Sometimes people thank us for doing great things at Tabby’s Place. “You do things that are great,” they say. “You do them greatly.”
Our hungry egos slaver over this. But the truth is, we could not do a single thing, greatly or pitifully, if not for the cats.
I do not mean that they are our soul and inspiration. Everybody knows that. I don’t even mean that they’re why we do what we do.
I mean that they actually do a whole heckuva lot of the work themselves.
Please don’t call the AFL-CIO on me about the cats’ wages and work hours. The last thing we need is for them to unionize. But it’s a true fact: the Tabby’s Place cats work very, very, very hard.
The epitome of this would be none other than Steven.
The ambery-orange boy came to us as a shriveled raisinet of a kitten, found gasps from death under a car. Uber-vet tech Denise and her minions painstakingly nursed him back to health, with many close calls along the way (constipation! dehydration! being consumed by a couch!).
Through it all, Steve survived. (The couch didn’t.) He made friends. He influenced people.
The only thing Steve didn’t do was master the concept of the litter box. Think of the kid who remembers just enough high school French to make a fool of himself on a trip to Paris. “Croissant! Croque monsieur! Jerry Lewis! Ou est la biblioteque?” he asks the cafe waitress haplessly. “Je suis un fauve sauvage. Un fauve sauvage!”
Similarly, Steve remembers just enough about bathroom propriety to go where one goes…and then, ten minutes later, to go where one doesn’t. He’s not quite an “inappropriate eliminator”…but he’s not quite consistent, either. Some have suggested that he simply forgets. Others have suggested that, after all the inevitable oxygen deprivation in his hardscrabble childhood, perhaps Steve is a little brain damaged.
The truth is, Steve is completely in control. He is, after all, a cat.
Steve knows that, should he begin using the litter box consistently, nothing could hold back the tide of humanity jonesing to adopt him. This would result in his leaving Tabby’s Place.
And this would leave his position unfilled.
Steve takes his work far too seriously to let this happen. While most of us are replaceable, Steve is keenly aware that only he can properly execute the duties of tour guide.
I kid you not, kittens. It goes this way at least 3 times every single week. And it goes a little something like this.
A good-hearted but dimwitted Tabby’s Place human with questionable fashion sense — let’s call her Flangela — is giving a tour. One of every tour’s grandest moments is the big reveal of Where The Tube Goes. Flangela brings the tour-takers into Suite B and points out the long, rising ramp and its mysterious exit hole near the ceiling. “Do you know where that leads?” she asks. At this point, tour-takers worry that perhaps she has forgotten and is asking their help.
But fear not; Steve is here to assist.
At just that moment, Steve shoots through the chute and into the tube between suite and solarium, pausing at precisely the perfect moment for the tour-takers to coo and view his toes from below.
Flangela continues, “And that tube leads…”
Like one of those drive-through banking receptacles, Steve zooms through the tube as though someone just hollered “FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!” behind him. (Note: Daisy probably did.)
“…to the solarium!”
Steve emerges victorious just as Flangela and her tour-takers enter the solarium. Scampering down the ramp, he gazes up at them lovingly…and meows.
Every. Single. Time.
Aware that his adoption may come whether or not he pees where he oughtn’t, Steve has been attempting to execute a succession plan. But Georgie‘s just not getting the point, and Violet is union. So for now, Steve is our sole source of touring assistance.
Remember the next time you’re in the nonmetropolis of Ringoes, NJ: Steve’s Adventures is the only tour company you need. Reservations not required. Head-bonks mandatory.