Annie is not interested in going viral.
Annie is not concerned with how many retweets she can get.*
Annie is all about the business of living.
The Annie Experience at Tabby’s Place began auspiciously. A certain individual — let’s call him Extremely Bad Man — slithered into our lobby with a carrier in hand and an oily smirk upon his face.**
“Hello!” announced EBM. “I am an unsavory character, and I would like to wash my hands of my cat. Can you take her?”
We’re in the business of keeping families together, so our fearless leader Jonathan made the time to talk with EBM and give him all manner of advice on making things work with his cat. But, Jonathan said, if things didn’t work out, EBM could come back and talk with us.
And EBM left someone behind.
It was a brilliantly sunny day, and I happened to be skipping walking in a dignified manner back from the post office about a half hour later. I spotted a weathered cat carrier in front of our entrance and ran to investigate. Alas, this carrier was carrying one very skinny grey tabby cat.
Lesson learned: never trust an Extremely Bad Man.
But that was all water over the dam now; the skinny cat was here, and she was ours, and we would love her.
Upon seeing our newest resident’s frail form and gigantic gold eyes, we all oozed with pity. Many “poor baby”s were cooed.
But they weren’t necessary. Annie was no poor baby. Bony bod and sad eyes to the contrary, this was a righteous dame.
After approximately 173 years on this planet, Annie has learned to make the most of the time she’s given. The day she cleared from Quarantine and moved to the lobby, she rolled and meowed and preened so boldly that she broke us, and we broke the rules. Generally, when a cat moves to a new realm at Tabby’s Place, she begins in a large crate — all the better to see and smell her weird new neighbors before having to interact with them, and all the better for us to monitor her pooping and eating and other exciting matters.
Annie lasted perhaps 3 hours in her crate, doing desperate performance art, before we crumbled. By “we,” I mean a certain staff member who shall remain anonymous for his lawlessness, except to note that he may or may not be the boss, and his name may or may not rhyme with Ronathan. The instant Ronathan opened Annie’s crate, Annie was out and flying.
With all apologies to wild children like Mimi and Rose, elderly Annie won the record for highest-velocity Tabby’s Place cat that day. On toothpick legs, she covered every inch of the lobby within two minutes, then shot into the Community Room. There was not an ounce of anxiety in Annie’s wild ride — on the contrary, here was a conquering queen setting down little grey tabby flags in each new territory as she claimed it. Within the hour, 50% of our building was in control of the Sovereign Nation of Annie.
And she hasn’t slowed down since that day. Having made the Community Room her center of operations, Annie keeps running — as well as keeping things running smoothly at Tabby’s Place. Is Queen being intolerable? Annie will roar in her face. Are you experiencing writer’s block and glumly hooking all your highlighters together over and over and over again?*** Annie will bounce into your lap and stare deep into your eyes and foist inspiration upon you. Annie spends less time sleeping (and more time trotting) than any other cat I’ve met at Tabby’s Place. But it’s understandable; she is a busy dame, about the business of loving and leading and…oh…
…well, and clobbering cancer. Life is not, in fact, all hee-hee-ha-ha for Annie.
Initially, we’d hoped that Annie’s skinniness and diarrhea were simply side effects of having been in the crummy care of an Extremely Bad Man. Besides, we’ve dealt with diarrhea before. We are diarrhea doyens at Tabby’s Place. Just this evening, Annie returned from a specialist visit. Immediately upon returning, she raced to the litter box to explode some disturbing diarrhea. Except that’s not exactly how it went. Annie attempted to race to the litter box, but one of our staff members — who shall remain anonymous to protect her dignity, except to note that her name may or may not rhyme with Skwayne — was so excited to welcome Annie home that she swept her up into her arms. But diarrhea waits for no hug, and so, well…things got huggy and messy all at once.
Things are messy in more than one way for our Annie this spring. It so happens that Annie does not simply have cancer, but she has a very nasty case of gastrointestinal cancer. Chemo can buy her time and comfort, but the prognosis is not good. At least, so the story goes.
But I’m believing a better story for the cat who believes so ebulliently in life. Would y’all please pray and believe for Annie with us?
*Besides, it is entirely impossible for a lady of such sprawling vocabulary to limit her thoughts to 140 characters. Please.
**Yes, I am selling the drama here for your personal amusement. In all honesty, I cast no judgment upon this gent. I don’t know what’s going on in his life. Neither do you. But we do know that Annie was meant to be a Tabby’s Place cat, and this man was simply her chariot.
***Of course this never happens to me. No, no, no, that isn’t my highlighter tower over there.
Photo credits: Top and bottom by the amazing Jess B. Others by AT.