To see is to cherish

To see is to cherish

“Cherish the kittens.”

It seems obvious. Obvious enough to be absurd. Obvious enough to be obscene.

But then again, you and I are covered in eyes.


The first eye beholds a kitten as it would a daisy or a gumdrop. It absorbs “adorable” like dew. It makes judgments: striped, small, swoony. It skims the surface like a water bug. It kisses the forehead and continues on its way.

It observes a kitten, but it does not see everything.

The first eye snaps shut when chaos comes. An orphan is an hourly emergency. It is blinding to stare at the sum of all it takes to keep a kitten alive.

But you did it.

Prometheus did not survive on butterfly kisses. His petrified mother, Saturn, was too young and too distraught to nurse him. If one kitten was too much for her, imagine her dismay when she had a second.


Saturn could not nurse them. Titan and Prometheus would not survive the night, unless love’s eyes were open.

They survived, because bloodshot foster-mama eyes rose ten times a night, open as the door between “forlorn” and “adored.”

Newborns survive, because a foster parent spends hours learning to tube-feed a terrified infant who screams. There is no fast track to this skill, and no Option #2 when the baby will not nurse and your eyes water.

All you have are love’s lenses, polarized against panic. All you have is a Tabby’s Place family across time zones, present at 2:14 am, seeing what you see.

Special Needs kitten Fantasia, who Tabby’s Place’s veterinarian saved … and then adopted. Fantasia lives with non-regenerative anemia … but she LIVES, because you gave.

A kitten like Fantasia survives, because a veterinarian’s heavy lids stay open, researching, relentless, refusing to run out of options.

The veterinarian has seen kittens with non-regenerative anemia, and kittens with eyelid agenesis, and kittens fighting hard not to fade.

The veterinarian has seen legends like you, opening your checkbooks to cherish kittens you will never hold. The veterinarian has seen over the horizon of “giving up.” The veterinarian will not give up.

Fantasia will survive.

Half-measures of love cannot bear the chaos of a kitchen full of orphans who have decided to roll in their litter, then their wet food, then each other. They cannot bear responsibility for a heartbeat, thready and faint under its fingertip. They cannot bear to think about “hopeless” kittens, “impossible” kittens, kittens whose future no earthly eye can see.

Io (presumably yelling his own name)

Callisto did not make it, but her siblings Ganymede and Io and Europa will survive.

Tabby’s Place is the eye that weeps but does not close. Sentiment and salt fall freely, but no kitten will drop. We are called to cherish the kittens knotted up with needs too big for the world.

You did it.

We don’t get to glimpse the end from the beginning. We can’t predict the future. We can only hold these fuzzy Magic 8 balls until the haze clears to YES.

Yes, we will see the cost of saving one life, and we will not blink.

Ganymede (still learning how to pronounce his own name)

Yes, we will carry these mewling children to the ends of the earth, for the doctors and the answers that are actually love with muscles.

Yes, we will accept the ones who are obviously hopeless.

Yes, they will live.

And when their lives are measured in days, not years, we will regret nothing. They were worth it. We will shudder with sobs and cling to each other to keep from collapsing. We will love them as though our own lives depended on it.

Europa surveys the continent of love

When you are covered in eyes, you know: they do.

When you are covered in eyes, you weep in all directions, but you see light. Love may come at first sight, but it only becomes cherishing if it holds its gaze.

You did it, beloved Tabby’s Place family.

You cherished the kittens all the way to their life-giving goal one entire month ahead of deadline.

You saw them through a forest too dark for anyone else.

The light within you is love itself.

Thank you, beloved Tabby’s Place family!

Leave a Reply