I woke up this morning to a gnawing realization that my cat didn’t make it home last night. I was congested and feverish. But, I couldn’t rest until I checked the porch. I stood outside with my hair in a ragged, sleep- styled bouffant. My sleeper set was mismatched. I called to my cat over the noise of my neighbor’s lawn mower. All to no avail. He wasn’t there.
I rolled over in my mind what I would tell my children. I had lost our beloved cat. I felt terrible. I tried to console myself by remembering all the irritating things he had done. Didn’t work. I wanted my cat back.
I took a deep breath and roused my children from their sleep. One by one, I let them know that Benny was missing and that I was sorry. I was the one who let him out the night before against my better judgement.
“He’ll come back.” Said, my oldest son.
It’s funny how large and vast your neighborhood looks when you’ve lost an animal. Like a wilderness.
“I don’t think so. He’s lost.” It wasn’t the first time a cat had run off when we’ve moved to a different place. I was sure that it had just happened again.
My daughter followed me into the kitchen and fumbled with the locks on the back door.
“I’ve already checked. He’s not out there.” I said.
Her little tan fingers worked faster to turn the knob.
“Baby, don’t waste your time.”
“But, I hear him.”
Before I could convince her that she hadn’t, I heard him too. Alex flung the door open and we both called his name in a joyful chorus.
In cat fashion, he sashayed through the doorway and strutted to his food bowl, meowing loudly. Relief and irritation washed over me. He was a sight for sore eyes but how dare he frighten me that way. I realized at that moment that he was probably under a shady bush next door the entire time.
I told him how selfish he was. Of course, he rolled over on his back barely able to keep his hazel eyes open. He didn’t mind that I was upset. It was blatant and obvious. He looked supremely peaceful which was in stark contrast to my anxiety.
I learned a few things from this.
*It’s good to get away even if it’s in the middle of the night. No need to hurry back. The house will be there when you get back.
*If some misled/confused human being tries to interrupt your “me” time, ignore them. They’ll go away.
*When “me” time is over, stand outside the door and loudly demand someone to open it. When they do, find food and water right away.
*Gallivanting at night on secret, undercover missions makes you tired. Find a perfect spot and sleep while your family express their frustrations. Again- they’ll go away.
*Wash/ rinse and repeat twice a month.
Ok. Maybe this won’t work for tired, overworked moms. After all, cats don’t have the words divorce, separation, child endangerment, abandonment, etc. in their vocabulary. But I was inspired to take a peaceful nap alone in my room today. Sometimes, that’s as good as it gets.