In winter’s waning grey days, it is important to eat your colors.
This is true even if you take your Flintstones vitamins. This is true even if all you want to eat is cherry licorice.*
Fortunately, Carrot is here for you.
Being several hundred merciful miles from the tundra known as Boston, I hesitate to whine about winter in Ringoes, NJ.
But wherever you are, I trust you’ll agree: this is the time of the season when we all start feeling desperate for color and life. Trees are brown. People are pallid. Christmas cookies are stale, but St. Patrick’s cabbage is still underground.
So we do the best we can. Some of us force tulips to bloom inside. Some of us turn the heat to 77 and dance in our skivvies. Some of us leap out windows in our skivvies.
All of us need spring.
Spring has a way of coming early at Tabby’s Place. Just when we think we can’t take one more slosh of slush or gloosh of grey sloosh on our galoshes, along comes a miracle.
This year, it’s the animal named for a vegetable. Meet Carrot.
If the clinging cold has you clutching comfort food (Dunkaroos for dinner? I’ll never judge you), you just might need some bright orange nutrition. With apologies to Rainbow Brite, K.C. and the entire Sunshine Band, Carrot has restored the spectrum to Tabby’s Place.
As you can see, Carrot’s obscene overabundance of cuteness would be sunshine enough to melt Siberia. But his looks are the least of his life.
Let’s start with Carrot’s particular set of skills.
Although he’s only nine months of age, Carrot’s ready for Kilimanjaro. Ain’t no mountain high enough for the climber of creatures and scaler of stars. Stalwart staffer Jane learned this the
hard adorable way when, while cleaning Carrot’s quarantine cage, she turned her back…and ended up with a shoulder full of Carrot.
But this renaissance kitten isn’t all about ascent. When his eyes aren’t on the skies, Carrot’s voice is singing the truth.
Scratch that. Whether his eyes are on skies or souls or spaghetti squash, Carrot’s voice is singing.
And singing. And singing.
That mouth doesn’t stop. But, we’re not looking for a mute button.
So what sort of story is behind this song? Surely such a beast of joy** must have known only bliss in the months since he sprouted. Right?
Not, as we say, so much.
We’ll never know for certain if Carrot has a birth defect or a Buick to thank, but either genetics or trauma caused him to be paraparetic. You already know this, of course, but that means he’s got a loss of some voluntary motor function in his rear limbs: specifically, his ability to completely empty his bladder. (Or, in layman’s terms, “he’s a Lacey.”) Sometimes he makes the box. Sometimes he leaks. Always he needs squeezy human help to be sure he’s gotten everything out, and to prevent him from getting nasty little infections.
OK, say ye. That’s not super-awesome, but, hey, he’s at Tabby’s Place, so all’s groovy. Word? (I know how you talk, ye gangsta, ye.)
Word — but first, hit backspace.
Not so long ago, our tender sprout was repotted in most uninhabitable ground: one of New York City’s most crowded, “high-kill” shelters.*** Most cats who enter such a shelter have around 48 hours to find a forever home before time and space run out. That’s scary soil for any baby carrot, but if you’re not quite continent…
Fortunately, our little veggie didn’t have to finish that sentence. Phenomenal human beings plucked Carrot in time and loved him mightily for many months. Through the workings of love and Providence, this winter Carrot made his way into our arms.
Carrot puree is off the menu, and Carrot Rosenberg is in the house at Tabby’s Place.
I’m fairly confident we won’t be the last ears to hear the song of the vegetable animal miracle of Carrot. There’s an adopter out there mooning for precisely this music. And I’m utterly certain that, much as we’re helping him, Carrot is also restoring us.
Life’s better in color. And life’s a lot better with Carrot.
**”Beasts of joy” would be an outstanding band name, BTW.
***I haven’t the space in this post to address all the controversies over high-kill/open-admission shelters. But, I must note that I believe no one in the animal rescue world wants to euthanize a healthy animal, and the brave people who work in open-admission shelters, knowing each day that they walk into the building guaranteed to break their own hearts, are doing their own labors of love as best they can with very limited resources and very huge hearts. We need us all.