That doesn’t mean three and a half years is anywhere near enough.
It’s been just about that long since Precious first came to Tabby’s Place. She’d been in the shelter system for quite some time, and at eight years of age, the origins of the name “Precious” were well hidden behind her wary eyes and “trust no one” attitude. It would be fair to say that Precious’ name at that time was aspirational – or, better yet, a leap of faith. There was no question that Precious was precious, in that one-of-a-kind, handmade-by-the-Creator, worthy-of-love kinda way. Objectively, she was as precious as a Precious could be.
Subjectively, you’d be wise to keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times when visiting Precious. (Assuming you were looking to keep them.) No one really believed what one human bean remarked – “Precious…isn’t!” – but initial encounters were still jarring. Her name was Precious…but her attitude was Angry.
That was all three and a half years ago.
Precious had been shuttled around like a pastel hot potato for all of her recorded history. Her surly, standoffish first impressions ultimately earned her a spot on her latest shelter’s List Of Doom. But a miracle shot like starshine through Precious’ history three and a half years ago, marking a sharp divide after which everything would change.
Precious dodged that List Of Doom, booking a ride to Tabby’s Place. She brought her battered attitude. After all, human beans were the same the whole world over – why would these latest beans be any better than the previous dozens? It would be our challenge to convince Precious that she was finally safe to show her soul.
That’s where the volunteers came in. Over three and a half years, H.A. led the charge in Operation: Persuade Precious. Three and a half years ago, H.A. saw little fruit for her efforts, but she was undaunted. For the love of Precious, she’d happily stand on tiptoes in Suite A, talking softly to the leery calico.
The ice began to crack, then melt, then shatter off in boulder-sized chunks. With the love of H.A. – and too many amazing others to name – Precious’ guard came down. As she let the love and mooshes (mountains of mooshes) in, starshine shot out in all directions. At last we saw what faith had always believed: Precious had exactly the right name. Her luminous heart was finally at home in a love she could not lose.
Not even to lymphoma.
It’s staggering that it’s been fifteen months since Precious’ diagnosis with that mean disease. Few cats last so long – let alone live fully even as the greedy disease ravages the body. As she dwindled from eleven robust pounds to scarcely five, Precious’ affection and starshine only grew. At the soul level, the little calico took up more space at the end of her life than ever before. To walk into her suite was to be in the presence of a great soul, one set on making up for lost time as she gave and received love. Humans and felines were equally dear to Precious, and her hard-won, head-butting love made you feel uniquely cherished.
And so it was that, just three and a half years after being discarded yet again at a shelter set on euthanizing her, Precious left this world surrounded by a standing-room-only crowd of staff, volunteers and cats (Precious’ longtime devotees Mango and Hootz). Once, no one wanted her; today, she’d made so many hearts feel wanted that you could barely cram us all into her suite to say goodbye. The cat whose heart had been frozen by human coldness left us in an invincible summer, and it was she who warmed us most of all.
Precious, you were one of the great ones. We will miss you until we meet again, and love you for life everlasting.