THE CAT CAME BACK…
So, these are my cats. I won’t post a photo of the cat I’m about to describe because that cat was merely visiting and not mine at all.
It was early spring. The leaves weren’t on the trees just yet. I live near a water gully with lots of trees. It’s very private there except for wandering deer, possums, raccoons, etc. No people. So it was odd to see a woman and her teenage daughter traipsing around the trees there. I knew that sometimes kids played or took a shortcut home through the gully to neighboring streets, but that was rare. These people seemed to be looking for something.
Standing on my back porch, I watched until they ventured within hearing range toward me. The woman told me she was looking for her lost cat. Her daughter was crying. It seemed the cat escaped its carrier at the vet’s office down the road and now her cat was missing. No one had seen it in the neighborhood, including me. I told her I would be on the lookout for her cat. What does your cat look like? She didn’t answer as her daughter was already in her car, so she offered to drop off a flyer- she ran out of them while posting around the area. I told her to just knock on my door and I’d be glad to have a flyer and be on the lookout for her cat. Too upset to talk anymore they left. Not knowing even what color fur her cat had, I reconciled that I’d know the details soon enough.
She never came back. Stray cats came and went in the gully, most of them feral like the striped tomcat most people in the neighborhood fed, and I soon forgot about the lost cat.
Spring turned into summer and the days became hot while I tended my backyard garden. Cats and maybe a passing deer and squirrels were not uncommon in the gully especially at night.
Until one afternoon.
It was probably close to the end of the day when seemingly out of nowhere a cat ambled across my porch while I was sitting there admiring my flowers. This is that woman’s cat, just popped into my brain. The thought was fleeting. I didn’t even remember what the woman looked like, let alone how to contact her. And had no idea about her cat. What if it wasn’t her cat? Maybe the cat was just new in the neighborhood. People were always moving in and out of places. No. this was her cat.
I softly called the cat to me, not wanting to scare it. It was scrawny, but friendly. I quickly fed it and gave it water. It was famished. While it ate a second helping, I took one of our cat carriers and put the food and the cat inside it, not wanting it to run away.
I knew a person that used to work at the vet’s office down the road. Was she still working there? I called and she answered. She worked there part-time now and was just leaving. I asked her if she remembered the missing cat last spring. Was it ever found? She wasn’t sure. Was the cat orange? She wasn’t sure. She thought the cat was orange. It was big and fat, she remembered. This cat definitely wasn’t big or fat. Was I caging someone else’s cat? Maybe someone was missing this cat now?
Still going by my strong feeling, I drove the cat to the vet’s office. She thought it might be the cat, but still wasn’t sure, but offered to call the woman. I told her I’d leave the cat with her only for a few hours, feeling guilty about keeping a cat that might already be missed by some other family.
The woman called me after she left the vet’s office with her two children. Although the cat was thin, they knew it was their cat. It even answered to her name. Having given up hope after such a long time she was so grateful, she offered me a reward. The fact that her cat was finally home was reward enough.