Whenever one of us would say Zatarain‘s name “normally,” the same way you might say “river” or “house,” Denise would gently correct us by saying it the right way: “Zaaaaa-ta-raaaain!” Yes, this little cutie is named for the rice, ”a New Orleans tradition since 1889.”
Since being born 120 years after his namesake rice, Zatarain has lived a sometimes-sad, always-spicy, ultimately-sweet life.
Act One was The First Abandonment. A kind-hearted rescuer found two orphaned kittens, Basmati and Jodhpur, who ultimately made their way to Tabby’s Place. Little did their rescuer know that there was a third sibling, Zatarain, left behind, all by himself in the big, wild world.
The Reunion would follow, though, when Basmati and Jodhpur’s rescuer found the lonely third littermate, Zatarain. But no sooner would the trio be reunited, than Zatarain would taste a new and bitter spice…being shunned by his own siblings. When their not-so-long-lost brother was placed in their crate, Basmati and Jodhpur unanimously agreed to ignore him, and adorable, patch-faced Zatarain hunched over sadly, by himself, in the corner.
Kittens will be kittens, though, and Jodhpur and Basmati gradually came to warm to Zatarain…just in time to get adopted. Zatarain was alone again.
Well…not completely alone. He had his throngs of adoring Tabby’s Place humans, as well as the worm-that-isn’t-a-worm.
Yes, the next act was to be…Ringworm. Now, our little Oliver Twist of the feline world had to spend three long weeks quarantined in a crate. Maybe Zatarain wasn’t as forlorn as we were, but, goodness, it was hard to see this little love sequestered from all the other kittens, alone in a holding room. No amount of reassuring Zatarain (or maybe reassuring ourselves) of his belovedness could make us feel okay with his being alone again.
But, ringworm doesn’t last forever, and freedom finally found our little guy. It was a day for multi-species glee when Zatarain moved out to the lobby to become Chex‘s roomie. Understandably, Zatarain himself was a bit too overwhelmed by his (yet another) new environment to make the most of it at first.
Zatarain spent his first two or three days in the lobby acting more like a mole than a jazzy kitten, burrowing under blankets in his condo or hiding under Tashi‘s hydrotherapy tank. It was quite a sight to see Zatarain hiding fearfully under his blanky, with teensy Chex, half Zatarain’s size, perched beside him, eagerly waiting to play.
But Chex never got his wish to play with Zatarain…because a certain forever family beat him to the punch. In a merciful turn of events, Zatarain’s angelic face and profile were featured in a local paper’s “adoptable cat of the week” feature, and we received a torrent of phone calls about this baby boy. One lucky, just-right family arrived that very afternoon, and within a few days, Zatarain was jazzing things up in their home.
It’s been a long and bluesy road for this sensitive love-bug. But, I think it’s safe to say that Zatarain’s story has finally taken its decisive turn for the sweeter. And, clearly, the clarinet-playing fella on the Zatarain’s box shares our glee at Zatarain’s much-deserved, long-awaited happy ending. 🙂