Yesterday morning when I let the cats in only one of them came home. I didn’t think anything of it because one or the other of them is often late coming home in the morning. Around 10am S text me to say that she still hadn’t come home.
This, of course, sent alarm bells ringing. If it had been Abigail, our grey and white cat, then I wouldn’t have been so worried. Abigail is a wee fighter. She’s clever and, sometimes, mean. Madeline, though, who was missing, is a very simple cat who likes cuddles and loves her kibble.
Abigail is a vicious wee killer, as well, often brining home dead mice and birds for us. Madeline, I don’t think, could catch a wounded baby bird fallen out of its nest unless it fell right on her head. She’s lovely and wonderful but very docile and, like I said before, a little bit simple.
So, since it was Maddy that was missing I was a nervous wreck. She had never gone 12 hours without food before and I was sure that if she was alive she’d have found her way back.
S went on a wander through the neighbourhood yesterday scoping out all the most obvious streets in case she had been hit by a car, but after a few hours of walking he had found nothing.
This made for a very stressful and tear-filled evening at our house yesterday. Even Abbey wasn’t eating and was moping about the house with the cat equivalent of a frown on… I got up to look out the back windows every 10 or 15 minutes, convinced that I’d see her meowing at me each time. But to no avail.
I couldn’t get to sleep last night. I felt like I had failed her. We adopted this kitten when she was born and we promised to take care of her. She doesn’t ask for much – just food and a warm place to sleep and, more often than not, cuddles galore. She just wants to be loved and looked after. And we’d failed her.
In my mind, of course, she was dead. There was no way she’d go 24 hours without food – no matter how lost she’d gotten! She’d been hit by a car or poisoned by the guy who lives at No 9. Or attacked by some animal. Or she was caught by her collar (quick-release, but still!) and slowly strangling herself to death.
It was awful.
Of course I kept getting up out of bed to go to the windows and call for her over and over. At least every half hour.
It was only just gone midnight when I was at the back windows calling, one last time before sleep, when I heard a faint but definite meow! !!! I called S to the window to witness and prove I hadn’t created the meow out of sheer force of will and sure enough there it was again!
We couldn’t really tell where it was coming from (from our back garden there is a choice of around 15 other houses near by) so S went out into the yard with a torch to see if he could pinpoint the location.
It was definitely coming from the left side of the house. So out we went into the night with our torches wearing our pyjamas. We were prepared to at least locate her even if we couldn’t really go knocking on peoples’ doors at 12:45.
We didn’t have to go very far! On the other side of the neighbour’s house we could tell the meow was close! there were two yards abutting each other and S tried desperately to see where she was with the torch but couldn’t see much from where we were.
There was a brief debate as to whether or not the neighbours would mind if we let ourselves into their back garden or not, but we couldn’t just leave her there meowing at us so pathetically, so S went through their unlocked gate and I stood guard in case we woke them and they came to the door.
After a minute or so of shuffling the flashlight around trying to see where she was, shifting a bin from one side to the other to get a good look behind it, through the fence and into the rosebush on the other side where she, certainly, was caught, S found her!
She was not in the rose bushes. She was inside the neighbour’s wheelie bin!!! With the lid shut over her!!! I don’t know how long she had been there, but I figure it was hours and hours. Either some kids put her in there for a joke ( I hope not!!) or the lid was open and when she went to investigate it closed behind her. That is probably the most likely explanation as it was the paper and cardboard recycling bin and, as I mentioned, she’s a bit on the chubby side, so as soon as she stepped into it (curiosity killed the cat, etc) it shrunk under her weight allowing the lid to close.
So, she was safe and sound. She ate half her body weight as soon as we got her in the house, though. Tonight when I get home from work I am going to knock on the neighbours door and explain what happened so it doesn’t look like we were sneaking. In case they notice their bin is not exactly where they left it.
I am afraid to let them out now and they will be on house arrest until further notice. Plus I am going to smother them with love and make sure their collars and tags are all up to date. Something I do all the time, but you can never be too careful, apparently.