She’s older than an ingenue.
She’s plainer than a calico.
But if you think this dame’s done, you’ve got a lot to learn about one feline frau.
Start with her source.
Many cats come to Tabby’s Place from the fields and furrows and roads and shelters. Many cats are plucked from euthanasia lists and animal control and ill-fitting feral colonies.
One cat, and exactly one, appeared in a garden.
All at once, as though Eden were new, she appeared full-grown. A vision of brown-and-black stripes burst forth with life just as other flowers were fading.
Nobody told Wilhelmina it wasn’t spring. Nobody told Wilhelmina she wasn’t new.
Through a viny, winding, wonderful set of circumstances, Wilhelmina made it from the flowerbed to our own bed of roses. Never tempted by mediocrity, Wil brought the whole garden to Tabby’s Place with her. How else can you explain the fact that, way back in Quarantine, love overgrew all its bounds?
Our staff: smitten.
Visitors: gushy, gobsmacked on the spot, signing up as sponsors after spotting Wilhelmina through cage bars twelve feet away.
Our radios: mysteriously all resetting themselves to 24-hour love songs…in German.
(She’s romantic, yes, but she’s also tough as ten-day-old stollen. Consider Wil a little bit fledermaus, a little bit Angela Merkel. She’ll delight your soul, flutter through your flowers, welcome your weary and heavy-laden…and kick your hintern if you make her count past drei.)
We know, in our rational minds, that cats don’t sprout full-grown in gardens. Some life was lived before the day Wil appeared; some suffering was tucked under her belt. She was spayed, and thirteen, and stubbornly sweet.
She’d been known, and loved, and…then, well, not anymore.
And then came the little weevils that try to torment every garden of a certain age: Kidney disease. Hyperthyroidism. The invisible “less adoptable” stamp that appears on the forehead of every cat over age 7.
Wil came by her steel soul worthily.*
But those days were dust and ashes now, nothing but fertilizer for new life. Wil is a woman who looks unflinchingly forward. (Unless Max is bumbling around behind her, in which case she looks decisively backward and beats him into slinky submission. Halt die Klappe!)
She’s a beauty. She’s a blume.
She’s no Wil-has-been-a. And what will be, will be glorious. Achtung, baby.
*She also does Blue Steel better than Derek Zoolander himself. True story.