Not every cat has an epic oratorio bearing his name.
Then again, not every cat is Elijah.
In one sense, that’s a good thing. If every cat was Elijah, there would be a global food shortage that would put us all in peril.
But although the appetites of all those Elijahs might leave the world hungry, we’d be blissfully distracted by…well, their sheer Elijahtude.
Hence the oratorios written for our boy. (What, you mean to tell me that Mendelssohn was writing about the Old Testament prophet, not the Tabby’s Place resident? Bollocks. And again I say: bollocks.)
It’s fitting that this black-and-white colossus bears the name of one of the Bible’s wildest and wooliest men of valor. That Elijah had to face 450 screaming, squawking, self-mutilating false prophets. (And people think the Bible is boring – talk about bollocks. ;-)) This Elijah has faced our very own prophets of punk, Dobro and his minions.
Fortunately, unlike that Elijah, our Elijah hasn’t earned himself any death threats. Or been fed by ravens, or set anything on fire. Yet. (And unlike those prophets, Dobro et al are on the side of all things good and holy…well, maybe not all things.)
Still, our Elijah, like his holy namesake, knows he’s the resident oddball. Dobro, Beta and company mean him no harm – he’s not a human, after all – but Elijah’s taking no chances. As the token friendly cat in a suite of humanphobes, Elijah’s a little nervous. Just this morning, when I went in to visit the Suite A social network, I saw a very agitated Elijah thumping his tail in the tube that connects the suite to the solarium.
The poor guy must have sauntered outside, only to find – egads – that his path back in was strewn with strong personalities. After some pitiful meowing and a few rounds of anxious tail-drumming, he finally mustered his might and made a mad dash, hurdling over a half-asleep Dobro and Beta and nearly slamming into the roadblock that is Oscar. Following a visit to the litter box, our portly prophet was ravenous for affection, meowing and head-butting up a storm. He practically sang his own oratorio. (Luciano would be proud.)
But just like the Elijah of old, our fella is in for a surprise. Elijah The First thought he was the only white hat left in Dodge City Jerusalem, only to hear from God Himself that there were seven thousand other good guys in the neighborhood. Elijah II seems to think he’s the only nice cat in Suite A; wait until he finds out there are seven thousand several others. (I am now visualizing seven thousand cats in Suite A. God save us.)
There’s the landmass-sized lump of love himself, Oscar. There’s timid, totally-awesome-looking Jambalaya (who would have been more appropriately named “Mild Vanilla” or “Unsalted White Rice” - but more on him next week). Both of those boys dig human beans just as much as Elijah.
And, if we’re defining “nice cat” in the broadest and most accurate sense, there are no sub-nice cats – no false prophets – in Suite A. Not a one.
I can hear the protests. No, the vast majority of people/cats/life forms would not define as “nice cat” a creature who behaves like…um, well, this:
But who are we to bar entry in the nice-cat coalition to those cats who are simply not “nice” to us? Even the punchiest personalities in Suite A (and B, and C…) have a heart for someone. For Elijah, it’s humans. For Dobro and company, it’s cats. For those rare, chock-full-of-quirks characters like Halie (who seems offended by the existence of anything alive), it’s…well, who knows? (Far be it from me to presume what goes on between Halie’s ears.) But it’s something - and somewhere in that something, there’s beauty and love and genuine niceness.
I’m willing to take that on faith even if I can’t see it. And I’m willing to love ’em all until their beauty bubbles up to the surface…no matter how they choose to show it.
Meantime, pardon me – I have a black-and-white prophet to go moosh.
Sneak preview: Next week, you’ll meet Elijah and Jambalaya’s traveling companions. Although Julie and Burdock are living in different suites, they came with Jambalaya and Elijah from the same north Jersey shelter. I hereby officially open this thread to your guesses as to what Burdock and Julie are like. No cheating if you’ve already met them! 🙂