Cats are not Republicans.
Cats are not Democrats.
Cats are, of course, strict monarchists.* Tabby’s Place is host to 133 separate sovereign kingdoms.
This means, among other things, that cats are not particularly perturbed by this election. One cat is perhaps less perturbed than all the rest combined. Meet Leila.
If you’ve been around Tabby’s Place since 2008 or earlier, you’ve actually already met Leila. But, you’ll be pardoned for not recognizing this lovely lady two terms later. Leila first came to us as a wee Whig of a kitten, mere hours old.
Like a two-term president at the end of eight years, Leila shows signs of the passage of time. She does not, however, show signs of angst or agita or any sort of stressful deliberations. At eight years old, Leila is still a spring-loaded Slinky of energy, stretched just slightly mellow.
Upon arrival in Adoption Room #1, Leila immediately ascended her soapbox to champion wand toy interventionism, fair Fancy Feast trade and the revival of the Free Soil party. By which I mean, she immediately commandeered the window perch. Although I have it on good authority she has eaten and pooped and walked about her land in the weeks since, I don’t know that I’ve personally seen her descend a single time.
Fortunately, there was no contest in this elevation. This was something of an October surprise. The perch once belonged to Max, who yielded only to
Napoleon Sherpa. With Napoleon’s exile adoption, the perch was once again Max’s.
It’s a credit to Max and a proof of Leila’s landslide that there’s been neither rumblings of a recount nor chatter about a coup. Leila came; Leila ascended; Leila is the lady in charge of Adoption Room #1.
For all her leadership, Leila is an invincibly easygoing stateswoman. Walk up to her, and she’ll roll, twirl and caucus so cheerfully that she just might spin straight off her perch. Like the best of leaders, Leila can laugh at herself, so she’ll leap back up and love you all the harder for her pratfalls. If you should dare to leave the room, Leila won’t worry about your lost vote; she’ll just rub her beautiful being all over the window, flirting you smitten and starstruck.
You’d think, if you didn’t know better, that this was a cat born with a silver salmon in her mouth. You’d think, if you didn’t think long and hard, that this was a cat with no dirt under her nails, no cracks in her heart, no scars on her face.
You’d think the wrong thoughts.
Leila’s path has been Lincoln-like, strewn with losses and mysteries. This started from the day we met her. Mention “Tia‘s litter,” and grizzled Tabby’s Place veterans will still take a moment of silence. Sweet, loving, self-sacrificing Tia was one of the finest mama cats we’ve ever known. Her family was the sickest litter we’ve ever grieved.
One after the next after the next, Tia’s tiny babies slipped loose from life. Tia — and our vet team, and all the saints and angels — did everything possible and quite a few things supra-possible to save them. It was not to be. As intensely as Tia loved her whole large, fragile family, she loved her last surviving kittens all the more.
Leila was one of Tia’s survivors.
So it was a day of deep delight when Tia and Leila were adopted together. But deep delight was not to have a decisive victory.
Two presidential terms later, we got a call that made our heads explode. (Collectively. It was a mess.) Leila had become intolerably aggressive. Leila was no longer welcome in her home. Tia, yes; Leila, no.
Leila’s humans voted to banish her forever.
But…once a Tabby’s Place cat, always a Tabby’s Place cat.
And so Leila reigns in Adoption Room #1.
I’m not in the business of doubting motives, so I don’t question Leila’s adopters’ narrative. Cats can behave entirely differently in different domains. So, what happened in Leila’s Home Of Eight Years stays in Leila’s Home Of Eight Years.
I am, however, in the business of truth, and the truth of today is that Leila has been the antithesis of aggressive at Tabby’s Place.
She wasn’t aggressive when she was the size of an “I Voted” sticker.
She’s not aggressive now that she’s the size of a ballot box.
We have no reason to believe she’ll ever be aggressive again.
So until Leila clinches adoptive victory — and make no doubt that she will — we’re grateful to be the site of all her rollicking rallies. Roll on, sweet girl. We are with you.
*OK, we have at least one anarcho-totalitarian among us, but he’d be OK with a well-fitting crown, too. We’re looking at you, Owen.