Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2002
Last night just before bed I went downstairs to close and lock the front door. My cat Zoe was with me and as I began to close the door started yelling vociferously about how she really, really had to go outside RIGHT THIS MINUTE.
Fine. I let her out.
Zoe, as best we know (because she came to us as a stray) is about 18. She's going blind and her vet says it's just part of aging for her. He says she'll be fine for navigating indoors because she'll just memorize our home as her sight fails. However, when she's blind she won't be able to go outside anymore.
For many cats this would be a tragedy, but because I live within literally thousands of acres of woods, I own the one cat on the planet that normally does NOT want to stick her head outside the door. When she asks I let her out because I figure a little fresh summer air would be a real tonic for her.
So there I was on the front porch, sleepy, shivering in the cool night air, waiting for the cat to do her business and come back in. Normally Zoe's big adventures into the outdoors last five minutes max and then she runs back into the house and upstairs to my bed.
Not last night, though. Ten minutes passed. I called her. No cat.
I called her again. I was tired, cold, it was time for sleep. I closed the front door and went up to bed. The cats both know that if they want to get in at night all they have to do is run up the back stairs, crawl on to the ledge of the window at the foot of our bed, and their yelling wakes us up.
Yep, as far as the feline family members are concerned the spousal unit and I are basically two-legged food dispensers, water changers, toilet cleaners and doormen. Heck, as they see it, we should be darned grateful that they allow us to be their servants.
I stumbled downstairs this morning for breakfast rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and something felt off. It took me a minute to register that the missing part of the morning routine would be Zoe yelling impatiently for me to Fill Her Food Bowl And Fill It Now.
So I went to the front door, opened it and called for the cat.
I expected a small black bit of fur would streak over to me from our woodshed, yelling insults about my bed head before launching into a rant about man's inhumanity to cat, and how this might be a matter for the SPCA.
So I went in to talk it over with the spousal unit. "Well, she didn't look sick enough to crawl off into the woods to die or anything," he opined.
This was so NOT what I wanted to hear at that moment.
Immediately the forest around me, normally a place full of birdsong and beauty, became a Kitty Death Trap. I imagined this poor, aged half blind cat slipping off to End It All or even worse victim to some enormous cat eating predator.
We don't have wolves in our forest, but I imagined a big slavering wolf running off with Zoe in his jaws anyhow because that's just how very irrational I can get.
The spousal unit and I started the hunt for her. We split up and began a circle around the edge of the property, yelling her name into the woods in the singsong I use to call her.
With the biblical rains we've been having this year, the forest undergrowth of ferns and such is jungle lush. It would be easy for me to get disoriented in the woods. I could feel a lump forming in my throat as I thought of a tiny black cat lost in it.
I headed a short ways up the logging road towards the sugar bush, calling her name. No cat.
I went down the quarter mile of our road calling her name, pausing, hoping to hear her answer me. No cat.
Part way down the hill my mom-in-law's rottweiler down at the home farm in the valley below heard me. Each time I yelled Zoh-EEEE he would respond in a mournful two part doggy howl that mimicked the singsong of the cat's name.
That's when I lost it completely.
I started to cry and not picturesque little tears, but that oh so tasteful sobbing that makes my eyes swell, my face go blotchy and snot run.
Was I crying for any of the world's great human tragedies that fill our evening news night after night after night?
Nope, I was crying because a furball puking, litterbox filling animal that barely acknowledges my existence was missing.
I left word with some neighbours to be on the look out for the cat and headed back up to the house, calling as I went. In our yard I met the spousal unit, who'd gone looking deeper in the woods. "Zoe's home," he said. "She just wandered in."
I rushed into the kitchen and there she was, calmly crunching her breakfast. I wanted to grab her and give her an enormous hug but before I could she caught sight of me and started yelling. Was it mutually shared joy at our reunion?
Oh puh-LEESE. This is a cat.
She gave me a meaningful look, looked at her water bowl, looked at me again. Then she yelled. Again.
Clearly she felt her beverage was sub par and it was time for me to do something about it. After I changed the water in her bowl, she grudgingly let me scritch behind her ears. She lapped the fresh water maybe twice before stalking upstairs to my bed for that badly needed 22 1/2 hours of daily sleep.
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
.:Adventures In Oz:.
.:12% Beer:. .:Links:. .:Host:. .:Archives:.
This template is a riff on a design by the truly talented Quinn. Because I'm a html 'tard, I got alot of pity coding to modify it from Ms. Kittay, a woman who can make html roll over, beg, and bring her her slippers. The logo goodness comes from the God of Graphics, the Fuhrer of Fonts, the one, the only El Presidente. I smooch you all. The background image is part of a painting called Higher Calling by Carter Goodrich which graced the cover of the Aug. 3, 1998 issue of The New Yorker Magazine. Kids, don't try viewing this at home without Netscape 6 or IE 4.5+, a screen resolution of 800 X 600 and the font Mead Bold firmly ensconced on your hard drive.
©2000, 2001, 2002 Marn. This is me, dagnabbit. You be you.