The Ballad of a Runaway Cat -- 05/29/2012
The story started long before today but this day is when the cat got out through the screen. And I don’t call him Houdini for nothing. In my apartment, when I lived there, he was constantly getting out of the window to disappear for a day or two, and then scratching at the door to get back in. This time was different. Even though I have been in this location for almost two years, this was the first time he tried to escape and I don’t know why he picked that moment. I do know that he is still a slightly feral cat which is why he has these nervous traits, scratching at the window screens, pushing open the freezer…how did he know there are frozen steaks in there?? I had come home several times to find half thawed meat on the kitchen floor. They managed to eat one raw, frozen steak. Just one, sorry, boys, I know that was hard work but I don’t know how long it has been sitting out. And it wasn’t because they were hungry…
It’s difficult for them to understand why we live in separate rooms. It breaks my heart every day that I have to leave them. I would sleep in the garage with them but as long as I am here, in order to keep the peace, I have to do it. That night, he got out twice. The first time I heard him and ran out right away to catch him. The second time I wasn’t fast enough. I saw the pushed out screen, grabbed two cats that had got out behind him. I don’t remember a lot of what happened after. I had to get up early I was going to move my things from one storage place to another. So tired of living out of boxes, having everything hidden and out of reach and forgetting what I really have.
Moving my storage was a headache, painful, it was a terribly hot day, the first one, and I struggled. And screamed and cried. But I did get rid of things I will never use again. It took more than one day and too many trips back and forth. And it rained every other day that week. Not good for searching for a black cat at night when he is most like to be out. (to be continued)
Continued on September 13 2012
I wish I had written down the actions I took to find him every one of those days. But for the next week and a half I walked for miles, around the neighbourhood, on the main streets and posted flyers at the bus stops, in Wawa and on quite a few telephone poles. i went to this area behind a local strip mall where the employees were feeding some feral cats and left out food myself. I contacted animal control in my town and all the adjoining ones, and talked with a local woman who works with feral cat communities checking if any of them had come across any newcomers to their colonies. The first break came the day after another torrential day of rain. I had walked along this section of road in the rain the night before. A women who saw my flyer at the bus stop called me to say that she had seen a black cat, which had been hit by a car, on the side of the road when she was walking to the bus and that I should check it out. I did, not sure that it was he but I bundled up what was left of this poor cat and buried it in my garden. And then went to work feeling s a d. And when I got home sat with the rest of my cats for comfort. And then, my mother came up the drive way honking her horn and banging on the window. Two people had called her regarding an email she sent to the people in her community saying that they had seen Houdini. We jumped in her car and rode over to talk to one woman who lives in an area that is by a retention pond which was a small nature preserve and bird sanctuary. There is a stream that goes under the road to another pond on the other side. She said she had seen him in her yard two or three times. Just sitting. But when she or her husband approached he took off.
She said she was going away for the weekend but that I was welcome to sit on her patio and watch for him. I put out food and water, I walked around the pond and around on the road calling for him for the next 9 nights or so. I discussed buying a humane trap. Finally on Monday (June 18) I decided to skip meditation and come right home from work at dusk to search for him. I went for my walk. As I was starting to head home my mother met me and we walked back to the house. We went to the front door and heard what we thought was one of the other cats crying. We went in the door and then looked outside....there he was... crying to get in. Skinny as a rail.