Every cat goes to bed satisfied that he saved the world that day.
They are all correct.
Since they go to bed and get up again eighteen times a day, this is quite an accomplishment.
But if the average cat saves eighteen days day, certain Tabby’s Place residents are overachievers.
They never look the part. They do not wear Batman masks. They do not leap like lizards. They do not blaze like meteors.
Sometimes, they do not even walk.
Not even if their name happens to be Walker.
As cats do, Walker came to Tabby’s Place in a world of trouble. By all accounts and purposes, his accounts were overdrawn, and his future was drawn badly by an angry permanent marker.
If ever a cat needed saving, it was the tabby whose every stripe was a sigh. Walker could scarcely stand, much less live into his name.
Found among ferals, he was what is gently described as “neurologically inappropriate,” a wobbling world off its axis. Brown fur stretched like burlap over bones, and his big eyes stared sightlessly out of some abyss where no one could join him.
But Tabby’s Place doesn’t ask permission.
So we joined him.
And somehow, the ligaments of life started joining together, a conspiracy of miracles. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Saving Walker’s day meant making some bold assumptions. Initial hypotheses hit the floor: no, he had not suffered a recent trauma. No, there were no attack wounds.
Perhaps this was toxoplasmosis, a savage little creep that preys on precious creatures.
Armed with Senior Vet Tech Denise’s celestial insights, we started the world’s least-aggressive cat on an aggressive course of antibiotics, as well as nutritional support, gentle physical therapy, and medication for a heavy hookworm infection. Time would tell if he would walk, see, or savor stability again.
Stability. It doesn’t sound glamorous, and it’s not what anyone writes about in yearbooks or vision boards. But if you’re a cat, a hero, or both, you know it’s the dream that out-dazzles all others.
The earth beneath your feet, the light in your windows, the steady supply of books and songs and fleece products and smiling eyes, the regularly scheduled bowls of aqueous poultry product: this is life.
This is peace.
This is what it means to be saved.
Walker deserved it all.
Sometimes saving the day takes many days. Forging the bonds that hand hope back to a hero requires everything. Fortunately, Tabby’s Place seems to have been built over a faithful geyser of “everything.”
The ferocious devotion of vet techs.
The oversized love of dinner-deliverers.
The impossible, invincible bond with brand new friends whose souls are already branded with your name, even if your name is Walker and you cannot walk a step.
But then you do.
And then another.
And then another.
And you lift your head.
And you lift the roof of what’s possible.
And you lift the hearts that supposedly saved you.
And you lift the courage that collapsed under the weight of loss upon loss upon loss upon loss.
And you lift the fallen rose petals and let the rescuers rise again.
And you save the world.
I don’t know if most people would understand quite what we’ve experienced here. It is admittedly absurd to the prudent eye, the cynical mind, the worldly worrier or the hardened hurrier.
Absurd: a broken cat collapsed into our arms, and our lives were never the same.
Preposterous: his brittle bones resurrected, and we were the ones rebuilt.
Life-saving: Walker walked, and we remembered what it means to dance.
Death’s drums drowned in the stunned symphony of the saved.
The glacier of grief groaned in the hot light of grace.
One fragile, forgiving cat, rising to four shaky, splendorous feet, renovated the house of hope.
He is saving our day, day by day.
Fifty two thousand TikTok views later, Walker is more famous than the average feline hero. Fifty two million kisses later, Walker knows his place at the head of Love’s table.
Thirty days from now, for all we know, Walker may be leaping like Kozmo.
Or, he may tread gently forever, childlike and ancient before his time, half-hobo, half-angel, all-hero.
He saved the world.
He will do so again.
And tonight (all eighteen of today’s tonights), he will go to bed satisfied.