I could think of no better topic for this Easter than the first “adoptiversary” of the most senior cat in the house, Lolita. Last year to date, I brought home a terrified and traumatised creature from the Tierschutzverein Berlin (Berlin Animal Shelter). She had just undergone 2 surgeries and teeth extractions, was completely shorn and scared of humans and cats alike who spent the next two weeks under the bed, eating and sleeping there, emerging at night only to use the loo quickly. Of the three cats I have rescued, Lolita has required the most patience and care. It took over half a year for her to feel comfortable enough with the rest of the flatmates and spend time on the sofa.
At 13, change does not come easy for grand old dame, and she absolutely hates it when I move furniture around. Cherry has learned to go along for the ride wherever it is the sofa is being moved to, whereas Champagne watches with joy and excitement as the house degenerates into an unholy mess. Lolita, on the other hand, will scramble for cover, eyes big as saucers, and be grumpy for the next two days because she needs to reorient herself.
She has terrible eyesight, would need glasses if that were possible, and her hearing is not that good either. Cats are selective listeners as it is, but Lolita is partially deaf and therefore spooks easily, and has absolutely no idea what planet she is on when woken up from a deep slumber. On the other hand, in the 12 months that she has been here, her emotional and psychological transformation has been phenomenal. She is now the Alpha Cat, using her age and seniority to boss everyone else around. She has no volume control, so she either shouts her requests or whispers silently.
Like Cherry, this rescue cat has learned to demand affection, and is a shameless kitty when it comes to doing so. She will climb and walk all over the designated cuddle human when she sees it fit to do so. The cat who spent weeks beneath the bed out of arms reach is now happy to sleep on my tummy, snooze on an available lap, and will march into the kitchen and shout for breakfast or dinner.
As a venerable senior citizen Lolita is absolutely adorable. She is sociable and polite when necessary, will bully Champagne and Cherry away from food, sofas and beds with her mere presence (albeit her brain seems to live on Mars most of the time), and if there is an unattended bowl of food standing around, the other two will defer to Granny, or Omi Loli as we call her. Speaking of food, that is another fascinating transformation. Because of her numerous teeth extractions, she doesn’t eat too much dry food, but will lick her bowl clean with the wet food. She may be feather-weight, but her appetite surpasses the other two cats combined, and even after she has finished her own food she will go around and polish up whatever leftovers she finds. Unless she doesn’t like the menu, then she will march into the kitchen and ask for something else / more.
I wrote about the ripple effects of service the other day, and rescuing abused or abandoned old cats is my way of serving. Lolita is the epitome of emotional resurrection and I often time see myself in her, fighting back at any cost, and learning that the world is not just about trauma and pain. Love, patience and understanding are transformative powers, if you know how to share and receive them alike.
A blessed and happy Easter to one and all.