Tabby’s Place has more quirky neighborhoods than a Brooklyn square mile.
If the Community Room is the Hotel California and Adoption Room #3 is the hippest senior center in history, the Special Needs Suite is…um, well, not exactly the neighborhood in which you want to raise your kittens. Think Rent. Think Chicago. Think 42nd Street before they cleaned it up.
I’ll leave it to Jonathan to spell out explicitly – and I do mean explicitly – what goings-on go down in the Special Needs Suite. Although both Captain and Hooper have been happily adopted (separately) since those incriminating videos were taken, Tabby’s Place’s center suite is still the locus of very public… um… performance art.
And you read that right: this is Tabby’s Place’s center suite. When you first walk into the sanctuary, whether you’re a schoolchild or a senator, the room staring right at you is none other than Special Needs.
Spending my days amidst this earthy, quirky klatsch of kitty neighborhoods, I sometimes forget how strange it can all seem to visitors. I was swiftly reminded this past weekend, when I brought my parents to Tabby’s Place for a visit. No sooner did we walk into the lobby than did Hawkeye and Nimbus begin…erm…beginning. Fortunately my Mom and stepdad have a good sense of humor about all things feline, and found the boys hilarious. Volunteer S.Z., however, watched Hawkeye aghast from the lobby, sternly commanding, “Hawkeye, stop that. Now you stop that right now.” (He didn’t.)
In addition to being shameless, these boys are loud and rowdy. If they were human, Hawkeye and Nimbus would be waving their red Solo cups in the air and regularly yelling, “it’s ON!” for no apparent reason. They run out into the hall if you leave the door open for longer than 1.4 nanoseconds – presumably to find more friends to invite to their party-never-stops neighborhood.
But recently, something’s changed in this most manic of Tabby’s Place townships. Long the province of badly-behaved boys with gastrointestinal issues (which would be an outstanding name for a band), the Special Needs Suite now has…ladies.
No ordinary ladies, either. Blossom may have no colon, but she’s equal parts grace and elegance. If she were a human, she’d leave a waft of Chanel No. 5 in her wake. Then there’s Sage, who’s just one string of pearls short of a vintage Vogue cover. With her luxe long hair and moon-marvelous eyes, Sage is a raging beauty. She also has diarrhea – hence the neighborhood.
And then there’s Rosemary. You’ll no sooner see our terrified girl than you’ll find a single flake of rosemary in a 30 lb. loaf of focaccia. (If you do happen to acquire a 30 lb. loaf of focaccia, please invite me over. But I digress.) But for all her fearfulness, Rosemary is a great lady. Having come to us with Barley and Sage, she’s still settling in, but she’s already made a big impression.
On everyone except Hawkeye, that is.
Old timers don’t take well to upstarts, and when the girls joined the Special Needs Suite, you could practically hear Hawkeye mutter, “there goes the neighborhood.” He still screams like a demon, races into the hallway (screaming), and engages in questionable activities with/to Nimbus. But there’s something decidedly quieter and more circumspect about Hawkeye.
Dare we call it a certain…refinement?
In all seriousness, of course, the Special Needs Suite is as plush a neighborhood as any at Tabby’s Place. Yes, Hawkeye is at the helm of some very strange behavior. Yes, he’s the loudest, bawdiest cat in New Jersey. But he’s also a compact nucleus of nuclear-strength love. Picture those old-time “peanut cans” that open to release giant snakey wormy things. (These things.) Every iota of Hawkeye’s being is tightly-crammed with affection and excitement. He was born to be alive. Sometimes he can hardly stand how exciting this being-aliveness is, and his elation erupts in…well, weird behavior. But he means no harm – and he gets no shortage of adoration.
Classy or otherwise, the Special Needs Suite is one sweet neighborhood. Maybe not fit for viewing by kittens – but sweet nonetheless.
Photo credits: All by JBH except that terrifyingly awesome top thumbnail. I have no idea from whence that top thumbnail originally came, but the internet is generous with its neverending specialness.