Funny thing about change: it happens.
You can leave the place you’re at, but a change of scenery will change you.
You can stay absolutely still, but the same old setting will keep shifting.
And, if you’re Hildegarde, you can be a cat the size of a monument, but change will make you feel very, very small.Hildegarde must have felt like she swallowed the wrong cake from Alice in Wonderland this summer.
One day, Hilde was living large as the great, big, glorious companion to a doting human in a happy home.
The next, the human was stolen by death; the home was a closed door; and Hilde was shrunken back to the naked vulnerability of infancy.
No hope. No home. No one to hold her.
It was a cruel summer.
I’m not certain just how long Hildegarde flailed in the limbo between love and loss. But it’s clear she was battered by the changes. By the time we heard of Hilde, her diabetes was out of control, her fears were enormous, and she was suffering from some strange, frankly disgusting phenomena that I will not describe here. (No, I will not. No, not even if you ask nicely and bring me heirloom tomatoes and sing Roll Away Your Stone. Suffice to say that it was horrifying, mortifying, and more disturbing than Kid Rock singing “I’m Every Woman” in a sequined unitard.)
Change is inevitable. Change is hard. But change somehow, always, ultimately opens up to hope, somewhere down the line.
Hildegarde’s blurry, bereaved line led to Tabby’s Place. Ever since then, she’s been growing back into herself, her hope, her future.
Since she weighs approximately 140 pounds, Hilde is a resident of our Weight Management Suite. This means that she’s gone from being a cherished solo cara mia to a single feline on the fat farm. As survivors of their own swerving stories, Hildegarde’s roommates — Macaroon, Virginia, Lorelai and their ilk — haven’t the time for the pain of a newcomer. With their struts and their sweary loud meows and yowls, they tell her, whatever happened to you, you’re here now. Buck up, buttercup. This place is all kinds of rad, except that the war criminals deny us food for six whole hours a day. And you’re going to be okay. YOU’RE GOING TO BE OKAY, <EXPLETIVE>, OR WE’LL BEAT YOU DOWN UNTIL YOU ARE OKAY!!!!
Changes churn on. Hildegarde tiptoes towards “okay.”
Or, more precisely, she stares towards it. As you might suspect from her monumental physique, Hilde is not big on cardio. She’s taken to a triangle-shaped cubby, her lookout window for watching the world change into something she can handle. But reach in that triangle and you’ll find a face already ready for affection. She’ll roll her bulbous head into your hand, owly eyes watching for your love like sailors watch for morning.
And morning always comes.
Hilde is the kind of cat who makes Tabby’s Place grateful to be…well, Tabby’s Place. We’re not every shelter (any more than Mr. Rock is every woman), and we can’t do everything. But what we can do and do do is take the cats who would otherwise go untaken.
The diabetic ones.
The terrified ones.
The charred-by-change ones.
So we’ll watch and wait and wonder with her, however long her night of mourning lasts. There’s insulin enough, love enough, patience enough to chart a path. Hilde’s learning this, reclaiming her largeness from head to toe.
Well, almost. Even as Hilde steps back into her full glory, one thing remains miniscule: her ears. Somewhere in time, Hildegarde outgrew those particular parts, and they just never caught up.
That’s more than okay. Through changes and questions and kittenly ears, we’ll ride the wave together. Because the only way love will change is to grow.
Photo credits from de top: Sara, Karina, Ancient Painter Iconographer Person Whose Art Google Said We Can Legally Share, AT.