The other humans of Tabby’s Place have not permitted me to name a cat since Jean Valjean.
I know. It’s an outrage.
I bestow a cat with the single greatest name in the history of Tabby’s Place, and what do I get in return?
This is especially egregious when you consider that I have — at my own expense — provided Tabby’s Place with a never-ending supply of potential names. To the side of my desk is a calendar marking the feast days of every saint from every obvious and obscure corner of Christianity. Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Coptics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Bapticostals, the gang’s all there. So, for instance, today alone, we could be naming cats for feasty boys St. Honorius of Canterbury and St. Leopardus. St. Leopardus, people!
But be that as it all may, even St. Fabius Claudius Gordianus Fulgentius couldn’t have come up with an apter name for Piper than Piper. Although I suspect her name may have been Orange is the New Black-inspired, all the saints and angels were clearly in on this one.
Piper. Has. Pipes.
With apologies to every bellowing bagpiper in all the land, Piper has the loudest, proudest, “wowwwllllllll”est pipes we’ve heard in a very long time.*
Throughout her quarantine — verily, three weeks of exile to the isle of holding rooms — Piper bellowed and flapped. She sang of the lowlands and the highlands. She hit all the right, wrong, sweet and sour notes.
Piper. Indeed she was.
Until, one day…she wasn’t.
I can’t explain this, guys. But the moment Piper popped free from Quarantine and joined Suite FIV, she turned the page and entered a measure of rest that hasn’t stopped.
The pipes, the pipes are…silent.
Now, the easy explanation would be that Piper simply wanted out of that unholy cage. She was angry and/or frustrated and/or praying to both William Wallace and St. Christina the Astonishing for freeeeeeedom.
But I think there’s more to this melody.
These pipes will pipe again.
At this particular juncture, our tubby tabby is just a little overwhelmed. She’s the new kid in class, after all, and one quirky class it is.
St. Adelaide is five pounds of queen bee, keeping all usurpers in their place, while St. Charlie simply oozes in Piper’s general direction, doing his best impression of St. Olav the Thick. St. Lester is still looking for the patron saint of swinging from the chandeliers while going “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
It’s all a bit much.
So maybe, then, Piper’s just biding her time to bring out her bluster. You don’t bust out your bagpipes on the first day of school. There’s a time and place for being loudly peculiar.
How I wish we could convince Piper that that place is Tabby’s, and the time is “always, immediately, right now.”
But she’ll get her loud back.
Meantime, we’ll meet her in the breaths between the music, seeking her out in the fort she’s made herself behind the cubbies. Piper loves affection — she just needs us to initiate. She loves having her head bumped and kissed — she just needs to tilt it down, as though she’s scared, as though she needs re-re-re-reminding that life has shifted into a major key.
Piper loves the music of this life — she just needs to learn that, this time, it’s going to last.
That’s a song we know how to sing.
*Since the days of St. Hawkeye of Ringoes, to be precise.