This is the lovable little cat we call Sansa. She’s a feisty but dependent girl who demands to go outside often but usually sleeps all night on our bed or the nightstands. And last Monday she went missing.
It was a nice day, the first nice day in a couple weeks and all the cats we allow outside were eager to get out. And everyone checked back in every few hours. But by the late afternoon I realized I had not seen Sansa since the morning. That’s quite unusual for her. She likes to come in for her afternoon lunch and a nap. The hours stretched on and my midnight we were still going to the back door and calling her name. There was no answer.
Our cats are somewhat safe outdoors. There’s no neighbors who have a vendetta against them, the larger ones like Daniel and Sneakers take no rubbish from the dogs that wander this town, and they stick close to home. But Sansa is the smallest and has been pursued by loose hunting dogs before. She also has a tendency to crawl into any vehicle, any open door. When she wasn’t at the door the next morning it was obvious she wasn’t coming home.
My wife, who loves her pets more than anything, was in shambles. I was dealing with searing back pain and seething grief/anger. It was not a good week. Day after day and no sign of a small fat tabby with touches of caramel, a little tuft of hair springing up between her ears. If she got caught and killed by a dog, we had little chance of finding her body. If she was trapped in a garden shed, garage, or barn the likelihood of survival without water was growing thin. Humans can last three days without water. I wasn’t sure what the statistics were for felines but they couldn’t be much different. By the weekend I had given up hope. She was gone for good. I couldn’t even bring myself to write a simple post on this blog, let alone a RIP post for our gone girl.
Late Monday afternoon I was unloading the Family Truckster after a trip to our small town grocery store. There was a movement behind me and I turned in time to see a cat leap out of the thick hedge of battered Caragana beside the driveway. The cat was a brown tabby and was shrieking in a most pitiful way. I saw the tuft between the ears. Sansa.
I scooped her up. She struggled a little because she was traumatized but she stopped caterwauling as I went up the back steps. By the time I was inside the door her sides were heaving with purring. The cat smelled of dust, machinery, and motor oil. She had been trapped in a building or shed for a week. She must have gotten water in some way but she had lost a lot of weight. And now she was home.
Carjo was in bed, nursing a toothache. I brought Sansa into the bedroom and for a second she wasn’t sure which cat I was bringing in. It took a few minutes for it to sink in. Hell, I was holding her and it was just sinking in.
After a joyful reunion with her mama, Sansa ate and drank, stomped around the house purring, asked to go back out and then rolled in the driveway. She was savoring freedom. She came back inside. She went out again to stampede across the lawn. By sundown she settled down and crashed on the loveseat beside Carjo. When we were getting ready for bed she went into the bedroom and was asleep before we got into bed. She laid between us for half the night and then left the bed, probably for a snack. She came back and settled next to Carjo, sleeping safe and sound.
Today she’s been in and out. It might take her awhile to get back to her fighting weight but she’s working on it. Her “sister” Arya appears quite relieved and is keeping a close eye on her. The house is back to normal. And now I can tell the tale.