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Response to AmyStrange (Original post)

Tue Jan 19, 2021, 09:52 PM

80. Andy Schmookler: The case of the missing cat

 

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Andy Schmookler: The case of the missing cat
By Andy Schmookler Jan 16, 2021


The two previous columns I’ve published that involved the two kittens I adopted last year – “Fortunate kittens” and in “Observing my kittens in an evolutionary perspective” – doubtless conveyed, in addition to the ideas I had in mind, my love of those two good-hearted felines.

So you can imagine that it was a pretty heavy thing when one of them disappeared recently. One morning, Wilbur failed to come home for breakfast from his nighttime enjoyment of the outdoors. (We live on a piece of land, partly landscaped, on a forested mountain). We looked, and we called in vain, for our missing furry friend. For six days – no Wilbur.

I quickly feared the worst. Knowing Wilbur, I felt certain that if he were able to come home, he would. Therefore, he was either lost, trapped or dead. And of those three, dead was the one that seemed most plausible. Most likely he’d been caught by some predator – a fox? an owl? – out in the forest near our house. And most likely, we’d never know what happened.

That likelihood of “never knowing” gave me a sense of how weird it must be to have a “Missing Persons.” Suddenly, someone you love – someone important in the landscape of your life – is not there, and that absence is a mystery. Losing a loved one is always strange – the strangeness of “here today, gone tomorrow.” But not to know a thing about what happened is especially strange.

[SNIP]

That’s the background for what happened next.

[SNIP]

It was a bit after midnight. I was in bed, minding my own business. No, I wasn’t even minding my own business – I was half asleep.

I heard a cat give a “Hello, pay attention to me” call upon entering the room. I figured, of course, that it was Millie, Wilbur’s sister, who’d been especially desirous of loving contact with us since her brother disappeared. I turned over onto my back, and the cat climbed onto my chest. The room was very dark, and I could feel the cat, but not see it.

Gradually, I registered with surprise how intense the cat was being – enthusiastically absorbing cuddles, kneading my chest, pressing against my hands, rolling over on top of me, purring very loudly. I started to wonder: Millie can be enthusiastic and affectionate, but this had an intensity I wouldn’t have expected of her.

Also, this whole choreography of affection reminded me of what Wilbur and I had called, since way back when he was still a kitten, Wilbur’s “Chest time.” (This was Wilbur’s and my most passionate make-out time. And Wilbur’s declining interest in “Chest time,” as the months had gone by, had saddened me.) So I felt compelled to turn on the light and to take a look at my ecstatic furry companion.

With the light on, the cat turned its face to look at me. And lo and behold there was the tell-tale white mustache. It was Wilbur!

[SNIP]

https://www.nvdaily.com/nvdaily/andy-schmookler-the-case-of-the-missing-cat/article_ec122b7d-630b-57c3-9c53-03fffaf18f9e.html
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