Sunday, November 04, 2007

We thought he was a goner: Part 2

This is probably as good a time as any to confess that I am not the world’s most attentive or responsible cat owner. It’s through luck and his own street-smarts as much as anything that Shy Kitty has survived as long as he has. The truth is, he hasn’t worn a collar or a tag for years; we used to buy him collars, which he would manage to pull off at the first opportunity, and finally we gave up. Back in Seattle, he never strayed from his regular haunts and we didn’t worry about him much. I’d planned to get him a collar, or tag, or microchip, or something, before letting him out here, but…I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Frankly, it slipped my mind that it might be an issue, since in fifteen years it never had been.

When he hadn’t come back by last Sunday night, we went out calling around the backyard and up and down the block, holding out his favorite canned food and clinking the bowl and whistling the whistle I used to use to call him in at night. Nothing, not a peep. Only the downstairs cat, an outdoor wanderer and general mooch-about-town, who drooled at the sight of the food and then settled smugly in the storage area under the porch, looking like he knew something but wasn’t saying.

On Monday, after checking the Internet under “lost cat” and reading the alarming news that my hitherto outdoor kitty could be anywhere up to a mile or two away, I checked two local vet’s offices, called the pet shelter, and made up fliers, which MG and I posted all around the block on Monday afternoon. We agreed that this could stand in for the usual Jewish cooking session since it was a mitzvah to look for Shy Kitty.

On Tuesday—on all the days, really--I worried. And worried, and worried. And thought about that fateful moment when he slipped out the door and I didn’t grab him and make him stay in. And wondered if I was ever going to see him again, and whether he was dead of cold or a car or a raccoon, or taken in by some nice person who had no idea where he’d come from or how to find his owner. And marveled at how much I missed him, when frankly he’d been getting on my nerves so much for the past few weeks, and it was such a pain to clean his litter box constantly now that he was indoors all the time, and to keep him out of MG’s room since she’s mildly allergic. And in a tiny corner of my mind wondered if it wasn’t maybe for the best for all of us to be spared what would might well be an expensive and incontinent kitty old age coming up soon. And then I would be stricken with guilt for even thinking that and would go out calling again.

It was much worse than I would ever have thought it would be. Everything—the sight of that dratted litter box; yet another reference to LOLCats; the act of typing in any of my many online passwords of which contain variants on his real name—was like a little poke in the gut. I kept thinking every day that he might be waiting outside the door when I got home from work, or when I left in the morning. MG and I both dreamed about him. She took to asking when he would be back, to which RW and I could only answer sadly that we didn’t know.

[not trying to string this along, honestly, but must make lunches for all now and feed the prodigal cat.]


Blogger liz said...

Heeeeere kitty kitty!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Arwen said...

I completely empathize with that tiny corner of your mind, and also the overwhelming anxiety. I'm glad the cat came back.
Stupid pet owner trick that I got I don't know when and have been using even though it's probably an old wives' tale: whenever I move, and am going to let a cat outside for the first time, I butter the cat's feet. They have to lick the butter off, and the theory is that the remaining oils plus the extra scent from licking helps light up their new home area like a sign.

I believe the thing this does for me, mainly, is give me some action to do that then makes me feel like I've done my part.(I've also had cats who are good at collar removal...)

11:10 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

How is it that you can make us so interested and hangon on for a story about the cat?!?! Good writing I say!

8:50 PM  

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