If Tabby’s Place is a sovereign nation, the cat suites are more like independent republics than states.
There is no Congress at Tabby’s Place. We are bereft of representative feline government. Suite B cats stay within the bounds of Suite B, and Suite A cats patrol the borders of Suite A, and never the twain shall meet.
Or at least, rarely.
In the annals of Tabby’s Place history, there have always been cats who dream of a unified Tabby’s Place. It may look like Natalie only wants to escape so she can race up and down the hall meowing like a nutjob, but really she’s the Benjamin Rush of her era, yearning to rally all cats around a common dream. It may strike the untrained eye that Toby‘s only reason for busting out of Suite FIV is getting picked up by humans as he scrambles up and down the hall, but in truth he’s a modern George Washington, waving the flag of Tabby’s Utopia.
Don’t tell me you can’t see it. With the right leadership, the Lobby could be a rotunda, where cats from all corners and subcultures could air grievances and solve problems. Say there’s a shortage of Dumb Mice one year. (Every summer, the cats depend on a certain quota of Dumb Mice who wander into the solaria for the apparent purpose of being beheaded. Bonus points for Dumb Lizards, of which we once discovered half.) Speaker Levi would bellow, “The representative from Suite C has the floor.” Virginia would propose a solution: serenade the mice, seducing them by song. Loudmouth Hawkeye would second the motion, offering to be the Serenader in Chief. Ada would demand, “Only if I get a throne made of swords!” Cecille would mutter, “Quelles morons!”
And that’s politics for ya.
In all some seriousness, however, there are rare moments when suites meet and boundaries tumble. For these utopian moments, not just any cat will do. It takes…a Mario.
Mario came from the Patrick Delegation of North Jersey. That means he was on the not-so-utopian list at a high-kill shelter. This is bad enough, but there’s even deeper darkness in Mario’s past. This cat did not always have the name of a super plumber who saves princesses and hangs out with toadstools. Let’s put it this way: in the Patrick Delegation’s six cats, only one had a name unhorrible enough to keep.
That name was Purple. ‘Nuff said.
Hank was Hairy. Patrick was Gaell.
And Mario…Mario was Dreamsicle.
Naming a large male cat “Dreamsicle” = animal abuse. And human abuse. And reality abuse. If you are reading this and you are the human bean who named Mario “Dreamsicle,” I wish you a lifetime of happiness and pudding, but I think you may be a Very Bad Person. Or at least the Gary Busey of cat namers.
But Mario, a true statesman for our time, has shown he can overcome adversity and inspire the Tabby’s Place nation.
Our butterscotch-and-white boy came to us a little bedraggled and raggedy, his teeth a little grizzled and grouchy, and beating a heart murmur of unknown origin. (Ahem. “Unknown origin” = bollocks. If I had been named “Dreamsicle,” I’d have developed a heart condition too. But I digress.)
Yet through the Dreamsicle days and dental drama and more, Mario has never pressed pause on the the sweetness. Our super old boy wouldn’t spit fire even after a feast of fireflowers. He’s been so easygoing, he lowers everyone’s heart rate to a yogafied, delta-wave, Norah-Jones-on-the-radio level of calm. This Mario isn’t making pizzas or squishing Koopas (unless he does that when we leave at night, which is highly possible). He’s mooshing humans, and cats…and uniting the realm.
While most of our cats live in either suites, adoption rooms or Community areas, Mario is currently presiding in a sort of limbo. Mario and his friends have finished their Quarantine period, but Tabby’s Place is at maximum capacity – so we don’t yet have spots in a suite for Mario and his comrades. Meantime, it’s been Mario’s job to keep the peace in the strangest makeshift monarchy of all time.
Mario’s constituency is a motlier crew than the cast of Celebrity Apprentice. There’s Luigi, he of the ever-open mouth and moony moosh-me eyes. There’s Patrick, of the aforementioned mad mad mania (OH MY STARS I LOVE MANIA!). There’s Feral #90, the wildest and angriest madre ever to emerge from our trap-neuter-return work, and her four growing babies. And there’s big-haired, big-hearted Halladay and her four too-orange-for-Ohio babies. (I have no idea where that came from. Take heart, good people of Ohio: I do believe orange is still permitted in the Buckeye State.)
These are twelve cats who would never, ever under ordinary circumstances share a Tabby’s Place suite. Heck, Feral #90 is counting the days ’til she can secede from the republic and live up the “R” part of TNR. (That’s “R” for “Return” and “Renegade” and “Rip humans to shreds if they get near my younguns.”)
But somehow, they’re making it work. This land is their land.
How did it happen? The smart money’s on Mario. And that, amici, is the stuff of dream…sicles.
Photo credits from top: Nintendo, Flangela, Mark, Mark, Denise.