What a piece of work is cat.
One comes to Tabby’s Place “feral,” untouchable and uninterested in humanity (as the story goes).
One comes to the sanctuary with a rap sheet of offenses, all in the general bucket of “attempting to annihilate one’s own species.”
And then they both just decide to start over.
There’s a method to Ophelia and Lucky’s madness – although we humans are still in the process of figuring it out.
As one of the jailbreak cats (see pages 3-4 of this puppy), Ophelia was a feral. As the story goes. She was feral enough, at any rate, that she’d have been bound for the “R” third of TNR…if not for those squinty, scratchy eyes.
In a weird-even-for-Tabby’s-Place diagnosis, Ophelia was found to have eyelid agenesis. That may sound bizarre. It’s bizarrer than it sounds. The outer portion of ‘Pheelya’s eyelids simply never developed. Try to imagine walking around – much less sleeping – with no eyelids. Add the itchy inconvenience of facial fur rubbing in your uncloseable eyes all the time, and you have an idea of Ophelia’s trial. So, the nervous feral would have to stay against her will at the indoor sanctuary, at least long enough to have surgery to remove that over-eye fur. (Sorry, Ophelia: Revlon and Nair haven’t yet perfected a cream for that ilk of unwanted facial hair.)
But don’t feel bad for ‘Pheelya just yet. (And if she tries to milk your sympathy, remember: the lady doth protest too much.) If not for her ooky eyelidlessness, Ophelia wouldn’t have stuck around at Tabby’s Place. If Ophelia hadn’t stuck around at Tabby’s Place, she wouldn’t have decided to suddenly, passionately love people. If Ophelia hadn’t decided to suddenly, passionately love people, she wouldn’t have gotten to stay at Tabby’s Place. If she hadn’t stayed at Tabby’s Place permanently, she wouldn’t have met Lucky.
And Lucky + Ophelia = the very ecstasy of love.
This is no less surprising from Lucky’s side than ‘Pheelya’s. Lucky was the “piece of work” with the mile-long rap sheet. Lucky was the big, strong, head-tilty boy with a history of violence. Lucky was the human-lover whose humans had to give him up (through the Exceptional Circumstances Program) when Lucky would not stop attempting to take the life of their incontinent cat. (As an aside: certain staff members who shall remain anonymous, but whose names may or may not rhyme with Zanise, think this is all easily explained: “Lucky was trying to train him. ‘Dude, use your litter box! You’re gross!'”) It’s a special family who will (a) defend their pooping-everywhere cat against a newcomer and (b) love the newcomer enough to make a serious financial investment in giving him a cozy life at Tabby’s Place.
But no family, however special, could predict just what Lucky would launch next. Lucky…loves…Ophelia.
The bruiser and the baby. The big lug and the lidless smidgen. Beast and the Unconventional Beauty. It’s nothing short of Shakespearean to see their love for one another.
Granted, Lucky and Ophelia don’t express their love in sonnets. Brevity is the soul of wit, and their love language is racing and romping and rolling around at 957 MPH. In Lucky’s mind’s eye, Ophelia is perfect beauty. (Eyelids are vastly overrated.) In ‘Pheelya’s eyes, Lucky is a true gentleman. (His history has been washed white as snow for this little black cat.)
To thine own self be true, I suppose – and Ophelia and Lucky have never been more themselves than in this sweet season together.
So a hush fell across the Tabby’s Place theater when, last weekend, a particularly Awesome AwesomeAdopter – let’s call her Mama Bard - fell for ‘Pheelya. Well aware of Ophelia’s oddities and medical needs, Mama B knew this was just the kitten to join her own resident cat. It’s all over but the home-going now; Ophelia is on hold and will be leaving Tabby’s Place in a matter of days.
Ay, but there’s the rub.
What of her swain, her Lucky love? Doubt that the sun moves, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt he loves Ophelia. Will he go on? Will he be, or is he not to be?
Oh, he’s gonna be.
Lucky’s love is bigger than we ever dreamed. Ophelia cracked the cover, to be sure…but she’s just opened an entire world in Lucky. We have yet to see the depths of his trans-Ophelian love. Once cursed with the past of having hated and hurt other cats, Lucky now pipes a brighter tune. When adopters consider the big guy, we can now tell them: Lucky loves cats. Not all. Not equally. But, when the situation is right, truly. Madly. Deeply. Aside from his own species, Lucky’s a huge hamlet with humans, using every iota of his massive energy to love on all visitors. So fear not; Lucky’s own Bardopter awaits – one who will see in him the very paragon of animals.
What a piece of work indeed.