It ain’t our first time at this here rodeo.*
We’ve had an anxious quintet from Southern parts before.
Pfffft, say you. There are many fearful felines roaming the Southeastern US in multiples of five.
OK, say I. But are there many who travel with their mothers, long after kittenhood has closed, and then churn on up the coast to Tabby’s Place?
But they’ve done it again. Five years after Gerber and her goobers, we’ve had the joy (using the term
incorrectly creatively) of once again welcoming a single mom and her super-skeeeeered smidgens.
Smidgens on steroids.
Smidgens gone gigantic.
Honey, I blew up the smidgens.
Mama Tesseract birthed her babes many, many shoo-fly pies ago. (At this point I must apologize to the good people of West Virginia for my absurd and very likely atrocious free-associations of all things Southern. I’m not worthy of your Waffle Houses, but have mercy on this Jersey dunderhead.)
But we didn’t know that back when we said “Aw yeah!”
In a simpler, more innocent time, c. four weeks ago, Tabby’s Place contacted the same stellar Southern shelter from which we’d welcomed Natalie and Eleanor and their ilk. We had room; did that there shelter have cats in need of a northern passage?
“Aw shucks!” said the Southern shelter. “These here cats have been waiting for your call!” Or something
like that not even remotely like that.
“In fact,” said West Virginia’s wonderful sheltersmiths, “we have a mama and her kittens who we’d love to send on up the big rock candy mountain to y’all.”
(At this point I accept my fully justified lifelong banishment from Waffle Houses. Dies irae.)
“Rootie tootie rock on!” said we, by which I mean “OK!” Of course we’d welcome a mom and her smalls.
‘Cept it turns out, the smalls weren’t small at all.
Oh, and also, in a very minor morsel of a detail…they had murder on their minds.
Our West Virginians weren’t even past the Mason-Dixon before these charming qualities emerged at Tabby’s Place. Mama was what scientists technically call “screaming feral,” complete with screaming and scaling the walls. On a scale from Elmo the Muppet to Osama bin Laden, her kittens hovered somewhere around the Christopher Walken/Ben Kingsley mark.
Not really bad on the inside.
But fully, frighteningly capable of messing you up real good, ya hear?
(My face is now posted inside every Waffle House with the heading: “UNSAVORY CHARACTER. DO NOT ENGAGE.”)
But perhaps I’m being too hard on the travelers from West Virginny. Perhaps they’d be doing a righteous reel of dancing delight…if not for the names with which they were bestowed.
And for that, I take no blame.
I would never throw my fellow staff members under the bus by outing the guilty namers, so I won’t say that Jonathan Rosenberg saw fit to name the cats Tesseract, Tex, Torus, Tagalog and Tensor.
Making matters worse, Tagalog came along with the perfectly respectable, even enchanting name “Tagalong.” But the anonymous Founder and Executive Director named Jonathan couldn’t abide that, oh noooo. Why let a cat remain named for a Girl Scout cookie when she could be named for a member of a people originally of central Luzon in the Philippine Islands? It’s all enough to make Tag’s sister Torus earn her nervous Nietzsche eyebrows.
Yes, longtime listeners; this is the same Jonathan who still snickers and spits and veritably vomits at my having named a cat Jean Valjean.
But the T-tribe is named, and once names make it to The Med Sheets, they may as well be etched into the nearest sugar maple. So, can you really blame Tensor and his tense team for seeking opportunities to make us pay the ultimate price?
I jest (a wee bit) about these here cats. Tagalog and Torus are almost slightly theoretically touchable, and only Tensor is completely consistent in wishing us harm. But all levels of anxiety are understandable for this crew; they’ve come a long way, and it takes time to accept that, yes, you are actually living in New Jersey. What we lack in mountains we make up for in malls; bluegrass gives way to the tuneful debates of Bon Jovi vs. Bruce. Hopefully the five terrified T’s will stop singing “take me home, country roads” once they realize we come bearing pork roll.
But in the meantime, there’s grace for these here goobers. Life has certainly rolled Tesseract and her unchildren.
So we roll with all our homies here at Tabby’s Place, long before they recognize our hominess, even, in fact, if that never happens. Tesseract and her kin are now and forever our family, and there ain’t a dang thing they can do about it, no diggity.
(Waffle House is now constructing a wall, at my personal expense, around all of New Jersey. Moat with alligators to follow.)
So pray for this quivering quintet. And pray for us, too. It’s hard enough to soothe a savage scaredy-cat when you don’t have to drive over 300 miles for the nearest Waffle House. Reckon?
*Do you have someone in your life who uses the expression “this here”/”them there” et al? You know: “I hope you’re willing to share them there Doritos.” “This here fried chicken chalupa is an abomination.” I hope you do, because them there people are reliably rad.