Monday, July 20, 2009

Trey’s Big Adventure and My Test of Faith

There are times in life that test our patience, our strength and our faith. And I don’t necessarily mean religious faith; but rather the kind of faith that everything will turn out as it should, if you just give it time. After all, isn’t that why we all keep going---to make sure that everything turns out as it should? (Or is it to stay one step ahead of our creditors? I can never remember which.) Anyway, this past week I went through three days of roller coaster emotions after one of my cats (Trey) decided he wanted to explore the universe outside the comforts of my yard.

It all began one morning when I went downstairs to feed the cats. It is our morning ritual—They wait at the top of the stairs for me to wake up, and then as soon as I make even the slightest movement toward the stairs, they fly down in leaps and bounds to be the first in the kitchen. And even though I didn’t see Trey among them that morning, I figured he might be sleeping somewhere and would certainly get aroused as soon as he heard the familiar sounds of food preparation.

But when Trey didn’t come running after all the other cats began gorging, I began to search his familiar hiding spots to see if he was just lazy, or perhaps even sick. After a very thorough half hour of searching, I began to panic. Where the heck could he be? Even his hiding places were empty.

And then it hit me. I had gone out late the night before to empty the trash, and perhaps he slipped out the door without me seeing him. As he is an all-black cat (except for a small patch of white on his neck), he can easily blend in with the dark areas of our backyard. And because he’s so fast, you don’t even notice him flying out underneath you until later when you happened to be glancing out the window and suddenly notice a familiar black cat happily prancing about outside.

In the past when this has happened, Trey usually stays in the backyard until I open the door to let him back in. The backyard is fenced in, and there are plenty of plants, trees, birds, bugs and catnip to amuse him while he’s out there, but I never let him out (intentionally) unless I’m back there to watch him. So on the few occasions when he has slipped out without me noticing, it’s always been somewhat of a shock, since I usually credit myself with having a keen sense of my surroundings. (Though perhaps since moving to the suburbs, my NYC skill set has become somewhat lax.)

So after searching through the many bushes and plants in the backyard, as well as the garage, I nervously began expanding my search through the front yard (which is not fenced in) and the neighbors yards. I brought along a bag of his favorite food and began shaking it, and after that didn’t work, I plugged the electric can opener into the outlet in the backyard, and began cranking it’s familiar “whirring” sound through a megaphone, in hopes this would bring Trey running. (The sound of the can opener always signals the opening of a tuna can. And no matter how asleep the cats are, or how far away, they always come running to the sound of the “whirring.”) Only this time, Trey did not come.

Nor did he show up that evening, or any of the following day. I called all the local shelters and the police station and the animal control center to let them know my cat was missing. And I also flooded the neighborhood with flyers offering a reward for the missing cat, and told all my neighbors to be on the lookout. But though I kept convincing myself that he would come back and all would be well, the fear of the unknown kept getting the better of me. What if he got hurt? What if he was picked up by someone? Or hit by a car and was laying on the road somewhere?

As my mind began to move to these darker thoughts, something inside kept telling me to stop putting those negative images out there. If I really wanted Trey to come back, I needed to believe that he would. That he was just off having an adventure somewhere and as soon as he got tired or hungry, he would find his way back to his happy little home.

That night, as I went to bed, my head was filled with thoughts of Trey. I tried mentally calling to him, hoping that there was some kind of telepathic connection I could forge with him, to help guide him home. I fell asleep, calling his name and turning on and off the can opener (in my mind, of course).

The next morning, I woke up at six am for some reason. The cats were all very happy to see my early rise, and scampered downstairs ahead of me to wait for their reward. But before laying out their food, I decided to glance out the back door just to see if any of the food I had put out the previous night had been eaten. The back door is constructed of a glass design that distorts anything you see through it, but that morning there was no mistaking the movement of a familiar black tail wagging on the other side.

As I tripped over myself to get the door open as fast as I could, my eyes started watering with the sheer joy of his return. I quickly unlocked the screen door and then opened it slowly as not to frighten him. And in he came, perky and peppy, as if he’d only been gone for five minutes.

But did I scold him or get mad? NO! I must have spent the next hour making sure he was all right, and petting him, and brushing him, and giving him so much attention, the other cats were probably considering their own temporary escape for a while. After all, if this is the kind of pampering you get when you return, it might be worth it to leave for a day or two. (That’s THEIR reasoning, by the way, not MINE.)

Anyway, Trey is back in the fold and everything is right with the world. (Well, not everything, but at least here in Plainfield.) So maybe if we all willed the world to be a better place, and went to sleep every night believing it to be so, then things might begin to look better. Considering the alternative, it’s a much healthier way to live.

