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FLASHBACK: Strange Kitty, Where Are you?

Every once in a while I look through my past writing and dust off something from the vault. This piece was originally written on July 4, 2008, a couple of weeks after one of our cats, Gustav, disappeared.

Uh… Happy Fourth of July, yeah yeah and all that. Let me tell you what happened last night.

Two thirty in the morning I awoke to plaintive meows. My first thought was “Uh-oh, this is it, Mozart is in distress. I’m going to lose another cat.” Then Jack said ten words I wasn’t expecting.

“Oh my god, there’s a strange cat in our house!”

I didn’t believe him. Surely that was Mozart in the throes of a diabetic death? My eyes tracked the figure of a cat in the dark of the bedroom.

Jack was insistent and got out of bed. The cat bolted downstairs.

Mozart and Gustav in their leaner years.

Mozart and Gustav in their leaner years.

I, incredulous, whispered, “Is it Gustav?” Knowing it wasn’t. That wasn’t a Gustav meow. I got out of bed and followed Jack.

“I don’t want it to get under the beds,” he was saying. He closed the door to Ethan’s room and I closed the master bedroom door behind me. We both looked down in the doorway of the middle bedroom at our large, lounging, unperturbed cat.

“Good job, Mozart.” Jack joked, prodding Mozart into the bedroom and shutting him in. He headed downstairs and to the bathroom (Two thirty in the morning and the man had a lot of water to drink last night. Cut him a break.)

From the almost-bottom of the stairs I quietly called, “Strange Kitty? Strange Kitty, where are you?” I saw a shape in the living room plop down and curl its body up and over, exposing its belly. At least I thought I did. It was dark.

Thinking Jack was going to save the day, I stayed on the stairs for a few moments, but when I realized that he was adjusting the cat door (which had been changed weeks ago to the Hotel California you-can-come-in-but-you-can-never-leave setting in case Gustav miraculously came home) so the cat could go out the way it came, I realized I was expected to participate.

I could hear the cat at this point, but could not see it. Standing on the cubbies by the front door I peered over into the living room. The cat peered back, meowed twice, and bolted toward the dining room. Mostly white. Marked face. Dark bushy tail. NOT Gustav.

“Come here, strange kitty!” I cooed, percussing my tongue the way that I do to call Mozart. I opened the front door.

“Abi!” Jack admonished from the other room, thinking I was still perched on the stairs. “What are you doing? Come downstairs!”

The cat had now wended its way around the kitchen and was in the playroom. I hopped down from the cubbies and locked the screen door in the open position. Hopping back up on the cubbies I called out again.

“Come here, strange kitty! Come here!”

It approached. Jack admonished (he was still fiddling with the cat door. What a handy guy).

“Come here, strange kitty,” I purred. “Come on, go on outside.” It meowed one last time and dashed out. I closed the door as Jack was admonishing me again.

I walked over to where he was crouched. “I let it outside, silly. I guess Gustav used to keep this very thing from happening.”

“Oh,” Jack said, looking up at me. “I thought you were still on the stairs.”

No duh.

After agreeing to set the cat door on the nothing-is-coming-in-or-going-out setting (and cleaning up the recycling, which had been knocked over before we came down), we headed upstairs.

“This is my exact nightmare,” I excitedly exclaimed.

“What is?” Jack let Mozart out. (”Way to be territorial, Cat,” he muttered.)

“A strange cat coming in the house!”

“What exactly is nightmare-ish about it?” Logic Man retorted, climbing into bed.

“Okay, well in my nightmare there were multiple cats.”

“Well then this wasn’t your EXACT nightmare, was it?” Gah! The Logic! I got in next to him.

“Okay, well, then… this is something akin to something I have dreamed.” Somehow that just didn’t have the right ring.

Jack teased in a sing-songy voice. “Strange kitty, where are you?”

What was I supposed to have said?

“I’m just glad it wasn’t a possum,” he muttered, drifting off to sleep.

Indeed.

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