Abandon all fear of abandonment, ye who enter Tabby’s Place.
You might want to double up on the absurdity and audacity, but taking “all fear of abandonment” out of your knapsack should make extra room for those, as well as liverwurst, which you will also need.
We’re all about unabandon around here, at least when it comes to cats. With apologies to the unknown sage who first turned the phrase “wild abandon,” it’s wild and whizzing unabandon that whirls Planet Tabby’s Place around the sturdy sun of love.
You know the stubborn stickiness of which I speak.
This is our incurable, inexorable turn, January to December, towards the cats who need us most.
This is our refusal to turn away from the smallest and the strangest and the seemingly empty-handed.
This is where love meets history and rewrites the future and the past in one bold, gold streak.
This is how a Lemmy, loved and lauded and chosen and bereaved, comes back to us, years post-adoption, as a conquering king. His tabby stripes are a little tangled now, his once-sleek fur the apparent nesting place of tiny frat-boy elves. Evergreen eyes sparkle through a fog that not even Rudolph’s nose could navigate.
But not even Father Christmas himself could receive so majestic a welcome as our aged angel. Once a Tabby’s Place cat, always a Tabby’s Place cat. Lemmy may still be hanging the holly of grief for his late adopter, but we’re doing our best to holidaze him with a love that leaves everyone bigger and better. (Physically and otherwise: although Lemmy has read enough Charles Dickens to want to try a legitimate Christmas goose, he’ll settle for gloriously disgusting sloppables with festive names like Savory Centers and Gelatinous Shreds and Meat Miracles and Salmon Secrets The Kremlin Tried To Keep.)
This is how a Ronnie, tired and terrified, takes his time and takes heart, growing hearty and hope-strong over the years that mercy gave. When you’re at no risk of being abandoned, no matter what you do or don’t do, no matter how wee or weird your offerings, you can move at the speed of grace itself. Next thing you know, you’re an “unadoptably shy” cat lighting the candles in your very own, right-on-time home.
This is how a Fiesta, bag of creamsicle bones and stack of “regrets” RSVPs, finds patience for her skin problems and her existential problems and her need for excessive gentleness. Never quite at home in the tawdry party that was Suite C, she was not abandoned to an ill-fitting cocktail dress. Being unabandoned means more than finding food and a roof and the occasional distant carol; wild unabandon includes being wreathed in warmth, love-songed in the language you can hear. In Fiesta’s case, that meant a move to (heaven help her) my office, where — we do major in twinkle-eyed reversals at Tabby’s Place — she’s teaching me a whole heckuva lot about being unabandoned.*
This is how a Bosco, with a holly-berry ear that’s done too many rounds with Evander Holyfield, old and odd and loud and large, finds himself the star of the pageant. He’s peculiar; he’s profound; he’s twelve dozen kittens’ worth of time and effort. It would make rational sense to abandon the old oddball in favor of more favorable “numbers” of cats ferried in and out our door.
But Tabby’s Place, stubborn and sacred, just can’t abandon the individual for efficiency.
Blame the cats, who just can’t abandon hope. Heck, blame Bosco himself, who is reading this frippery from the fa-la-la of his forever home. Blame all the legions of “less-adoptable” cats who prove doubt and despair wrong, day after holy day.
Blame our incurably soft hearts, battered and bruised and crazed enough to leave no cat behind, abandoned, uninvited to the feast. And then get off the floor and help us move some chairs around so we can add another leaf to love’s table.
That’s what we’re doing, of course, with Quinn’s Corner. Our bold expansion will add 5,000 square feet and numberless stories to the ceaseless Christmas Carol that is Tabby’s Place. At last, we’ll be able to invite the final stragglers to the meal, the most feared and fearful.
Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a wild new world for us all, and neonatal kittens are as fragile and as sacred as all the small beginnings since the very Beginning. These are the cats who have had nowhere to turn; these are the cats who have found no room at other inns; these are the cats we’ve ached and yearned for comfort under our canopy.
It’s an audacious new advent around here. Unabandon is the answer to the hopes and fears of all the years.
This is how the soul feels its worth.
But not only the feline soul.
To be continued…
*It is with gasping regret that I must amend this blog to say Fiesta will be spending this Christmas with the saints and angels. One of the towering mysteries of writing these posts in advance is that they know the secrets tomorrow has yet to tell you and me. Fiesta’s “Forever Loved” will be coming your way soon. Stay tuned, my fellow pilgrims in sorrow and song.