But that’s just me. Have you ever had a similar experience?


Amy Lilley Designs said...

First of all, gripping, edge of the seat story...thank GOODNESS Trey is okay...when we first moved into this house 4 summers ago, I opened one of the windows w/ the screen on the top and when I went to open it again, assuming that the screen was down, it wasn't...I heard Little Kitty crying and looked EVERYWHERE, like you, until I noticed Big Kitty staring intently out of the den window...there she was, my little Girl Whirl, frozen (having flown out of the window much to her surprise, I'm sure),...she could have taken off, but she did not...whew...close call..they're indoor cats...I looked @ them the other day and said, you know what guys, it may not be as exciting in here, but I know that you are safe...oh my, if Trey could talk...again, so glad he found his way back home to you and the brood...:)))

Henson Ray said...

Amy--I can only imagine how grateful you were to see Little Kitty out there...I can only imagine how parents feel when they lose sight of a must be horrifying...I'm glad in both our cases, we didn't have a tragic ending to our stories.

Pricilla said...

I am glad your kitty is home where he belongs. Is he fixed? If not that is probably why he went a roamin' although I had a feral cat that I tamed named Ghost who would do that to me on a very regular basis. He would go for two or three days and he always came back. As he aged he stopped roaming.

Grace said...

You had me scared to death....I never read so fast in my life. Happy Ending - oh Yea!

We once lost Smoker Fat Man for 2 days IN the house. He never said a word even tho we called and called. And considering how much he liked to eat (he didn't get that nickname for no reasons) you think he would have said something. He was locked in an unneeded bathroom that we used for storage.

Yes, I know you're wondering why we were using a bathrooom for storage but we lived in a huge house with something like 4 or 5 bathrooms and it was just my husband and I, soooo

Rebecca said...

Oh so very glad that Trey came back happy and healthy! Thanks for sharing, yeah I couldn't wait to get to the end too! Taco did this too a few years ago
Yes, as soon as those "doom and gloom" scenarios enter your mind you have to make them stop and IMAGINE the best outcome, I constantly imagined taco appearing in the yard and he did..eventually...

Flores Hayes said...

a great find for panda fanatic!
my roommate and i LOVE this bag

Daisy said...

Oh my Cod! I am so glad to learn of Trey's safe return. Sometimes, if I think real hard about cat treats, I get some.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

I'm so happy to hear your cat came back home safe and sound. That's an awful feeling to know our cat is out there somewhere and wondering if you'll ever see it again.

Timi, one of my dad's cats always liked to sneak out on occasion and would usually be gone several days but always came home, usually with some torn up ears from fighting other cats.

The last time we saw him, he escaped from his carrier in the vet's parking lot and jumped over a fence. We looked up and down the street but never saw him again. He was sick and I think just was scared and wanted to be alone and die somewhere.

VetTech said...

Glad to hear Trey is back safe and sound. One of my furkids did this to me was sheer panic until he returned.

If he hasn't been vaccinated for FELV, you may want to test him in a couple of weeks just to be safe (you don't know what company he was keeping), also keep an eye out for his digestive health...he may need to be wormed if he got into anything icky.

Split Rock Ranch said...

I'm so glad Trey came back safe and sound. When we first moved here to the ranch one of our cats went AWOL and showed back up a week later, no worse for the wear. I have no clue where she was during that time. And, once when we lived in the city, one of our cats went missing and we called and called and called for him. Then while standing in our back yard I heard a meow. I looked up into the trees, no kitty. It sounded like it was coming from up high. Then I turned and looked into our neighbor's window and there little Spunky was! The neighbor was on vacation (Spunky must have snuck into their garage while there were loading their car) so we propped a ladder up on the house and climbed up to the second story window to retrieve Spunky. Fortunately their window was unlatched and no screen was on the window! I still wonder if he made a mess in their house...

Henson Ray said...

Pricilla--Ghost is a great name for a cat...glad he eventually decided there's no place like home...and stayed there.

Grace--4 or 5 bathrooms? That's quite a house. Sounds like I might get lost in it too.

Rebecca--The power of positive really has its merits...glad it worked out for you as well...

Daisy--That's great. Maybe if you thought real hard about a new diamond collar, you'd get that too.

Karen--That's so sad. I'm sorry to hear it. Trey didn't have any signs of fighting or any trauma. He just seemed a little tired.

VetTech--Thanks for the advice. I'll make sure Trey is checked out.

Split Rock Ranch--You were lucky the window was open. Did you ever tell your neighbors what happened?