Any self-respecting 3-year-old can tell you that the grouping of objects is easy.
Round pegs all go into round holes. You don’t put violins and armadillos in the same category. And, if you do, your friends on Sesame Street will remind you that “one of these things just doesn’t belong.” But how does one go about grouping cats?
To paraphrase my homeboy TS Eliot, the grouping of cats is a difficult matter. Different felines call for different strategies at Tabby’s Place. In some cases, temperament rules the day. With one exception who shall remain unnamed (let’s just say her name rhymes with Zatalie), Suite B is the catch-all for easygoing cats who have no trouble getting along with felines and human beans. Suite C, on the other hand, is generally home to cats who love cats (again, one exception, whose name rhymes with Finy) but who may be a bit less certain about the human sort.
In other cases, Special Needs dictate the groupings. Suite FIV is home to the gregarious gang who theoretically could transmit their virus to other cats via deep bite wounds. (Truth be told, most of these mellow fellows and ladies are more likely to begin speaking perfect Cantonese than to savage another cat – but we like to live on the safe side at Tabby’s Place.) The Community Cats earn their high honor by being the sorts on whom we’d like to keep a close eye due to their conditions. (OK, every crew has an exception, and in this case it’s the glamour girl whose Special Needs are mild, but whose intolerance of felines makes suite life impossible. Her name? Well, it rhymes with Zeachy.)
But of all the ways we’ve ever grouped cats, there’s one that’s never been a consideration: color.
Yes, Suite C is the land of seven black cats, and, yes, Suite B is a rather tabby place. But it’s never crossed our minds to make an all-tuxedo or all-gray room.
Not exactly, anyway.
Call it an accident or comical fate, but Adoption Room #1 is earning the nickname of Suite Marmalade. Since Zinnia and Petunia joined Steve, it’s been all orange, all the time, and the trend is continuing even now that the flower girls have been adopted (together – yes!).
Little Steve, the bashful snuggle-bug kitten with the bad bathroom habits, has just acquired a somewhat surprising neighbor. I’ll give you three clues: he’s orange, he’s adorable, and he’s not ready for his close-up.
You guessed it: Dobro.
Now, before you call the Department of Kitten Services on us, rest assured that Dobro is quite wonderful with other cats. Unlike humans, cats are a welcome sight to Dobro’s wary green eyes, so Steve is likely to find a friend in his marmalade mentor. (As you can see in this photo, Dobro also provides a very welcome “service” to feline friends like Precious, who shared his previous suite: any cat who hides with Dobro will make it very difficult for the mean human vet team to give them ooky medications. I wouldn’t exactly call Dobro the feline mafia, but…)
Now, two cats does not quite a trend make. So, to really seal the deal for Suite Marmalade, a third ginger guy was needed.
Adopted as a pocket-sized mini-cat several months ago, orange Hunter was not a face we expected to see back at Tabby’s Place. This little ginger guy must have gotten some kit-e-mail to the effect that Steve felt lonely and marginalized as the only kitten in Ringoes with chronic inappropriate elimination. From his own adoptive home, Hunter heeded the call…and proceeded to begin doing his business where it had no business being done. In a flash, Hunter was back at Tabby’s Place…and slated for Adoption Room #1. As I write this post, Hunter is nearing the end of his quarantine period, and should be joining Steve and Dobro around St. Patrick’s Day. It’s our hope that Adoption Room #1’s wall of 5 (yes, 5) litter boxes, each filled with a different type of litter, will help retrain Hunter, even as it’s sloooowly stemming the tide of Steve’s peeing-on-the-floor/couch/chair incidents.
What are the odds? In 6+ years of Tabby’s Place history, we’d never had a single kitten with intractable inappropriate elimination. Why now? And why two?
Could Steven and Hunter need one another’s company? Might their gleefully low impulse control and kitteny trust be precisely what Dobro needs? Who can tell what might unfold for the trio in Suite Marmalade? Will Dobro teach Steve and Hunter to be vicious, while Hunter and Steve teach Dobro to pee everywhere, as Jonathan half-jokingly predicted? Or will something a bit more beautiful unfold?
My money is on the latter. In the meantime, suffice to say that we’re smitten with this suite, and their story has only just begun. Stay tuned.