The pumpkins are fat.
The skeletons are thin.
The cats’ patience is wearing thinner.
The cats are wearing clothes.
You and I know that these are costumes, of course. But don’t tell that to Gulliver. As far as he’s concerned, this magnificent feat of fabric is every inch as ridiculous as a pair of acid-wash jorts.
(Note to self: scour internet for cat-sized jorts for 2024. Gator as Ken?)
But before you report us to the Bureau of Crimes Against Felinity, be assured: we have only clothed those cats who were already clothed in patience. Note the pointed absence of Olive from these photos, so as to avoid the pointed puncture of our faces. We do not impose, only propose.
And the bravest cats take the invitation.
OK, they humor us. They love us. They love running free in their shaggy birthday suits, but they love us even more.
And they know — look in Grecca‘s eyes and you know she knows — that we are afraid.
We are afraid of light and dark, power surges and power outages, mist and mystery.
We are afraid of death and life, afraid of the half-life that casts its spell: “be careful.”
We are afraid of how much we love these cats, wisps of silk costuming hummingbird-hearts and ticking clocks.
We are afraid of ourselves.
We are afraid, which is why we hug Halloween so tightly. If we can install 30’ iridescent skeletons between the begonias and eat Chex Mix from cauldrons, perhaps we can yell BOO before the Big Scared makes it to the bottom of the stairs.
If we wear fear like a cloak, maybe we can escape the itchy sweaters of anxiety and mortality and the basement.
If we make the cats wear clothes, maybe we can clothe life in enough light and lunacy to triumph.
If we face fear honestly, maybe we’ll come face to face with grace.
Or at least Antin dressed as a hot dog, which is awfully close.
There’s a lot you can say about Team Tabby’s Place, but you can’t say we aren’t brave. We may be reckless with our love, relentless with our forgiveness, rebellious with our welcome. But it all comes from the cackling courage that out-laughs loss.
And when it comes clad as a butterfly, all the better.
We are afraid, which is why laughter is the light in our lanterns. We are afraid, which is why we need each other. We are afraid, because we are alive.
We are afraid, but we are several steps ahead of the Big Scared, because we know: we all get to be here together at this moment of history, sturdy hearts under the harvest moon.
Life and death are intimate waltz partners at Tabby’s Place, but there’s nowhere we’d rather dance. Let the monsters mash; let the ghosts bust. The spell has been broken.
Death can’t deceive us into holding back our love.
Even when love looks a lot like costuming cats.
Special thanks to Jae for orchestrating this annual exercise in excessive awesomeness. Pictured top to bottom: Charles, Gulliver, Anka, Taylor Ham, Antin, Grecca.