Lost & Found

I suppose if I really wanted to, I could claim myself victim to “babybrain”–how else to explain excessive scatterbrainy-ness, misplaced objects, and even worse personal organization skillz than usual?

But, honor and honesty hold me from it, I think. In the same way that pregnancy is simply a convenient and finally socially acceptable excuse for my always tiny bladder, I’d be lying if I blamed the baby for all the rather important things I’ve lost lately…

…rather important things that most recently include the cat and my driver’s license. Urgh.

CybilCat, who you may notice is featured on this blog rather excessively, is an indoor cat.

Now, once upon a time—about 6 years ago—I adopted Cybil from AMA’s vet, where she and her pre-teen litter of kittens had been deposited. I brought her back to my parents’ house, and after a day or two in hiding and a fight on the 3rd day that earned her a permanent notch of street cred out of one ear, she found her footing as one of those more versatile indoor-outdoor-combo-cats.

When I left home and moved into an apartment in the big bad Gritty City, the busy streets full of tough alley cats and double-door entry to the buildings put the kabosh on her outdoor adventures. Since then, her life has been a small one, furnished—quite literally—with armchairs to claw, fridges and bookshelves to perch upon, and the infrequent houseplant to nibble.

She’s also a fraidy cat… we have friends who don’t even believe we have a cat, since she runs and hides at the first scent of a stranger on the stairs. It’s only recently that Cybil decided the balcony of my current apartment is a manageable, non-threatening extension of her indoor realm, especially suited for rolling in the sun, sniffing and crunching fallen leaves, and watching the big bad world and all the strange people from a safe distance.

And then last weekend, she disappeared through the open screen door. At night. In the dark.

Of course I panicked. We still live on a busy street, where a late-night crowd leaves the bar a block down at high speeds, and lots of neighborhood and stray cats have already staked their claim.

I imagined the worst of course, and went outside searching with a flashlight, under cars and in the shrubbery 4 different times. And like I said, Cybil hasn’t been properly outside in over 4 years. She doesn’t know the neighborhood– how will she find her way home if she gets scared? There are fat sassy raccoons on patrol, and she’s so little! How could I be so dumb to leave the screen open? And here I was being upset with her for eating my rosemary… I’ll never get to be mad at her again!

The husband finally made me come back inside about 1:00 am, but I couldn’t sleep. Aside from the 3 cats I grew up with and watched slip off to rest at very old ages, Cybil is the cat that has stayed with me the longest… and I’ve had a lot of cats. But she was definitely mine, not my sister’s, or my parents’, and yes, I know, she’s just a cat, and sometimes they sneak off or something happens, but I just couldn’t forgive myself if I lost her or put her in danger for a stupid thing like leaving hte door open.

I stayed up till 2:30, keeping myself from crying some more by making Lost Cat signs for the apartments and the near neighborhood, running out—barefooted–once more with the flashlight when I heard a cat-fight outside, and setting my alarm for 6:30 to get out and post the signs while walking the neighborhood.

When my alarm went off the next morning, the husband rolled over and told me to turn it off. “Look who’s back,” he said. And there was CybilCat, in her customary sleeping spot between the husband’s knees (which she loves and he hates), looking totally unconcerned… even for a cat. “She came in about 5am, I think.”

I know she didn’t understand or particularly care why I grabbed her and snuggled her close and cried some more, but she purred and snuggled back, which was enough to make feel better. We both slept till 11:30, equally exhausted (if for different reasons) by her midnight adventures; later that day, she found my stack of Lost Cat flyers and let me know just how over-dramatic and unnecessarily worried I was.

Oh, look... CybilCat found herself.

Unfortunately, no, I never found my drivers license… but at least that only cost me 15 bucks and 40 minutes at the DOL to replace.


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