Update for the TNR Fund

Update for the TNR Fund

Gretchen returns to Tabby’s Place

Happy February, valiant Valentines.

You should know that Tabby’s Place lives by its own schedule. You might say we take hold of the calendar, shake it out like a dusty old quilt, and let the holidays cover the year like a plush carpet.

This is particularly the case when it comes to Valentine’s Day. With due respect for February 14th, we wake up and celebrate love’s power every morning. If the world is a truffle, Tabby’s Place is the nougat. If the world is a garden, Tabby’s Place is the red rose that resists the wind and ice.

Tabby’s Place is love on four hundred legs, and that’s just the cats.

The world wrinkles its brow. Surely, there must be a limit. Kindness is lovely, but even chocolate has an expiration date.

To which we say: the world has so much to learn about love.

Gretchen and her babies eight years ago

I would like to send the world to Professor Gretchen, a visiting professor at Tabby’s Place this semester. If that name sounds faintly familiar, you’re not imagining things. Eight years ago — half a lifetime, by the feline calendar — Gretchen gave birth a few miles from Tabby’s Place. But toils and snares somehow separated her from her newborns, and disaster bared its fangs.

By the time we met the shivering kittens, it was almost too late. They had huddled for warmth in the mud beneath a shed, only to land lifeless in our palms. It is a testament to our vet team, to the daily re-occurrence of Valentine’s Day, and to a mysterious great mercy that the entire litter survived. Your donations powered our staff through the perilous hours, and all five kittens resurrected.

But not even this was the “Mother’s Day Miracle” of 2016.

The report was halting. A cat had been found, painted in the same cookies-and-cream as the kittens. Could she possibly be their mother?

Against all odds, the littles all lived (and now all thrive in adoptive homes)

Have you ever seen hope restored before your very eyes?

Mama Gretchen embraced her kittens with the love of a thousand lifetimes. She nursed them to strength and forever homes. She made it abundantly clear she did not want any “mothering” from us. And, when her selfless duty was done, she returned to a devoted caregiver, free to frolic like a kitten for the rest of her days.

These past eight years, you, dear sponsors, have helped to care for Gretchen. She has never missed a meal, and her winters have been warm with sturdy shelter under the watchful eyes of love. But a few weeks ago, those eyes welled with worry. Gretchen was limping. The greatest of mothers would need some emergency “mothering” after all.

Thanks to you, Mother’s Day came early. Gretchen came “home” to Tabby’s Place, and she became the sweet center of our attention and affection.

Because of you, Benvolio will be his adopter’s Valentine every day for the rest of his life

She was admittedly less than impressed with all the stupid Cupids swirling around her. Although I am certain she is grateful for all we’ve done for her family, Gretchen has no desire to report to Sunday dinner at our table. She is as feral as a leopard, with no appetite for our kisses.

Still, she knows she is loved.

She knows, as her pain subsides and her bones heal.

She knows, as strength swims through her veins and fills her big, brave heart with fresh courage.

She knows, as eight years of memories whisper wild “I love yous” without words.

She knows, because you gave.

We often say, “once a Tabby’s Place cat, always a Tabby’s Place cat,” and I can’t imagine a mushier Valentine. The promise is as present to our TNR cats as the tabbies under our roof. We care for them all, warm in an unconditional quilt. We are one big, sturdy community of love, and we will always be here for each other.

That’s all because you’re here.

One last Valentine treat: remember our bashful New Year’s arrival Benvolio? An adopter of uncommon kindness saw all the way into Benny’s beautiful heart and said “yes.” That’s right. Benvolio has been adopted!

Thank you from the depths of my wonder-struck heart, dear sponsors. Happy, blessed, beautiful Valentine’s Day to you and your beloveds.

Huge hug, your mushball correspondent,