Monday, September 19, 2005

Best Monday Ever (Love Returns)

Happy ending first: After going missing for three days and three nights, Love rematerialized at 6:30 this morning.

We spent a sad weekend tramping through the forest and surrounding fields looking for his remains. We sat in silent grief at the dining room table, unable to stop listening for his cries. This morning, I'd gone back to bed at 6:15, haunted by a neighbor's confident assurance that Love's neck had been snapped by a fox. "Either that or a hawk got him," said this neighbor who knows a thing or two about this semi-rural neighborhood. "I once saw a hawk swoop down and take a raccoon right up into the sky."

It was a soggy weekend. With each new rainfall, I started to cry, thinking of Love's body outside.

On Saturday, I wrote to my best friend:
Who knew a little cat could break our hearts like this? But we really did spend every day of this summer together. We'd come such a long way (we joked he was our "special needs child") and he and his movements are so enmeshed in everything I do at home. In the last few weeks, when we started letting him go out in the mornings again, he was so, so good about submitting to the mandatory tick checks. Upon letting Love back in each morning, I would lay out a pillowcase on the table and Love would hop right up and flop down on his side, to let me do the check. And I would coo over him, and tell him "Now I'm going to check your pretty ears.... and now your pretty face... and your pretty chin..." And he would purr and purr, and would sometimes want to be held and petted long after I'd finished scrutinizing his fur. He really had become a love lately.

On the morning Love went missing, we had a tour of the new place to which we'll shortly be moving. (Strict lead laws + ancient apartment + baby on the way = yet another move.) The first thing I thought of when I saw the new house's backyard was how wonderful—and how much safer—it would be for Love. I pictured him scampering back from the tree-line, in the jaunty way he always materialized from the woods when we whistled. But Adam had whistled and whistled forever on Friday... and nothing. On Sunday, we grimly followed a set of animal tracks deep into the forest and found a fox's den. There were a few feathers around the opening, but no traces of pale fur.

We missed his body, the distinctive Love vocabulary of energy and gesture.

And then his body returned. In morning's darkness. Howling on the side stoop. He was collarless, hungry, and had a small scratch on his back. Otherwise, he was remarkably clean and dry.

Was he lost? trapped? cat-napped? We'll likely never know.

What I do know is that I'm grateful for that squirmy little form who slipped back in the house, a sleek, soft miracle. Love back in my arms, I worried that I was going to wake up from a dream.

I'm also grateful for the tender and encouraging words many of you shared here. This is one of those days when I really wish I could post pictures to share. Today I took Love to the vet, who declared him healthy, but dehydrated. She gave him subcutaneous fluids, so he looked like a little camel on the drive home. Then the fluid shifted to his shoulders, and he looked like a cat on steroids.

Love dozed all morning with his brothers on the bed. And when I finally left for work this afternoon, he was sound asleep in the fruit bowl, his new favorite spot.


At 5:40 PM, Blogger aqua said...

Yes!! I knew he would come back! I'm so happy for you.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Lucy said...

oh, how wonderful :) I'm glad he found his way home.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger luckybuzz said...

Oh, I'm *so* glad for you all! We (semi-jokingly) refer to one of ours as a "special needs kitty" too....we lost him once for about 12 hours and nearly went insane. Anyway--I'm glad you're reunited!

At 8:05 PM, Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway said...

Hooray!!! I'm so glad Love came home!!

LDH once catsat for friends, taking over from the first-shift catsitter, who, once LDH showed up, casually mentioned that he hadn't seen the calico cat in a while... turned out that the calico cat had gone out a couple of days before and hadn't come back. After a good 48 hours of searching, LDH managed to coak the calico kitty home...forestalling by a very short amount of time the owners cutting short their trip to Paris to come home and search for the kitty themselves! (Needless to say, first cat-sitter was persona non grata after that...)

At 9:52 PM, Blogger What Now? said...

O frabjous day! Calloo callay!

I'm so happy that your family is back together.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger anbruch said...

Yay! Yay! Yay!


At 7:46 AM, Blogger jo(e) said...

I am so relieved! Glad he returned.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger AAYOR said...

Cant explain why, but I had a feeling that he'd be back... :-) I was so happy to read this post!

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Pink Cupcake said...

That's such wonderful news. I'm so glad that he's safe and back with you, and very please your ordeal is now over. :)

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Tiruncula said...

What wonderful news! The best news I've heard this month.

At 2:10 PM, Blogger Nels said...


At 12:59 PM, Blogger PowerProf said...

YAY! I'm so happy for you. I know how these little critters work their way into our heart and truly are part of our family. Glad your family is whole again.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Mel said...

I'm so happy to see this, as I'm catching up on a few days of blogreading!

At 4:55 PM, Blogger I LUV CATS said...

I found the cutest photo on your site.


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