One morning last week, The Husband mentioned that he hadn't seen the household beast around. Had I? No. Later, before putting the kids to sleep we did a full house sweep. Nothing. Nada. No beast. Not in the crib drawer, under our bed, or in any closet. Beast was AWOL.
I feared the worst: that he had inadvertently escaped into the wild when someone carelessly left the door open. (After I feared he had died somewhere in the house proper and it was only a matter of time before we found the body.)
Let me explain. Beast is an indoor cat. Everyone knows that, Girl included. Yet, recently, in past weeks, he's been bolder and bolder about trying to escape outside when we open the door. A couple of times, we've chased him back in. And once, we were closing up downstairs and saw his face in the back door window and got him inside, stat.
I put out a neighborhood APB that night and we left food and water outside our back door. I could NOT believe he was out there. I mean, 7 years, he's been a fixture here. I suddenly felt very sorry for all those times I referred to him as beast, vermin, or other derogatory-sounding name I've given him over the past few years. (Please note that before Girl, beast was my 'baby.' But after Girl arrived on the scene, a part of me turned on beast - he was too germy, too needy, and Oh! the baby!) My poor beast was out there somewhere. How could he survive?
The following night, sad after noting not a single morsel of food was consumed (including premium albacore tuna that we put out to entice him back home), The Husband and I were milling around downstairs when we heard a soft knock? at the front door. Our neighbor? But, no one was there. Odd. We walked back through the house to the back door in the kitchen and peered out from behind the shades. Which was when I saw him! Beast! Right there on our deck, looking up at me!
I rushed to unlock the door and open it, only to find: nothing. We searched the backyard. No sight of him. So, so sad. Why didn't he want to come home?
Then, no more sightings. We were glad that Girl wasn't too upset - I mean, she grew up with him - but everyday The Husband and I expressed our sadness at the whole situation. We imagined he was absolutely terrified being outdoors. (Or alternatively, he escaped as part of a master plan to flee his captors or had happily joined another family who appreciated him.)
On the fifth morning, Boy was being his usual OUTSIDE! self and I decided to let him play around on the deck while I drank my coffee before heading into work. Girl came out, and then The Husband. We were probably outside for about 15 minutes when I gathered things up to go back inside and get ready for work. As I walked through the door, I heard a sound- meows - I looked up to see Beast! Walking towards our gate calling out to us! Beast!
Husband opened the gate and he came right through and straight into the house!
Beast seems happy to be home and was definitely starved for affection. I think he missed us! And I have been doling out extra kindness for the cat I took for granted.