Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Prodigal Cat Has Returned
This last week was worrisome as my cat Patches did another disappearing act while we were camping at Waldo Lake. She's a funny little thing, a stray that adopted us just over two years ago, the rest of the family calls her my "dog" because she follows me around and is totally dedicated to me. She loves to go on walks with our family, and at one point I even tried The Great Leash Experiment, figuring that maybe that way I could take her along with us safely when we got to the busier streets. But alas that was a dismal failure as Patches definitely despised The Leash. Still, as long as I'm in town she has never run away or gotten into trouble, but whenever I leave town I think she starts to worry that I'm not coming back. Despite the fact that while we were camping Wayne was here feeding and petting her, she has this notion that if I'm gone more than 3 or 4 days, she needs to go looking for me. Thankfully, I got her microchipped last year, so when she has gone on her find-Robin missions she has been turned in before (once almost 2 miles from home!)
After several days camping at Waldo I came home to find that she had set out yet again, and this time there was no news as the days went by. So we got out the Lost Cat posters, crossed off the date from the last time she did this and wrote in the new date and set out putting them up around the neighborhood. One thing you can say about the place we live is that people here are extremely helpful and love animals (this is so true that animal shelters in California have begun trucking their excessive animals up here because our adoption rates here are very high). I got no fewer than eight phone calls from separate people, some of whom had spotted Patches, some who had fed her and tried to corral her (she is extremely friendly but is not amenable to being picked up, making rescues tricky), and some who had seen my Lost Cat posters and also seen some Found Cat posters bearing her photo and just called to tell me in case I hadn't spotted those. I have to say, I get a little choked up thinking of so many people going out of their way to be so nice to just another little stray kitty. It sure gives you faith in good folks of the world.
As the days went by though, I was worrying more and my heart felt heavy. The saddest thing for me is thinking of her heading out to look for me. If she was just a cat who liked to wander, I guess it wouldn't bother me, but visualizing her out there trying to find me was just breaking my heart. Eerily, one night I had a dream that I found her, and when I woke up both of the kids said that they had a dream that we found her too (although Asa's dream involved her turning into a mermaid, which definitely didn't happen in Mackenzie's or mine...) That was the day we got the first phone call from someone who was feeding her on their back porch, so at least we knew at that point that she was alive and well.
That phone call came from a little over a mile away, but by yesterday evening she was found closer to home by a family about 7 blocks from here (maybe working her way back home?) and she was under their car. I drove over immediately, parked and called to her and she came running out (yet another reason she's called my dog, she comes when called). So all's well that ends well for the kitty this time. She's home, very hungry, a little skittish but settling back in.... at least until next time.