I hope you’re sitting down, because I’m about to make a shocking statement.
Not everyone is nice…and not every cat is nice. Life, for that matter, is not all hee-hee/haa-haa. (Or, for that matter, Ha Ha Hee Hee. But I digress)
Let’s accept it. “Nice” is overused, shopworn and stretched to the point of meaninglessness.
Posey…is not “nice.”
Then again, neither was Joan of Arc, or Maya Angelou, or Mae West, or Calamity Jane, or Dorothy Day. (Now that would be one rocking dinner party – not nice, but rocking.)
To paraphrase a quote of extreme awesomeness, “nice” women (of any species) rarely make history. And be it known that Posey is already in the business of history-making at Tabby’s Place.
First, a little bit of Posey’s own history is in order. Be forewarned: it’s definitely not nice. Like most Tabby’s Place cats, Posey came to us with a pallet of secrets, many of which will never be known to us. Where was her kittenhood? Has her life been painted mostly in colors of comedy or tragedy? Does she think Boy George will grow his hair long again? We just can’t know.
But the glimpse we were given of Modern Posey History 101 was far from sweet, miles from nice: Posey’s life split open when her human poppa passed, at his own heartbroken hand.
Like another brown tabby before her, bereavement didn’t exactly become Posey. And who could blame her? Why not rage against the dying of the light? There’s something decidedly, inescapably wrong about death, and no matter how many nice euphenisms and sanitized metaphors we build around it, it’s a wrenching, rotten, thieving thing. Posey knew this – and like that other brown tabby, she didn’t hesitate to rage.
Posey was a paradox during her quarantine days. “Confused” was the gentle term Denise used to describe our new tabby’s mental state. She (Posey, not Denise) would rub up against the bars of her quarantine cage, as if to seek affection…but her rubbing would be set to the tuneful sounds of her angry, anguished growl. Love me. Leave me alone. Save me. Go bite yourself. Confused – and not nice.
Now in Suite B, Posey seems to be making up her mind in her own good time. She’ll rub her pretty face against your hand now, with no growls to be heard. Saunter into the room, and she’ll pop out from her favorite half-triangle, unafraid and mercifully un-raging. We may not know Early Posey History, but if I were a gamblin’ woman, I’d say she was well loved – and gifted with the courage it takes to dare to love again after loss.
So wait a second, you may be thinking. It sounds like Posey’s turning “nice” after all. Not so fast.
I think it actually does Posey a disservice to call her “nice.” To illustrate, I offer the following snippet from C.S. Lewis’ classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Remember that Aslan, Narnia’s savior, is quite literally a cat…of the larger persuasion. The children of the tale (Susan, Lucy, Peter and Edmund) have just learned that the king they’ll be meeting is a lion:
“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he — quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
“I’m longing to see him,” said Peter, “even if I do feel frightened when it comes to the point.”
Safe. Nice. Sometimes that’s what we may think we want, in our heroes, friends and felines. But isn’t it good that we truly hunger for?
Make no mistake here: Posey is good. Just as the One who formed her is far from safe, so Posey lives with an elemental wildness that can’t be taken away even if she’s napping on a pink crocheted blanket or a Spiderman pillow. Yes, there is a chance this tempestuous little cat will scratch you. She is not entirely predictable. But she is deep-down good.
And just as the One who knew Posey’s entire history before her first meow knew that she’d find healing after tragedy, so Posey knows that her tide has now turned. There’s a hopefulness in her mincing steps, and you just know this cat has confidence that she’s going to be okay. Matter of fact, she’s gonna make it after all (and if she had a beret, she’d spin around and throw it into the air).
Real life isn’t nice. But it’s good – it’s a gift, I tell you. And Posey, checkered history and all, will tell you the same.