Greetings and meows, dear peeps and pets!
Maisie here, guest hosting on Jennifer’s blog today.
I thought it was high time I shared a little “cat tale” with you from five years back.
It was the Fall of 2010 and my sister Vivian and I, both three years old, had recently moved around the bay to Newtown with Jennifer and Paul. Up until then, we’d been raised as indoor city cats who rarely went outside unless it was in the backyard under vigilant watch by our owners.
While our soon-to-be permanent home on Perry’s Point was undergoing restoration and renovations, our little family had to bide our time in Mike Perry’s summer-house over near Barbour Tickle. As the weeks passed and our owners grew eager and impatient to move to the Point, they told us that once we got there, we would have the freedom to roam the area and come and go as we wished. Could such an incredible dream actually come true for a couple of city-dwelling felines like us?
One sunny afternoon, Jennifer and Paul let us outside in Mike’s garden to stretch our legs. They stayed with us as we explored the bank of the Tickle and were pleased that we didn’t try to wander away. So the next day they let us out again. This time however, they didn’t keep such a close eye on us and that’s where the trouble started.
When they decided to let us back inside, lo and behold, they only found one cat: yours truly. My sister Vivian had disappeared. I watched through the window as they called and called to my wayward sibling, but to no avail. As the day passed into evening, their worry grew more and more palpable.
Jennifer and Paul went off to search the neighbourhood. They found no sign of her. When she still hadn’t returned by the next morning, they became frantic, and took off to search for her again, singing out Vivian’s name until their voices grew hoarse. Later, to Jennifer’s horror, Paul found a ragged strip of fur on the bank of the Tickle that looked a lot like Vivian’s striped tail. Now it appeared that foul play might be involved. Had a dog attacked her? Or a rabid mink? Terror and grief filled our hearts at the possibility.
Jennifer was devastated. I heard her say they were stupid to let us outside, that she hated Newtown, and she wished we had never moved at all. I did what I could to console her and Paul, but even though I stepped up the affection it didn’t seem to help. I missed Vivian too and roamed from room to room, mewing my tiny mew. This was also the time I started the practice of sitting up in a kitchen chair and resting my chin on the table. In this pose I would gaze with sadness at my grieving owners, wishing there was something I could do.
The days and nights dragged by, the temperatures turned colder, and our hopes grew dimmer. Halloween came and went. Someone said they saw a cat that matched Vivian’s description way out on the branch road. Hope flared that she was still alive, but searches proved fruitless. Jennifer kept going out for walks, calling Viv’s name, but these investigations usually ended in tears. That strip of fur was the evidence that maybe she was
really dead gone over that rainbow bridge after all.
Nineteen days had passed. I have to admit at this point I gave up hope. What is a kitty to do?
It was November 12th. Jennifer and Paul were watching the evening news, when we all heard a distinct “meow” coming from outside the window. Jennifer bolted from the couch and ran to the front door. Paul said, “It can’t be Vivian!”
When Jennifer swung the door open, she told us later she was afraid of what she might see. A strange cat? Vivian with her tail missing?
But in waltzed Vivian, her white fur grey with dirt, her tail intact. She cried and cried, her feeble meows filling the house. I went over to smell her. She didn’t smell like my sister and I hissed at her as if she was a stranger. But our owners were overjoyed. Their missing kitty came back after almost three weeks!!
“We thought she was a goner, but the cat came back, she just couldn’t stay away!”
She’d lost weight, was hungry and thirsty, but otherwise fine. She stank of wood smoke, so we think she might have kept warm under someone’s shed with a wood stove or had been barred in. Paul gave her a sponge bath in the tub while she purred the entire time. She barely left his side for the next 24 hours. She was so weak, she could only eat small amounts of food until she regained her strength after many days.
Needless to say, we didn’t get to go outdoors anymore, not until we finally moved to Perry’s Point. By then it was winter, so we didn’t want to stay out at all because of the cold and the unfamiliar roar of the ocean and the howl of the wind. By the time Spring arrived, the nightmare of Vivian’s disappearance was a distant memory and we began our outside adventures that to this day have been pleasantly uneventful.
Happily, Jennifer went back to liking Newtown. I don’t think Vivian ever forgot her ordeal because she’s never dared to stray far from home again. We think as well that the terrible experience is what has made her a much needier cat than I.
As for that ragged strip of fur, well, to this day it remains a mystery.
Thank you for reading!