Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rock-a-Bye Kitty

Denise and I returned home last Sunday night to find a void where before there had been black. We'd been gone little more than 24 hours, yet in that time our household feline population had somehow dropped from two to one. It was kind of like one of those locked-room mysteries, except this was an entire house, and there wasn't a dead body.1

At first, we assumed Calypso (a.k.a. Callie) was merely asleep somewhere, but as the hours passed with nary a meow, we began to worry. The friend who had stopped by to feed/walk the dog said she hadn't seen Callie at all on her second visit, but was certain she hadn't gotten out. We ramped up our search.

I looked everywhere for her. And I mean everywhere. I searched under couches, behind bookcases, in box springs, between the DVD and Blu-ray players, in the crisper drawer of the fridge, and even inside the dog.2 By the end of the first day, we'd determined there was nowhere she could be hiding or trapped in the house. We now assumed Callie had slipped out, despite our friend's assurances to the contrary, and we moved our search outdoors.

As an indoor-only cat, Callie didn't wear a collar, and we knew few would be able to distinguish her from the couple stray black cats in our area. Still, we asked the neighbors to keep an eye out for her, and circled the block calling her name. We looked under decks, in bushes, and up trees. Food left by the back door was eaten, but always at times when squirrels were running rampant in the yard.

Callie was a cautious cat who rarely sought attention from anyone other than us, so after three days passed with no sign of her, I gave up hope that we'd ever see her again. I could tell you exactly where Waldo was,3 or Carmen Sandiego,4 but not my sweet black cat who liked to leave us offerings of socks and dish towels. She had become Schrödinger's cat, both dead and alive at the same time, since we had no idea which she was.5

So imagine my surprise when our savior came to us in the form of an annoyingly yippy toy poodle with a small bladder. (Go ahead; imagine. I'll wait.) At 4:00am and in the pouring rain, he spotted Callie 20+ ft up a tree at the far end of our neighbor's yard. Luckily, the neighbors had a 24-ft ladder, so I ventured up to retrieve a scared, soaked Callie. Four attempts and two gouges in my arm later, I secured her against me and she purred and licked my shoulder as we descended. And like that, our four-day ordeal was over. Our family was whole once again.

I guess the moral of the story is: Don't trust eyewitness testimony.6

Welcome home, Callie.7

1 The body showed up three days later. And don't worry; it wasn't the cat.
2 Okay, so I didn't actually look inside the dog. But still. Everywhere.
3 In the kitchen with Dinah.
4 In the study with a candlestick.
5 Which is rather fitting, considering our younger cat is named Schrödinger, and he owns her.
6 That, or: If you own a cat, make sure you also own a 24-ft ladder.
7 Oh yeah, you're probably wondering about that body I mentioned in the first footnote, huh? Well, the day before Callie appeared in the black of night, a mouse forced open the panel around a set of electrical outlets and entered our home. Moments later, despite its alternative method of entry, it was as dead as a dormouse. (Schrödinger is claiming self defense.)


  1. So glad that she's home. Have you installed a GPS tracker chip yet?

  2. What a crazy adventure. That's a long time to be stuck up a tree. Whew. Glad you found her.

  3. Moral of the story - your cat is Houdini!

  4. You tell a great story - glad it had a happy ending. Naming your cat Schrödinger .... brilliant!

  5. Becca, she has a chip, but it's just one of those low-tech "I belong to" chips for scanning purposes. Unfortunately, GPS pet tracking is kind of expensive... so I'm just going to strap an old smartphone to her head.

    Mary, we don't know if she was up there the whole time, though. The small-bladdered poodle had been barking in a different direction previously, so he might have scared her up there just that night. Either way, we're relieved and happy to have her home.

    Alex, the previous owners did say she was an escape artist, but this isn't what we thought they meant at all.

    Laurie, thanks! I do take pride in my story-telling (and my procrastination, which is why my novel remains unfinished). And Schrödinger is the perfect name for him. Not only because of his fascination with boxes, but also because his actions often seem to defy the known laws of physics.

  6. Glad to hear she was found, safe. I would panic a bit if our cat disappeared. By the way, I now have that song stuck in my head, thanks!
    ....strummin on the old banjo.

  7. Heather, I did that panicking bit, too, but soon after that turned to despair. And finally, relief. Whereas the song in my head all week was, "That cat came back, the very next next next day..."

  8. I think I may know how your "inside only" cat got out...

    Assuming that's your home in the photo...


  9. Matthew, please. That's not a cat door. That's a Thing door. You know, for when we have the Addams family over. I mean, sure, Thing can turn doorknobs, but not both turn the doorknob and pull the door open at the same time...