Pets can be a wonderful source of comfort but they come with a price. In a previous blog, I posted that I was the proud human of four cats. Now it is three. Our female, Reinette, managed to lose her way home a few weeks ago. She came to us as a stray and spent quite a bit of time outdoors so I don’t want to believe something bad happened. She wasn’t overly attached to us. Mostly we were a place to eat and sleep, so believing she simply wandered off eases my mind. But not all cats are quite so outdoor savvy and when Mickey went missing, I imagined the worse.
Mickey is a young tuxedo cat, one of Reinette’s kittens. He’s a real character, with a distinct meow. Many times I come into the room and he is laying on his back, his white underside exposed. Like all cats, Mickey is nocturnal and once the sun starts sets, he wants to go outside. Mickey does not wander from the fenced-in front yard. I don’t know if he doesn’t know he could jump the fence or is just to lazy. Mickey is also a bit of a fraidy-cat who races back to the front porch when something scares him.
My husband and I are on vacation and my daughter is taking care of the cats. When she texted me that Mickey had not come home the night before, I was worried. I think my fear was worse because I was away from home and couldn’t do anything to help find him. I thought if I were home, he would come when I called or I could go back into the woods and see if he was stuck in a tree. As the day progressed, I imagined the worse: what if the coyote that roams our area got him? What if he was hit by a car? Instead of enjoying my vacation, I worried, not only for my cat but also for my daughter who doesn’t deal with the death of a pet well. I tried to cut-off the bad feelings by just admitting that he was gone and wasn’t coming back. That’s what happens when you own a pet, especially one that goes outdoors.
But this story does have a happy ending. While my husband and I were at dinner, I got a text from my daughter, asking if it was OK to take in a stray that came to the house. Attached was a picture of my Mickey. We think something scared him and he had been hiding under the tractor in the back yard all day. Knowing that something, or someone, you love is safe is the best feeling in the world. I could feel the transition from blah to jubilation.
Being a human to a pet, or even being a parent, a spouse, or a friend, means accepting that bad things eventually happen. That’s why we need to enjoy the time we have and live each day to the fullest. When I get home, Mickey gets a great big hug.