I made it home. Three days of reunion plus one day of shopping plus one day of work plus one day of travel = tired. But, it was all fun and wonderful and I enjoyed all of it. The weather was perfect, the friends were wonderful, the shopping was successful, the work meeting was interesting, and the travel uneventful. What more could you ask for?
I got home and of course Sir Thomas was delighted to see me, and wanted outside. He’d been naughty and scared the catsitter by climbing a tree, so he hadn’t been allowed out again, and so he was all cabin-fever kitty. I let him out, and he meandered in and out until around 8, when I went outside to water the garden. I went back inside and got involved in a project, and at around 8:45 realized that Thomas needed to come in.
Well. I called and called and called, and usually he comes right away when I call. But this time he didn’t. 9 o’clock… 9:30… 10 o’clock… 10:30… at around 11 o’clock I seriously started getting worried. I’d been out every half-hour or so, calling and calling. Wandered around the neighborhood looking for him, etc. I finally stopped calling for him at around 11:30 because I couldn’t call out without sobbing.
At midnight, I left the back door open and went to bed, because there was nothing else to do. I prayed that I would feel his familiar weight jump up on the bed to wake me up. I dreamed that he came home, and I was so happy. Then I woke up — but still no Thomas. It was 1:30 am and I was just frantic. I got out of bed, got dressed, went for another neighborhood walk, came back and wrote a “Lost Cat” craigslist posting, fretted, cried, prayed. Went back to bed at around 2:30 or so, imagining the worst, trying to keep it together, trying to have faith that he would show up for breakfast.
At around 3 am, the prayers were answered: I felt a soft paw on my leg, and instantly woke up and turned on the light. There he was — a little dirty, obviously skittish and nervous, but home, safe and no blood and all four paws and both eyes and his full length of tail (yes, I checked all of these things). I shut the back door, gave him a huge hug, cried my eyes out, then tried to go back to bed. He was obviously badly scared by something — he snuggled up super-tight to me and started nervously grooming himself, pausing now and again to stare fearfully down the hall (which made me wonder if someone ELSE had come in, before him..)
Finally we both settled down and got a little bit of sleep — my darling kitty tucked in tightly beside me, completely worn out from whatever adventure he had been on, and me, still vibrating from the fear and worry, but exhausted from the long night.
This morning he was still there (thank god thank god!) and although he seemed like he could easily have slept another few hours, he got up with me for breakfast, and then he put himself back to bed, exhausted. My theory is that he hopped over the fence into the neighbor’s yard, got badly scared by their (very scary) dog, and hid under their shed until he thought the coast was clear. He always, always comes back home so I knew something wasn’t right, and thank goodness he was just badly scared and not actually hurt. (well, I hope so — I’ll keep an eye on him the next couple days)
I haven’t felt that terrified and helpless since I don’t know when. I was positively sick with worry. I’ve been carrying around this horrible bereft feeling all day — even though he came home (again, thank you dear God!!), it was so awful when I thought he might never come home. I didn’t know what I’d do if I woke up in the morning and he still wasn’t home.
But thankfully he IS home, and he will be staying inside for awhile. I am going to look into making a secure cat-run in the alley by the side of my house, with a cat door so he can safely come and go as he pleases (to a contained enclosure!). In the meantime, when and IF he gets to go outside again, I will be carefully monitoring him and bringing him back with me when I go back inside. He usually just stays in the yard, so I don’t know what made him jump the fence (if indeed that’s what happened — for all I know, he was under my own house), but that was a really horrible experience that I never want to repeat.
And yes, he was wearing a collar with a tag, and yes, he will be getting microchipped this Monday. I know that all’s well that ends well, but that little kitty means the world to me and I couldn’t stand it if he didn’t come home.