It’s not just her ear.
It’s not just her past.
It’s your very heart in the presence of Jaguar.
They’re all a little shredded.
If you’re not betting on shredding, let’s consider the facts at hand.
At hand, and hardly bigger than your hand, is one circus-peanut-colored acrobat of an old lady cat. There is no jaguar on earth, feline or automotive, the color of a circus peanut, but there is one such Jaguar, and she is jumbo in joy.
She is not, as noted, jumbo in stature. But I beseech you to forget that faster than a jaguar (feline or automotive) can cross Ringoes, NJ*. You underestimate her at your peril. She may have landed in the Lobby because she is technically “fragile” and “frail” and “medically worrisome,” but she is not weak in any universe.
Jaguar, all elbows and angles and infinite olive eyes, is 13 years old, 6 pounds of dynamite and 140,000 times more awesome than all of us combined. (I apologize, but I am bound to report the facts.) Jag jumped bail from a public shelter, high-wiring her way to Tabby’s Place together with Dracula (who does not turn into a bat) and Toto (who does not know a thing about Kansas).
All three had suffered scrapes and scraps and sadnesses of the sort that land you in a public shelter.
All three were and are awesome.
But only Jaguar, she of lightning-bolt ear and flashing fearless eyes, came ready to shred.
It must be admitted that our mushy hearts were not her first target. Jaguar, she of frail features and wonky kidneys, wanted us to know immediately that she was one of those forces you will reckon with, if you have hope of ever reckoning again. In Quarantine, she conquered her fears by conquering our staff’s touch with her talons. In the Lobby, she wailed like a widow to be let out of her introduction crate, only to wail on lesser cats once freed.
It must have been for Jaguar that the words were written, “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”
But “fierce” isn’t the finale in this circus, and Jaguar will gift you with an entire midsummer night’s dream of delights. Once she’s proven her prowess at protecting herself, Jag will jolt you with a different sort of shredding.
She will stare into your eyes.
She will anchor you in her eyes.
She will station her peanut-sized feet in your hands or on your knees or in your very soul.
And make no mistake; soul will meet soul, yours and hers. In the space of moments, you’ll see a thousand years of sorrow and strength flash in the tiny, bony cat’s tremendous, self-assured stare. And you will know that you are in the presence of one of the great ones.
And then, the agile acrobat will know her job is done, skittering off to scope out whether Cheela needs a whack in the noggin.
Your heart will be shredded, yes; with sympathy and awe and a love that will now own you for all of your days.
But fear not; shredding can constitute an improvement. Cheese and wheat and your heart are all softened by the shredding, readier to let love in the next time, more merciful with the ones whose stories soar all around you.
You and I are better for these jaggedy encounters, our hearts made somehow more whole. Let your love be battered; run with the only Jaguar you’ll never forget.
*Be it known that you need not be a jaguar (feline or automotive) to transverse Ringoes in a flash. Or perhaps you don’t know Ringoes, NJ: population 14, size 9 square feet, home to 65 delis, 14 gas stations and one Tabby’s Place. Home sweet, strange home.