The moving of cats is a delicate matter.
Perhaps that’s why we decided to do it all at once, to approximately 30,000 cats. Nowhere was our prudence and patience more evident than in the Community Room.
Longtime members of the Felis Catus reading community will recall that the Community Room was once The Big Giant Office. In the time before time, it was the Rugged Meeting Room, and that’s rugged as in carpeted, not rugged as in Liam Neeson. The vision, in that young and foolish time, was that the Community Room would be a catless zone for human work.
Young and foolish, like I said.
One cat moved in, then two, then three, then north of ten, and the rug became rugged as in a Nalgene bottle that’s made 400 trips up and down Everest. And been pooped upon. So the rug was ripped out, the cats prevailed, and the humans hunched over seemingly-smaller desks in a seemingly-shrinking room that was no longer quite right for much of anything.
Post-renovations, the Community Room has reclaimed its rightful title and purpose. With just three sleek desks tucked into the back, and a colossal conference table for morning volunteer meetings/feline grandstanding, it is a cats’ raceway, cuddle zone and sea of sunshine all at once.
This upgrade pleases our feline overlords.
Perhaps most pleased by the new digs is one Henrietta. The barely-five-pound princess of Adoption Room #3 was always a sunshine soaker, but in the Community Room she has an entire wall of windows in which to further bleach her grey-black-goofball fur. Rare is the day when Hen is not hot to the touch, a baked brisket covered in wild long curly-ish hair.
But Hen’s not the only happy heart in the new, true Community Room. Henrietta’s fellow former AR3-er, Luna, has found so much more to live for in this wide, wild, human-heavy room. Loopy Lu was always excited to see visitors, greeting them with trills and hugs and serious bites. But the Community Room has changed her life, what with its daily invitations to the morning volunteer meetings. On spring-loaded tiny toes, Luna will launch from one lap to the next, in search of the longest and tastiest human hair. If you let her, she’ll snuzzle, suck and consume large quantities of your mop, hugging her long white arms around you until her eyes turn pinwheel-y and it’s time to bite and move on.
But Luna duels for laps with Juliana. Where Luna’s signature weapons are her teeth, Juliana works with a primal yell that crackles the fresh paint straight off the walls. Your lap is open? “MAHHH!” The sky is blue? “MAHHH!” Veggie Straws are on sale? “MAAAHHHHH!” Your lap is occupied by another creature? “MAAOOWHHHHHH$%@!-smack!” Juliana is five pounds of hollering, happy huggitude, and every lap is a charming conquest.
Not every cat in the Community Room was a clear choice for such communal living. Part of the whole “make-the-adoption-rooms-into-offices” enterprise involved evicting the adoption rooms’ inhabitants. (And re-victing them to more victorious digs, natch.) This meant the Community Room welcomed not only the ladies of AR3…but also the daft dizzy doofuses (doofi?) of AR1.
Max was Tabby’s Place’s first bona fide psychiatric case, way back in 2008. Surrendered to us for violent self-trauma, we soon learned that Max was prone to “other-trauma” on a grand scale, too. Years of patient work, including one zoned-out Himalayan therapy cat, brought Max to a place of calm but carefully-maintained peace in the Adoption Room. As long as very little changed around him, Max could live a contented, genocide-free life.
Moving to the Community Room would be the biggest change in Max’s life in a decade.
There could be blood.
Truth demands that I confess there was growling, prowling, low-to-the-ground Navy SEAL behavior, with special screams between Max and Luna. But within mere days, Max was stretching full-length on the conference table; ignoring his many neighbors, mooching for attention, making the most of sunshiny life.
Any account of the new Community Room would be incomplete without mention of The Paraplegics. Fully 66.7% of Tabby’s Place’s paraplegic population resides in the Community Room. (Olive was invited, but she [a] attempted to murder everyone and [b] is really needed as our official lobby greeter, anyway.) June (pictured in top thumbnail) and, now, Pixie, hold court in the Community Room, skittering around feet and competing for highest sponsor count. (At the moment, Pixie is scrambling circles around June, so if you’re looking to help a honey out, jump aboard the June Jeep.) Pixie may have more sponsors, but June still wins the climbing contest, ascending and descending cat trees like an inky acrobat.
And truth be told, the life of the Community Room cats has us all flying high.