Catastrophe avoided

Sunday night about 7 or 7:30 pm, we heard the back door shut. I thought it was our son who is always on the move, but no, he didn’t come running through the kitchen.

So it was chalked up as one of those things. The wind. The door hadn’t been shut properly and the piston finally pulled it shut 

It wasn’t until bedtime that I realized I hadn’t seen our female cat all night. Usually she’s crawling into my lap or chasing or being chased by one of our two male cats.

In fact, the last time we saw her she was in a standoff with our youngest cat.

So I wandered around the house shaking a treat container, being followed by the other two cats and our two dogs, who thought it was treat time.

But no sign of Moana Lisa, our white cat. 

Our son came up with that name. When we first got her, she had been abused and for the first week she just hid under our bed moaning loudly. It took several weeks before she stopped moaning any time someone would come near her. It took another six months before she stopped clawing and biting anyone who tried to pet her. And it was almost a year before she’d crawl up into your lap, but you still weren’t allowed to touch her. If you did, she’d moan, bite, and leave. She’s never been the most loving cat.

So we went to bed thinking she was just in a hissy mood because of the previous confrontation with our younger cat and she’d come out when she was ready. (We never connected the door to the possibility she had gotten out.)

In the morning, still no sign of her, but we all had to leave for work and school so we couldn’t look for her.

That evening, still no sign of her. OK. Maybe she wasn’t pouting somewhere in the house after all. Did she get out? That’s when we recalled the door closing the previous night.

But of all the cars, she’s been the least interested in trying to go outside. (We don’t let our cats outside, they’re pets, and I don’t understand people who do.)

We have a fenced-in yard. She’s not a climber, rarely uses the cat tower in the house, so if she got out, we reasoned, she would be in our yard and the dogs would have keyed on her. “Here she is! Cat! Here she is!” But no, they acted like there was no new scent in their territory. So where could she be?

We looked in the bushes and around the house just in case. No sign of her.

I decided to take the dog for a walk and maybe he’d catch her scent or something. Yeah, silly. Cobie isn’t a scent hound, he’s a dalmatian/lab mix. The only thing he can sniff out is food.

I went down the street and turned up our alley, hoping she’d have stayed nearby. I kept calling her name and thought I heard her answer, so I kept calling, but it turned out to be a stupid crow mocking me.

We passed a garage and saw something moving next to it. It was a white cat. How many of those are around? But this one was all dirty, with grease spots, and her hair was all disheveled. It didn’t look like her.

But I called her name anyway and she stopped, looked at me, and came running over, “You found me!”

But Cobie was all excited too, and Moana wouldn’t come near enoigh to let me grab her, so I had to take the dog home, then go back for her.

She was now under a car, but she came quickly when I called her. I picked her up and took her back home.

Once inside the house, she was so happy she rubbed herself against anyone who came near her, even the dogs.

But, as I said, she was covered in grease and dirt. I wasn’t sure how she’d take to a bath so I got a wet soapy washcloth and tried to rub her clean. That didn’t work very I threw caution to the winds, and put a little water in the tub and put her in, fully expecting to be clawed to death. Instead she just sort of made “meh” sounds. She wasn’t happy, yet she wasn’t angry either. She tolerated it. 

So I shampoed her, then did my best to dry her.

And the rest of the night she kept snuggling with my wife or with me, purring loudly, as if to say, “There’s no place like home!”

Later that night she slept in her bed and never moved. She was still there in the morning. Her harrowing adventure in the noisy, scary outside must have wiped her out.

We still aren’t sure why she went outside. She’s never shown any interest. The only thing we can think of is she was sniffing by the back door and our youngest cat pushed her out.

You know how brothers are toward their sisters. Besides, he looked guilty. 

Then the door banged shut and must have scared her so she just ran until she realized she alone and lost.

I doubt she’ll do that again. For the moment, she seems like a changed cat. Before she tolerated us. Now, it seems, she really appreciates us.

Cobie thinks Moana smells much better after her bath. (He won’t admit he missed her.)



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