We humans are hopelessly “gifted” at flinging our own interpretations and insecurities onto the cats.
And so we wring our hands over the overlooked.
Merriweather (pictured in top banner) has made her home at Tabby’s Place for many years, growing more charming and beautiful, yet older, by the day. No one has attended her gallery openings; no one has cared to be the highest bidder for her masterworks.
Merriweather makes us all very happy, right here, right now, right in the midst of obscurity.
Or what of Snoop, that sizable slab of licorice love (pictured in thumbnail)? Tenaciously sweet, titanically enormous, and arguably gifted with one of the best senses of feline humor at Tabby’s Place, Snoop remains somehow unseen. (By adopters. Snoop, rest assured that WE ALL SEE YOU at 3:59 when dinner is imminent and your excitement is eminent.)
Snoop lives to serve up joy upon joy, but he goes unseen.
More complex cases exist. Where Snoop and Merry are as tender as Henri and Vincent, Bebe (shown at left) is a bit more prickly — think Van Halen rather than van Gogh. But “complicated” is a compliment when it comes to cats, and the basketball that is Bebe has seen many mischievous friends come and go. When will it be her turn?
Perhaps never, if we’re being honest.
And what of Disco, woefully misnamed (“DO NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT LIGHT UP FLOORS! I HATE THE BEE GEES AS I HATE HELL AND ALL MONTAGUES!”), but wondrously gifted with deep-river eyes and deep-soul sensitivity? Disco can be daft when it comes to her manners around cats and humans, but daftness was never known to diminish adoption odds when the time is “right.” When will Disco’s time come?
Maybe not ’til the oldies stations stop playing Stayin’ Alive.
In art as in felinity, there is no accounting for taste, much less timing. But where we ache and yearn and agonize over how many fans and followers we have, cats lose no sleep over their legacies.
Morning after morning, they rise and they love (or bite, as the case may be, but love is strange).
Evening after evening, they feast.
Day after day, even when the days are identical, they rest safe in their enoughness. Whether or not that fabled adopter should arrive, they live like priceless works of art. And so they are.
They may not know, this side of the veil, how much healing they have brought to this world. They may not see, from this feeble vantage point, how valuable and colossal and nourishing their lives may be.
But they are not losing sleep — or chances to keep going, growing, loving forward. The art of life is its own reward, and no one needs to tell them aloud how loudly, lavishly fabulous they are.
Let’s claim the same contentment, my fellow artists. Let’s settle into our callings, large or small. You may be given great hordes, hanging on your every word; you may be given two people, sharing your roof and your kindness. You have an audience. You have a purpose. The outcome is outside your control, but the canvas is calling for your masterpiece, come what may.
Hear the inner voice of love. Take hold of my hand, and Vincent’s, and Disco’s (“AS LONG AS YOU AREN’T LEADING ME TO THE INFERNAL LIGHT UP FLOOR!”). Love in secret. Love in truth.