It had been too quiet. Usually, if we neglect to let the cat out of the basement (he is banished at night until he is neutered), he will announce his displeasure by rattling the door and banging on the furnace ducts. Yesterday, however, there was none of that.
That’s not terribly unusual – sometimes he finds a spider to eat or a hidey-hole to snooze in. But last night, before bed, I went down to make sure he had food and water and all that and he didn’t come out to greet me.
Last weekend, we’d gone into the crawlspace because he had been pooping in there and it needed to be cleaned. After cleaning up the poo, I sprayed the area with bleach because EW. I was hoping the eye-searing bleach fumes would keep his crazy ass from going back there, but I was wrong.
I’d cracked the basement windows a tiny bit so the bleach fumes didn’t kill us all, but Carl is apparently STRONG LIKE OX and was able to open one of the windows all the way, enlarge or create a hole in the screen, and escape.
Despite my physical therapist threatening to amputate my legs above the knee for doing this, I crawled up there and all the way back to the window. Sure enough, there was a Carl-sized hole with ginger hairs attached. ACTIVATE FREAKOUT MODE!!
Where was my cat? It was raining out there! Was he okay? Was he still in the backyard? How long had he been gone? Freddie and I went out to the backyard with flashlights to see if we could pick up clues or find our wee cat boy, but to no avail. Freddie then drove around the neighborhood a bit (in the pitch dark rain) but Carl was not sitting on a curb anywhere, waiting for a ride.
How would I explain to Jillian that we lost her best friend? I honestly didn’t think he would escape because those windows are freaking difficult to open and it wasn’t open more than an inch! WHAT A JERK. A strong jerk.
I emailed the neighbors and told them to keep an eye out and to let me know immediately if they found Carl or saw him or anything. Then I put up a quick ad on Craigslist. Then I fretted. And fretted some more. And cried a little bit.
Eventually, I realized there was literally nothing else I could do until morning, so I headed up to bed and fell into a very troubled sleep.
About an hour later, I woke up to hear Freddie say “Is this your cat?” He was standing there HOLDING CARL!!!!!!
Freddie has some kind of freaky superhero hearing (unless I’m speaking to him, then he becomes magically deaf). He heard some cats yowling outside and went out to check. In his boxers. Sure enough, there was Carl trying desperately to get back in the window from which he escaped. There was another cat with him – a black and white kitty I’ve been seeing around the neighborhood. I wonder if that cat would have come inside as well, or if it was a street cat that picked up our Carl and took care of him while he was out in the Big World.
Anyway, Freddie snatched him up and brought him inside. Carl was wet and bedraggled and FILTHY and bleeding from his back paw. We wrapped him in a towel and checked him out as best we could and he is all right. The cut on his back foot wasn’t serious and stopped bleeding overnight, and he is happily purring on top of the clean laundry that I need to fold.
People complain about their lives being boring. But look at the alternative: you could be looking for a lost cat so you don’t have to explain to your 5-year-old daughter than her best friend is missing. You could be at the hospital, watching your wife die of cancer. You could be praying that the car will start in the morning so you can get to work.
A boring life is the greatest luxury in the world. I’m glad to have one.