Maybe you’ve done things you aren’t proud of.
Maybe you habitually use more paper towels than required for the task at hand.
Maybe you spent all four years of high school pushing the sousaphone players around.
Maybe you write nasty anonymous letters to Donald Trump.
It’s okay. You are hereby liberated from the tyranny of guilt. Anneke forgives you.
On this most American of holidays,* we are mooning over a cat with a decidedly Scandinavian name. If that name’s new to you, it was new to the residents of Adoption Room #3 first. And if there’s anything that the old don’t like, it’s the new.
So they say, anyway. But they say a lot of things. They say grandparents don’t do dubstep. They say suits of armor for guinea pigs don’t sell for $24,300. And once again, today they’re wrong. The old ladies of Adoption Room #3 are waving their flags for change they can believe in: a new tigery roommate.
If ever there was a cat who should be welcomed, it was Anneke (that’s “Ann-a-kee” rather than “Aneek” — but, heck, it’s Independence Day, so you’re free to pronounce it “Unique” or “Anikey” or “Shmoldie” if you want). Discovered in agony, the elder tabby came to Tabby’s Place with a back that had seen better days. As so often, we infuriatingly don’t know exactly what happened to Anneke in ages past. Then again, maybe it’s a mercy to be free of such knowledge. Could we bear the weight of knowing how a sad-eyed tabby got a spinal injury?
There’s a reason you don’t see domestic shorthairs doing Icy Hot commercials (and it’s not just that they have more pride than Shaq). Cats don’t typically have “bad backs.” But Anneke’s back is as bad as Leroy Brown, and a whole fleet of pirates put together: hold her or turn her the wrong way, and Anneke’s in literal screaming pain.
Perhaps it was a person of infinite darkness. Perhaps it was a tractor. Maybe it was a bear, or a dinosaur, or a yak. We’ll never know. But whatever it was that bashed her back, Anneke has forgiven the past. This is a forward-looking futurist feline. Old age aside, she’s fixed on what’s next, happy to give and receive love, face tilted to the sun and urgently eager to forehead-bump all humans. All humans.
Forgiveness. Freedom. Fullness of joy. Anneke was every inch a Tabby’s Place cat, and the only thing bad about her was that back.
If anyone would welcome such a storied sister, we reasoned, surely it would be the old women of Adoption Room #3. We expected no complaints from Posey, Sylvia, Flower and company. We certainly expected no problems from Anneke herself.
And once again, we were wrong.
In the early days of her initiation to the senior ladies’ suite, Anneke was out to prove something. Whether she thought her new roommates were holding auditions for Kill Bill 4 or she just wanted to prove that, unlike guinea pigs, she does not need any armor, Anneke emerged with guns blazing. There was brawling in the geriatric center. If they’d been humans, lime Jell-O would have been flying, along with saucy language like “oh fudge!” and “fish sticks!”
It was a little ugly. But then…it got better.
That seems to be Anneke’s life mission, really: tough times don’t last, tough kitties do. Perhaps she was just trying to educate her roomies by generating some, um, tough times.
At any rate, the tough times are over, and free breezes are blowing through Adoption Room #3. Anneke has settled in and is fully one of the girls at this point, regularly perched beside Posey or Ali…until she spots a human forehead in need of bumping.
This Independence Day, perhaps an old cat can teach the humans new tricks.
*I am aware that Tabby’s Place has generous homies on six out of seven known continents. Antarcticans, for the love of tectonic plates, please make yourselves known.
Photo credits from top: wonder-volunteer Jess; someone by the name of mightys0x; Flangela.