June 23, 2015

Sometimes They Don't Come Back

I had the best day yesterday, sitting outside in the cool morning air, typing away on my computer, happy with the words that were coming out.

My cat was outside with me. I had bought him a LONG tie cord and a kitty harnass and tied him up the swing in the back yard. He seemed pretty happy as well, meowing and smelling things like he does. For a moment I thought our eyes met and we were both like 'yeah, life is good'.

And then I looked up again, not twenty minutes later, and kitty was gone. Gone gone. Gone as in alien abducted gone.

The funny thing is the tie out was still there, and so was the harness. Neither looked as though they'd been messed with. It was like kitty had suddenly lost a few pounds of his winter Fancy Feast weight and just disappeared.

I immediately panicked. Boots is not an outdoor cat. He likes to pretend he is, hissing at the squirrels that prance by our back window, but he's a kitty of leisure. I feel bad about it sometimes but he was fixed when he was just 12 weeks old and doesn't have a fighting spirit. There are tons of stray Toms around (not to mention cars) and I think his chances of real survival outside are about as good as mine were someone to drop me off in the woods with only a photograph of what my home looked like and a queer sense that monsters exist somewhere in the forest.

I combed the neighborhood for nearly an hour, embarrassing myself by calling out "here Bootsie, Bootsie" until even the old guy who mows his lawn in nothing but Speedos thought I was going insane.

At last, I hear this horrifying yowling sound and it doesn't sound like my cat, at least the cat I know, but I run towards it sure that its another cat eating mine, or at the very least, my cat has gotten run down by the Speedo wearing lawn-mowing man.

It was the neighbors cat, yowling and rolling around a bush like he'd just risen from the Pet Cemetery. He's an outside cat, and if you ask me, I'm not sure his owners are all too fond of him. I think he must have fallen from a tall building in his youth and didn't' land on his feet. For a moment I looked at this pathetic creature and he looked at me. We were both alone and lost. I thought, 'well if Boots is gone maybe i can take this wretched creature in'. It must be my maternal instinct. Love something. Nurture something. Just make sure they have vocal cords to remind you when to feed or water them or they are screwed (sorry plants outside!)

But then, just as I bent over to scoop him up (yes, crazy I know, but I was a grief stricken cat mommy), I see two gold eyes peering at me from the ginormous bush behind Pet Cemetery cat.


I can not begin to tell you how happy I was to see my fat little cat, all quivering and shaking from the safety of the bush. I said sorry to crazy kitty and picked up my own, petting him and cooing to calm him. He gave me a look that said "Thank God you've arrived. Did you see how freakish that other cat was? Scared the bejeezus out of me."

He has been sleeping nearly steadily these last 24 hours, as if he were a PTSD victim coming back from a tour in the Middle East.

He looks out his window now and again, but the gleam in his eyes are gone. Even the squirrels don't offer much temptation anymore. He has seen the world and he wants nothing of it.

At least until the next time.

April Aasheim

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