Tabby’s Place has a room for kittens, exotically called The Kitten Room.
Tabby’s Place has a window from aforementioned Kitten Room directly into the center of our Lobby.
Tabby’s Place has gotten used to visitors peering into The Kitten Room from the Lobby and declaring, “There are no kittens in your Kitten Room anymoaaahhh.”
OK, that’s not exactly what visitors say. That is exactly what Leonard Cohen would say, were he still among us and inclined to add a lyric to “Diamonds in the Mine:”
And there are no letters in the mailbox,
and there are no grapes upon the vine,
and there are no chocolates in your boxes anymore,
and there are no diamonds in your mine.
Lesser-than-Leonard humans tend to say something like, “Where are all the kittens in the Kitten Room?”
It’s a fair question.
Peep into that so-called Kitten Room these days, and all you’ll see are…well, boxes. Boxes without chocolates or diamonds or kittens. The Kitten Room arguably has Tabby’s Place’s coolest furniture, those starboard-based cubby-boxes with Swiss cheesy holes for peeking and sneaking and sprinting around like kittens do.
Not these particular diamonds. Look a little closer — under the boxes, between the blankets, high and low and everywhere invisiblish — and you’ll see that there are kittens in your Kitten Room. These particular persons just never got letters in their mailbox telling them that Kittens Are Wild and Kittens Are Active and Kittens Are Visible To The Naked Eye. They are also a little older, a little larger, than conventional BabyKittens(TM). But kittens they are, and exist they do.
Lucas, the littlest kitten, cuts a shy silhouette against the boxes. Black as a bean and barely any bigger, his size suits his shyness just fine, as he’ll disappear into the tiniest of pockets. It’s not that Lucas doesn’t love people; it’s just that he’s not about to be boxed into any expectations of kitten kookiness. Seek him out; sit beside him; soothe him with your lack of expectations; and Lucas will ripen like a sunshine-vined grape.
With a name like CornPop, you’d expect Lucas’ neighbor to be positively exploding with excitement. But don’t pigeonhole this silent popper too promptly. CornPop saves his snaps and crackles for those he trusts, and his trust is timid. As if to put a (quiet) exclamation point on his iconoclasm, CornPop came bearing a sister named Raven.
A grey sister.
Show me a grey raven, and I’ll show you a cornless ‘Pop.
Showing solidarity in shyness is stretchy-sweet Noodle, the cat with the single cutest set of fangs ever formed. Soft and squishy as a glob of grape jelly, Noodle won’t use those fangs on you, or anything other than treats. But it will take treats by the metric ton to tease him out. And it will be worth it.
There’s one more kitten in your Kitten Room anymore. Little Eva is no Little Eva, but she’s a love letter sprinkled with diamond dust. Get close enough to our little white chocolate, and Eva will answer your affection with an island full of love. But, again, don’t expect this kitten to come neatly boxed for you; you’ll have to quest before you can cuddle.
Eva comes by her hesitation honestly; she’s traveled to Tabby’s Place all the way from Puerto Rico, and she’s still making sense of new life and New Jersey. (So we all are, Eva. So we all are.) She’s made magnificent progress — she’s the one kitten you may see in your Kitten Room at any given glance — but life keeps surprising her. Longtime companion and fellow Puerto Rico native Juan Manuel* was adopted out from under her; what might happen next, if not a home of her own?
Life can be exhilarating when you’re not boxed in.
We know that Kitten Season, full and frantic, is coming, and there will be cotillions of kittens in our Kitten Room. But until then, we’re counting our blessings, our diamonds, our chocolates and our quirk-ittens, and we’re rich indeed.
*At this point I must note that Juan Manuel’s new family renamed him “Gus,” a decision of which I exuberantly approve, since “Gus” is a grand name that can be short for Augustus, St. Augustine of Hippo or, most commonly, Asparagus. Gus Gus Gus yes yes!