Quelle énorme chat!“) Their happy-heartedness has a way of getting stuck in your head (exactly like the Thrift Shop Song, except completely different). Between these loudly-joyful influences and a whoooooooole lot of skritching from the humans, Bleu’s finding his voice.
His tiny, little, squeaky, fabulous voice.
The best is yet to come, Bleu. And, Felis Catus folk, that goes for you, too. There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
Photo credits: All ultravolunteer Jess, except Petite Bleu (taken by Danielle) and the cat that ate St. Louis (unknown person who is surely awesome, and very, very brave: source).