Update for Chickadee

Update for Chickadee

Dear Supporters of Chickadee:

When the folks at Tabby’s Place first asked me to write for Chickadee, for some reason I heard Chickpea, so I trotted off to Tabby’s Place one Thursday, knowing I was going to be missing a few Friday’s–the usual day I volunteer–and I wanted to meet Chickpea and get a sense of her. So I came into the lobby with a few details–the cat’s name (of course, I had that detail wrong), and word that she resembled Cali, a calico friend of Lily, a cat I used to write for. I also knew Chickpea had a neurological issue, and she wobbled a bit when she walked.

As I’d been driving over to Tabby’s Place, I’d been running through my mind all the cats that hang out in the lobby–all the cats that had any trouble walking, and the only one that came to mind was sweet little Gabriella, who I visited every week. Gabriella wasn’t Chickpea. Who could the staff be referring to? Had I missed a cat? Some shy reclusive furry creature who had been there all along?

Why is it that I was beginning to have so much trouble meeting the cat that I agreed to write for?

Well, after scouring the lobby, I finally gave up and sought help. Sharon cleared up the mystery. CHICKADEE not Chickpea. And, equally important was the location in this case—COMMUNITY ROOM not lobby. Ahhh.

In the Community Room, perched on the ledge (quite precariously, I thought, considering the background of this four-year-old calico), Chickadee gazed out the window. “But I thought she had trouble,” I thought, though it turns out I was wrong again.

Now, Chickadee is not the most graceful of cats when she walks, but she had no trouble on the ledge or hopping up on other higher objects in the Community Room. Yeah, she wobbled a bit, like a girl who is permanently tethered to a tightrope and forever has to maintain her balance by shifting back and forth, like we all do. Only her movements are less subtle, since she has cerebellar hypoplasia (CH).

What is unusual about Chickadee is how she greets the world. But, then, I was a friend of Polly , and if anyone is used to quirky, growly cats, I am. And I spent years being half in love with Lily and for all her “you’re my best friend/then not” attitude, I figured Chickadee couldn’t scare me away.

Her growl when she means to purr is quite endearing, once you get to know her. She is quite an independent soul. In fact, the first time I seriously struck out to meet her and make contact, she began to purr immediately, sniffed my hand, and then rolled over on the the chair she was lounging on and showed me her belly. “What a friendly girl,” I remarked to Angela. And then she growled, which can be quite intimidating, since a growl usually means something terrible is about to happen. With Chickadee, however, it means perhaps only a slight change of mood.

It seems that one of the other cats in the Community Room had wandered over and invaded Chickadee’s space, and like a general gone to war, Chickadee fully intended to guard her territory. The other cat backed off. Oooh, I thought. She means business. And then a myriad of strange sounds starting coming from Chickadee. I continued to pet her, but it was hard, at that moment, to get a read on her. I sensed our special moment had passed. It was time for me to retreat, also, and try again on my next visit.

Socially, she’s a bit of a goofball, but medically, Chickadee is doing just fine. And I want to thank you for your continued support and generosity, which helps Tabby’s Place care for such wonderful creatures as our Chickadee.