We do a great deal of wrestling at Tabby’s Place — with ideas, that is, not with alligators or each other.
But perhaps it would be easier to grapple with alligators than some of the conundrums around here.
Do people change? Can even the most despicable doers of dastardly deeds be redeemed?
How about cats? Can ferals go friendly, and can anger-balls become babycakes?
The short answers would be: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
The long answers, however, would be: Slowly, and with difficulty. Yes, at great cost. Sometimes. If they so choose.
In other words, it depends.
It depends on the soul. It depends on the cat. It depends on the sort of story that’s being lived out. And in our bravest moments, we have to admit that we don’t know all the places a story will go along the road to where it’s going.
The ladies have much in common. They are both TNR alumni. They hail from the same rambling feral colony. Their rich, Russian Blue-y fur suggests some shared DNA.
And they both acted so sugar-sweet when we trapped them that TNR became TNTP: Trap…Neuter…Tabby’s Place.
There they part company.
Blanche, righteous and elegant, settled right into Suite C like a feline Maggie Smith. She knows she’s past her youth, but she’s equally sure that this is her prime. These are the good old days. Blanche has never been more sure of her beauty or life’s loveliness. There’s nothing feral about our dowager countess.
Sneaky, a sleek young thing with a Cat Fancy face and her whole life ahead, would seem set to be on top of the world. We loved her instantly upon arrival and haven’t ceased loving her. It would be easy to roll the whole world up in her paw if only she wished.
But Sneaky doesn’t seem to know what she wants.
No, that’s not entirely true. Sneaky wants human beings not to exist. Sneaky wants to break the chains of love. Sneaky would rather sing “In the Ghetto” at Carnegie Hall every night for the rest of her life than have to live in Tabby’s Place one more day.
She’s now one of our sponsorable cats for the Special Need of “extremeshyness,” and Tabby’s Place’s own special ops team is socializing her with all their might. But we can’t help but feel that Sneaky’s chosen to change…back.
While Blanche went from feral to friendly, Sneaky went from feral to friendly to feral. Now we’re all hand-wringy about what’s next. Are we doing right by her to keep her here? Is there reasonable hope of socializing Sneaky to the point where the life we want for her — indoor, adored — is a life she can love?
I don’t know the answer. But I can guarantee you that all our wrestlings wriggle up from a well of love so deep we can’t help but hope and pray that Sneaky will sense it sooner than later.
Now where are those alligators?