It would be easier, neater, if we could map all the outcomes before we did any of the intakes.
To play nothing by ear. To get caught off-guard exactly 0% of the time. To hedge every bet, tighten every loose end, prevent — at least anticipate — every heartache.
We lost both “easy” and “neat” a long time ago, though — somewhere between the womb and the first time we chose to love another creature. Perhaps there’s no gap between the two. But we certainly cut the cord to “easy” and “neat” when we opened our foolish, sloppy, soft-boiled hearts to cats.
Especially these kinda cats:
Even as I type that, I realize that there aren’t “these kinda cats.” There is exactly one tabby-and-white widget with this particular soul, this particular set of misfirings and miracles, this particular Tykeness.
Exactly one. Which means the stakes are as high as heaven, and there’s no room for an easy, neat “oops” or “oh” or “sometimes they just don’t make it.”
Far from mapping any outcomes, we’re fumbling through the dark when it comes to our littlest feline. Simply stated, we have absolutely no idea what is wrong with Tyke. As you can see, he can barely move about, a wiggle-worm of a cat who communicates and ambulates solely by mouth and eyes and the arms of anyone who will carry him.
Tyke moved more fluidly when he first arrived, walking and wobbling like a garden-variety cerebellar hypoplasia cat. He’s become progressively more immobile — you might say needier. You might, and you could, so long as you also acknowledged the towering needs that Tyke is meeting.
Since we have no map with Tyke, we have to stay exactly where we are…and be all there.
Since we have no guarantee of next week or tomorrow or this evening, we have to give the entire storehouse of our love…every time we hold him.
Since we have no definite cause for despair…we have to hope.
God willing, Tyke will grow in size. He’s already growing in zest and gusto and glee, that tiny talky mouth snapping like a turtle at toys, slamming shut on anyone who would doubt that he’s a delighted dab of a creature, happy to be alive, thank-you-very-much. As he grows size-wise, we’ll be able to pursue further diagnostics, Linda Fund-style, like MRIs and neurology consults and whatever the Tyke may take to…
To recover? Is that possible?
To remain alive?
It would be easier, neater, if we knew what to hope for. But it’s real, sloppy, living love for a real, wriggly, love-hungry kitten. And so we simply hope.
Every morning, volunteers pass Tyke from lap to lap, trembling and tootling with happy sounds, warm in the hands that adore him. Dr. C and Denise explore options, research beyond all known frontiers, stop their science to kiss the tiny, pointy face that feels far from sorry for himself. We all wait, hold our breath, then let it out in sighs surrendering to love we can’t resist, even if it wrecks us.
Hope with us. Pray. And, if you can, please help tangibly, too. But whatever you can do, love alongside us. We’re all little tykes in this terrifying world, and we can only make the most of the misfirings and miracles together.