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.)