Those kittens

Those kittens

Purr, and the world purrs with you.

Hiss, and you’ve got a parking space at Tabby’s Place.

Sasha did not rent this car.

Sasha did not call Uber. Sasha did not give the Valiant Woman (who we shall call VW) permission to pull her from a life of starvation and despair.

Sasha shrieked, “unhand me! I am familiar with starvation and despair. I talked to starvation and despair this morning. But you, I do not know!”

(Sasha used considerably less wholesome language.)

But VW fears neither tiny teeth, nor being reported to Dateline (as Sasha threatened). VW fears nothing, because VW cherishes the kittens.

Even those kittens. Especially those kittens.

When you say “kittens,” the world pictures the friendly and the frolicky. The world sees pinwheels and coconut snowballs, dandelions meekly awaiting wishes. The world sees blue eyes that trust you like the sunrise.

The world does not see what Sasha saw.

Small enough to fit in a teacup, Sasha saw a dry and thirsty land. Predators’ eyes glowed. Preoccupied people stormed past. Sasha began to forget what her mother looked like.

Sasha began to forget that you can feel safe in the world.

So Sasha survived the way everyone small and scared survives. (That should cover all of us.)

She wrote.

With neither ink nor laptop, Sasha inscribed a novel upon her life. She would not be Sasha the Orphan. She would not be Sasha the Famished. She would certainly not be Sasha the Meek, never again.

She would be Sasha the Great, and she would save her own life.

Like everyone small and scared, Sasha both over- and underestimated herself. A kitten can neither conjure nor manifest food. In her eyes, Sasha was caffeine incarnate, trusting herself to outrun and outsmart the dark. But in the world, Sasha was a pinch of oolong, light on the wind, and growing lighter by the missed meal.

Sasha overestimated her ability to survive.

Sasha shares stories with Kahlo

Sasha underestimated her ability to be lovable.

When VW reached out, Sasha slashed and sassed and declared herself one of those kittens. “Unhand me, for I shall not be cuddled! I shall not doze in your heart-shaped beds! I repudiate your squeeze-chicken, your treacherous sardines, and your unrealistic neon mice!”

(Sasha used considerably more pyrotechnic language.)

Sasha underestimated stubbornness, which is love’s first language.

Stubbornness is the reason Tabby’s Place has a trained and saintly Behavior Team. We are too obstinate to rest until Alessia is at ease. We are too headstrong to throw up our hands, when we know Bacon‘s blinkered brain can know peace.

We wear our hearts all over our sleeves, which disguises the bites and scratches. “Cats with behavior issues” are not “cats with behavior issues.” They are our family.

Kittens, too. Even those kittens.

Sasha did not ask for us to edit her novel, but she is learning love’s vernacular. Love does not know how to spell “unadoptable.” Love forgets how to spell “bad” within 500 miles of a cat.

Love is insufferable, forever doodling the word “yes” in the margins of every story.

Love is Tabby’s Place, that corner of outer space where the “difficult” form the inner circle.

You could say that we are “socializing” Sasha, but the truth is that the relationship runs both ways. We have underestimated our ability to be lovable, too.

We have forgotten that the correct spelling of “lovable” is “alive.”

We will work with Sasha, calling upon behavioral science and the tenderness of grandmothers. With or without her permission, we will convince her that she is safe, life is lush, and there is nothing she can do to be un-cherished, ever again.

In her own language, she will convince us of the same.

This is love’s way.

When you cherish the kittens, you can’t possibly overestimate how beautiful your story will become.

Leave a Reply