On an average, normal day, we have two cats. You can tell because if one of them (JJ) is doing something, the other one (Mouse) will attack him, or if one of them (Mouse) enters the room, the other one (JJ) will meow and hiss preemptively run away. Mouse is always clawing something, and JJ wanders around the house trying to drink/knock over every thing in the house that is holding any amount of water. As last evening drew to a close and none of my water had been knocked over, I began to worry.
I hadn’t seen JJ in a while, but the door to our deck was open and he loves hanging out on the deck, so it was not unusual for him to be unseen for lengthy periods. My wife and I heard a loud mewling wail come from the deck at one point, so we ran out. He wasn’t there, but our deck is attached to our neighbor’s deck, and though it is not accessible by humans, it is easily reached by cats, so there was a good chance he was over there. We came back inside, figuring he would come in when he was ready.
He did not come in. The hour grew later, my wife went to bed, and I started freaking out. Where was the stupid cat? Was he even on the deck at all? I called to him. I searched for him. I asked Mouse if she had seen him. She was not speaking to me though, because I had asked her not to rend the flesh from my bones earlier in the evening, so I got only a cold stare and a flick of the tail.
I decided to try my failsafe backup trick. Grabbing the food bucket from the top of the fridge, I opened it out on the deck and shook it around as if I was putting some of it into a bowl. Still nothing. I couldn’t really see the other deck, as there is a wall separating the two outside areas, but I craned my neck around, trying to see what I could and making cattish noises. Still nothing. Also, last night seemed like a good night for the deck light bulb to blow out, so it did, making it very dark out there. And did I mention the rain?
Convinced that he had to be over there somewhere, I grabbed a flashlight and went outside. I tried to shine the light up to my neighbor’s deck, to see if there were any cat shaped shadows created, but it was very hard to make anything out from the ground. That’s when I had the brilliant idea of climbing the hill in the courtyard and trying to see the deck from there. I scanned the deck with the flashlight, but now I was so far away that not much of the deck was illuminated. I could see that the door to the deck was slightly ajar, leaving me with the horrifying possibility that JJ was now hiding somewhere in my neighbor’s house. I considered knocking on her door (as my wife had advised me to do from the beginning), but now it was around midnight and I felt that this was too late to be banging around asking people to search their houses for my alleged cat.
Now I started wondering if he was on the deck after all. Perhaps he was just hiding in the house somewhere. With the rest of the family sleeping, I took my flashlight and started searching everywhere. I searched the bedrooms, closets, under dressers, behind bookcases, in the oven (you never know where my son is going to put the cat), and in every box or bin I could find. Nothing. No cat. I continued to hear meowing from outside, but when I would run to look, I would see the cat of a former resident, who had moved a few blocks away but still thinks we are in their territory.
At around 1:30 in the morning I finally gave up and went to bed. No cat. I had no idea what had happened to him, but I felt sure that he was not in our house, or on the decks. Maybe he was in our neighbor’s house after all? I got up this morning to find only one cat again, still not speaking to me, so I went downstairs, outside, and to my neighbor’s door, ready to ask if I could search her house. That’s when I heard the meowing again. Stupid old JJ was sitting in some plants next to our house, completely drenched and limping. He had jumped off the deck! What a jerk!
So the great cat hunt has ended, we have two cats again, and whatever else I would normally have written about today will have to wait for another time. More exciting posts about music and children coming next week. For now, I’m just going to towel off my cat and then put him on my lap for the next few hours, patting and cuddling him. Stupid jerk cat.