Friday, November 22, 2013

The Return of the Prodigal Cat

As I mentioned in my last post, my cat Charlie went AWOL at the beginning of September.

He was out in the screened porch when a sudden thunderstorm blew in.  Either he was frightened by the loud thunder, or excited by something he saw outside.  In either case, instead of running back into the house (the sliding glass door was open), he pushed out one of the screens and headed for who knows where.  Since he is not an outside cat and we had a heavy rain that night, he apparently became disoriented and was unable to find his way back home.  Or maybe he just heard the call of the wild.  At any rate, he didn't return.

When I adopted Charlie I had him microchipped, and also subscribed to the "Home Again" service, which alerts other pet owners, vets, and animal shelters in the area to look for animals that go missing.  I reported Charlie's breakout and was able to download and distribute a "Missing Cat" poster with his name, photo, and description on it.

Over the last 2 1/2 months I received several phone calls about "Charlie sightings."  In one case I drove over to the block where he had been sighted and spent about half an hour wandering peoples' pitch-dark backyards with a flashlight, making the acquaintance of every rabbit in the neighborhood - without, however, locating my truant cat.  I had begun to fear that one of the local coyotes had eaten him for lunch.

Then one night about a week ago I received a phone call from a nearby vet's office.  Someone had found Charlie in a church parking lot and brought him in to the vet for a checkup.  The vet's staff scanned him for a microchip and contacted me immediately.

There's no place like home
Charlie didn't seem particularly excited to see me that night, but after I got him home he perked right up.  Oh, yeah, my dish - my box - my cat condo - my stuffed mouse - my MOM!!  Now he's back to following me around during the day and snuggling up at night.

Charlie definitely lost weight (and his collar and ID tag) during his adventure, but seems otherwise none the worse for wear.  I haven't let him back out on the porch yet, though.  I need to think of a good way to reinforce those screens before I can trust him out there without a chaperone.

"Every parent is at some time the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope." ~John Ciardi 

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