Old Tabby’s Place lore is shrouded in mystery, myth and cat hair.
Why did the cats’ identification numbers start at 10, not 0? Just how many cats named Oreo have been here over the years? And how did the suites get their names?
The average Joe or Jen or Jehoshaphat might think that Suites A, B and C are so called because that’s simple and easy and reasonable. They might think that there’s no magical, deep explanation. They might be right.
Right. And I might be the Queen of Spain.
Today it’s become spine-tinglingly apparent that, at least in the case of Suite C, there’s a very clear reason. C is for crazy. And, to paraphrase someone much wiser than I, that’s good enough for me.
This came to my attention when I looked at the faces at the lunch table today. Our associates had braved the running of the cats, also known as rounds. It seems innocuous enough, really. Twice-daily rounds entail feeding all the Tabby’s Place cats who need feeding, and medicating the ones who need medicating. No biggie. Right?
Right. And yo soy la Reina de España.
So rounds are never a cake walk. But there was a different sort of weariness marring our brave team’s faces today. Ginny and Jon looked like they’d just escaped the Death Star, or endured the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, or viewed an entire season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in one sitting. They were beat.
When I asked what had happened, they had only two words: Suite…C.
Suite C happened.
There was a time when Suite B was kinda kooky, Suite A was kinda shy, and Suite C was a happy medium where cats lived and let live. But times changed and the cast of characters changed, and somehow all the crazy in the building slid to one side.
It all came to a head this week when Cecille joined Toya in the Eye Infection Association. Giving a pill to the nicest cat in the world is hard. Giving a pill to an angry cat is harder. But putting drops in the angry blue eye of a wild woman is just plain death-defying. (Although if Cecille had her way, the drop-giver’s death would not be defied for long.)
Until this week, our brave team had thought eye-dropping Toya was painful. Our senior calico may have the spunk and sass of a thousand tiny scorpions…but she ain’t got nothin’ on Cecille.
Ever-gullible, I actually took Ginny literally when she arrived at lunch sighing, “Sorry I’m late, but I was just playing with Cecille.”
Now, I love Cecille – in such a big way that I’m almost always the one to defend her in conversations about her savageness. She’s even on my shortlist. But I’ve never been able to get her to play. She eyes the wand toy suspiciously, angry eyes flashing, her 5-pound snowball self hunched warily. I’ve always had the heartbreaking sense that our littlest looney-tune doesn’t play because she just doesn’t know how. She’s never had the opportunity or the freedom of spirit.
So, when I heard that Cecille had played, I was overjoyed. “Cecille played?” I chirped.
Ah yes. Right. And I am, indeed, the Queen of Spain.
Ginny’s expression said it all: Oh, Angela. You poor, foolish little woman. “Um…no,” she said gently. “I was chasing her. Eye drops.”
Ginny had spent a good twenty minutes trying to gently coax Cecille into a corner, with the little white cat screaming all the way. She finally cornered Cecille and wrapped her in a blanket (which you might call “the screaming burrito”)…only to realize that she’d left the eye drops on the other side of the room. Ginny had no choice but to release her little bundle, who screamed like a demon and took off at top speed. Then they had to start all…over…again.
Hats off to Ginny, because Cecille got her eye drop – and, Ginny even got to keep her life. This time, anyway. If you look at Cecille in a moment of apparent calm, her beautiful two-colored eyes are saying one thing: Soon…
Jonathan had a Cecille adventure of his own this week, when it was his turn to medicate Suite C. He somehow herded her into a large, open crate, which had a fresh litter box inside. Knowing she’d been trapped, but unwilling to concede defeat, Cecille began to ferociously chew cat litter. While growling. And staring at Jonathan with a look of pure, unadulterated loathing. Jon described it this way: have you ever seen those old movies where, as a fight’s about to break out, some particularly crazed guy will smash a beer bottle over his own head? It’s as though he’s saying, You don’t wanna fight me – ’cause I’m this CRA-ZAY!!!!!
Cecille’s point exactly.
But Suite C’s growing rep is by no means all about Cecille. The sheer concentration of wackiness is what makes C stand for crazy in the suite. You half expect to hear circus music (or maybe Jaws music) when you walk in. As you arrive, Brooklyn will take off like a silvery bullet, faster than any cheetah. Gatsby’s Stare Of Terror will bore deep into your brain as he worries that you might steal his soul or, even worse, pet him. Katrina will run up to you for attention, and either purr like a kitten or put you in the ICU if you dare to give it. Toya will flirt with you with the her considerable calico powers. Incontinent, irresistible Hootz will run in giddy circles, rearing up like a pony and dropping Hootz-pellets at random. Popoki will preen, Opal will run, Natasha and Mango will canoodle…
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world.
But let’s get one thing absolutely clear: I use the word crazy with enormous, nay infinite, affection. This may be the ultimate case of the pot calling the kettle black (or the Queen calling the Spaniards Spanish). I’ll take a giant sprinkle cookie over a plain vanilla wafer any day, even if there’s a hint of jalapeno in those sprinkles. And I’ll admire Cecille’s fire, Hootz’s giddiness and Toya’s super-sized self-esteem as long as I’m living, even if we have to take the growls with the glory. At Tabby’s Place, at last, these characters have found the haven where they are free to be exactly what they are – and we’ll love ’em for it. Freak flags are meant to be flown. Bland old “normal” is overrated…and, fortunately, nowhere to be found at Tabby’s Place, whether among humans or cats.
That’s never more the case than in Suite C.
*Addendum: Looks like our friends at Best Friends are cuckoo for “the crazy ones” too. We are all in this together – what a joy and an honor.