Fridays are spectacular.
On Fridays, we get to wrap up the week. On Fridays, we get to start looking toward the weekend.
Even for those who work on the weekend, there is a shift in the weekly rhythm. Mondays through Thursdays, the world plays one song. Saturdays and Sundays, songs and psalms switch up depending on who you are and where you are. But, Fridays are special.
On Fridays, full orchestras, big bands, and choirs tune their instruments, take notes on the music, start the metronomes, and warm up their vocal chords.
At Tabby’s Place, Fridays are much like all the other days: meeting then cleaning in the mornings; feedings in the afternoons; laundry all day; cat-care all day; socializing cats all day; feedings in the evenings. (N.B., this is a gross oversimplification of all of the work all of the people do, and all the shenanigans the cats themselves get up to).
Around 2:00pm, there is often a lull in all the activity, a transient quiet. The lull comes after most of the volunteers have left from early shifts, only a few volunteers are around for the mid-afternoon shifts, and the volunteers for the later shifts have yet to arrive. Sometimes, there might be a tour. Sometimes a donor drops something off. Then, the bustle begins again.
Lulls in the rhythm at Tabby’s Place are fleeting. The beat must go on, in the form of bristling activity.
Through all of the bustle, there is always time to focus on individual residents, paying necessary and due attention to individual cats. Such it was on one particular Friday, when Honey came over, chirped a hello, and, for the very first time ever since the eternity that we’ve known each other, accepted an invitation to jump up on my lap. She may have been channeling our sweet Fiesta from across the rainbow bridge.
Honey sought and found greener pastures on her favorite lap, that of the Executive Director. Honey is, after all, an Executive Cat. Nevertheless, grace had been granted.
On that very same Friday, the super duper, uber-cautious Yuki was also in a state of grace. So many accepted scritches and pets! So little annoyance at an overly exuberant Elliot, even when he got right up in her face. The GINORMITY of all of the entirety of these interactions can not be stressed enough.
And, later, from the lobby, Yuki was spotted openly out and visible within her suite — an increasingly common sight. Of course, on noticing being noticed, Yuki retreated to a cubby. Nevertheless, curiosity, comfort, and cat-trees are winning out over fear.
Wonton, too, is ever so slowly starting to shrug off a mantle of fear that has kept him out of reach of human hands to the best of his ability. On the very same Friday, also for the first time ever, Wonton warily watched my approach, but without budging an inch. Not a twitch. Not a shifted whisker. Even so, all due care not to scare continues, but so does advancement in quantity and quality of petting encounters. It’s a long, slow process with one Wonton Rosenberg, but he is worth every patient second.
When I joined some fellow volunteers in the lobby and shared my news, one of them said, “You’re so lucky!” True! But, it isn’t just luck. It’s appreciating that cats either choose their special persons, or they are slowly, carefully convinced to accept a particular person as one of their special persons. Eventually, more and more persons become special to the finicky cats like Honey and the fearful cats like Yuki and Wonton.
Persistence, care, and attentiveness from so many persons are key to unlocking trust and helping the most cautious, shy cats decide to flip their switches and eventually start accepting all persons.
You can see how Fridays are special days for me. But, at Tabby’s Place, all days are special, because the amazing resident cats provide a reminder that we are all special persons — every staff member, volunteer, donor, blog reader…all of us. Even when we aren’t permitted certain special privileges, there is always next Friday to try again, or Monday to click a link, or Thursday…