Tabby Travels

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Oh man.

I feel like I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. These past two weeks, my life has been pretty far from normal. It actually all started the very same night I posted about my headache

My writing buddy kitty cat Smokey is strictly an indoor cat. Yeah, she makes a few forays into the backyard to tiptoe through the grass and check out the mysterious space under the deck, but she’s never been farther than that, and never without supervision. So when we couldn’t find her anywhere in the house Tuesday night, it was a shock. We searched all around the yard, under the deck, in bushes, and up and down the street, calling and calling. At first, I was comforted by the fact that she wouldn’t have gone far. She’s never gone far before. But the longer we searched, the more I realized she actually had gone far. We couldn’t find her anywhere, and so were forced to leave her outside for the night.

I struggled with that. It was unlike her to wander away and not come back right away. She had never before shown any interest in exploring the outdoors, and I was scared that, having no experience, she would get hurt, lost, or be too afraid to make her way home. I couldn’t sleep that night, listening to the rain against my window and knowing that she was out there getting wet. I clung to the hope that she would be on the doorstep in the morning. She had to be, I thought. I didn’t know what I’d do if she wasn’t.

She wasn’t.

The next day was hard for me to get through. My headache was at the point where every step hurt my head, I just wanted to cry, I didn’t want to talk to people–I didn’t want to do anything but look for my cat. There had never been a time in my life when she wasn’t at home. We grew up together. When I sit down, she’s on my lap. When I’m writing, she’s there to help. When I’m not up before 9:00 on the weekends, she’s there meowing at my door to get me up. Even while I’m doing things around the house, I’ll talk to her while I walk past, or stop to pet her, or ask her what she thinks of something. I realized when she wasn’t there that without her, I feel kind of lost.

We kept searching as the days went by, roaming the streets, banging on tuna cans, and putting up posters and ads. Being in my house was hard. I felt her absence wherever I went, but I felt it even more sharply when I saw the abandoned catnip toy and the empty patch of sun. The fact that the rest of my family was feeling the same way didn’t help, either. At one point, a neighbour a couple streets down called saying she’d twice seen a cat on her deck early in the morning. I was certain it would be her, but when we went to check, there was nothing there.

One night before bed, as I wondered where my kitty was, I had the thought that she was out there for a reason of her own. I was willing to believe that she had gone so far without coming back because there was something she wanted to do. I didn’t know what it was, but I trusted her. She would take care of herself and come back home if she could and when she was ready. After all, I thought, she’s a cat. Most cats are smarter than people.

After that, I was better. Not great, but better. I tried to be patient, tried to keep my faith, and then on Monday on my way home on the bus, I got the best text I’ve ever received. My cat was home.

Someone had brought her into the pound and my mom went to pick her up while I was still on the bus, meaning that she was waiting for me when I got home. I gave her a huge hug and we bathed her, even though she didn’t look any worse for wear than when she’d left the house. She was a bit thinner, with some dirt on her paws, but she looked just the same–and happy, too. My mom said she’d been completely calm at the pound, not even being overly friendly until they were home. And once she was back safe, life seemed to continue without skipping a beat.

As she jumped up on my lap a few hours after her bath, acting as if nothing had happened and settling down in her usual spot, I stroked her and wondered. She was being a bit more affectionate than usual, and her legs were shaking, but I couldn’t tell if the shaking was from excitement or from fatigue. Either way, I thought that she didn’t seem particularly panicked about her long adventure–six days out on her own, enduring plenty of rain and who knows what sorts of wildlife. I had no idea what she ate or drank, but she seemed to have taken care of herself pretty well. It makes me believe even more that she went out with a purpose.

I wish I could ask her what she was doing. And I wish she could have told me she was leaving but she would be back. I have a feeling that if I asked her why she didn’t tell me, she’d say that I wouldn’t have let her go. I think she’s right.

And honestly, can I blame her for wanting an adventure? I know what it’s like to want to get out and explore, so I can see why she would, too. I’m just glad she’s home safe, and I think she’s pretty happy to be back as well.

Anyways, since then, I’ve been playing catch-up with just about everything–writing (I can’t believe I went for almost six days without writing), blogging, cleaning, and getting back into my usual routine. I’ll be back to regular posting now that school’s done and my kitty’s safe. It feels good to be back.

What did I miss?

May you trust those you love to take care of themselves when they need just a bit of adventure.

-Alex

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