Scientists talk about the Law of Conservation of Matter. Scientists talk about protoplasm. And scientists talk about other scientists (you know they do).
But nothing that scientists talk about is as interesting as Betsy. That’s why we’re going to talk about the Law of Conservation of Cats who are Unable to Keep their Tongues in their Mouths.
I’m more poet/writer/garden-variety doofus than scientist, so I don’t presume to understand most of their formulae. But this month, the Tabby’s Place cats have proven a theorem I’m confident is original. If it happens in Ringoes, New Jersey, it must be true: Tabby’s Place: a Cat Sanctuary must have greater than or equal to one cat incapable of keeping his/her tongue in the confines of his/her mouth at any given time.
Don’t believe me? Watch this.
We had Ben. Ben stuck his tongue out all the time. Then we didn’t have Ben. (Heaven’s gain, our loss.)
We had Tashi. Tashi increasingly stuck out his tongue. Then we didn’t have Tashi. (AwesomeAdopter’s gain, our loss.)
We had Harvest. Harvest was utterly unable to keep his tongue in his toothless, ever-talking mouth.
Then, as of this past weekend, we didn’t have Harvest. The tabby with the bologna tongue and the Leonardo DiCaprio-sized ego was adopted. Again we were at a loss (and, boy, do we miss that little dude)…but not for long.
Science was on our side: not an hour shall pass at Tabby’s Place in the absence of a tongue-sticker-outer feline.
Smaller than a breadbox and sweeter than French toast, the tiny calico came to us with a mouthful of monstrosity. Prior to her Tabby’s Place time, Bets was actually (mis)diagnosed with oral cancer. You can’t blame the vet (much); our little old lady cat’s mouth was wince-worthy in its inflammation. And you certainly can’t blame Betsy for not being willing or able to keep her dainty tongue in there. No self-respecting tongue would stick around a neighborhood like that.
Rather than cancer, though, Betsy’s battle was with stomatitis – or, as a true scientist would put it, triple-wretched-dreadful-vile, worthy-of-banishment-to-Siberia-and-bombardment-with-N’Sync-songs-and-a-diet-of-vegan-cheese stomatitis. The specialist who laid eyes on Betsy’s mouth declared it the worst case he’s seen since 2004. (If that doesn’t sound like very long ago, remember this: we all heard Hey Ya! for the first time in 2004. Facebook was only open to Harvard students in 2004. Mumford & Sons were Mumford & Fetuses in 2004. Dobro was -4 years old in 2004.)
The specialist – let’s call him Dr. 2004 – concurred: this cat was in agony.
But “agony” wasn’t evident in Betsy’s attitude. If she was anything, our calico senior was 100% amore.
Not even a scientist could have predicted it: what do you get when you throw one agony-mouthed cat and one snot-oozing 900-year-old cat into a Quarantine room together?
The stuff of Doris Day songs.
Betsy and fellow immune-challenged senior Barley were in love – classy, lasting love. If they were humans, they’d be George and Mary Bailey. He would ask permission before holding her hand. They’d sip egg creams from two bendy straws (whatever egg creams are). They wouldn’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but each other. Barley might have a curtain of snot in front of his nose, but he was her handsome hero. Betsy might be toothless and have an ever-waggling tongue, but she was his dream angel. She blinded him with science.
Love. White picket fences. And even a late-in-life baby for two senior honeymooners. (That’s a stretch, but I’m stickin to it. Jane decided that Betsy and Barley needed a pet, so she gave them a stuffed dog. No need to worry that Tabby’s Place is going to run out of mentally ill, utterly awesome humans anytime soon.)
But all the love in the world can’t convince us that agony is okay – even if brave Betsy hid it well. So she returned to Dr. 2004. This week, Betsy’s mouth badness (scientist-approved term, that) met its fate. Dr. 2004 and his team at the University of Pennsylvania blasted off Betsy’s troublesome tissue with a laser. If that sounds painful, you’re a pretty savvy scientist yourself. Our Bets is on no small dose of pain medication as she recovers, and she may need a feeding tube for a little while if her recovery makes eating less appealing. That’s okay; we’re in this love for the long haul.
Through it all, we know Bets will have her handsome hero. She’s never been more beautiful to him.
And we’ve never been more blessed in the area of Cats who are Unable to Keep their Tongues in their Mouths.