Friday, February 4, 2011

Lost and Found Kitties and Snow

It's been a difficult year already and it's just getting started.  After my daughter went back to college, I came down with the worst cold / flu I've had in ages.  I ran a 102-degree fever, which is unusual for an adult and very unusual for me.  I had the worst sniffles and cough, but no sore throat.  The doc tested me for flu, but I came up negative, so he thought it was allergies.  I doubted it was allergies, and then George came down with the same thing three days later.  Hmm...  Well, we're both over it now, so that's a good thing.

On Monday night, George stayed up almost all night transitioning data between the old company we worked for and the new one - The last day of January was the witching time.  I stayed up doing my ATC's.  All three cats were upstairs with me, keeping me company.  Finally, I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and came to bed.  I did notice the cats didn't climb into bed with me.  It must have been 45 minutes later that George woke me up in a panic.  The front door had blown open and the kittens were both outside.  He rushed out to get them, but they both ran away from him.  I got up and got dressed and went out with him to search the neighborhood.  No sign of them anywhere.  It was raining and cold - not the place for kittens to be.  If the Siamese got out, he came right back, for which I was incredibly grateful.  If we'd lost Ming, too, the world would have just come to an end right there.

So began three days of anxiety and searching.  The forecast was for the coldest weather we've had in years and the two kittens were out in it. Tuesday evening, George was out searching the neighborhood for them when he saw the feral mother cat and Myst.  Myst ran away from him, but at least we knew she was alive and safe.  There was no sign of Calliope.  We left the garage door opened a bit for them and put food out.  We also put food out on the deck where we had found them originally.  The next morning, George woke me up by putting Myst down on top of me.  She had come home during the night and stayed in the garage.  We were so overjoyed to see her, but had still seen no sign of Calliope.  We saw no sign of her until last night.

The forecast last night was for snow.  It hasn't snowed here in 25 years.  We both searched and searched for Calliope, to no avail.  It was overcast and quiet, as it frequently gets before snow.  Just before I went to bed, I checked out on the deck.  Somebody had eaten all the food I'd put out there.  I refilled the food bowl and put it back out on the deck.  I noticed that a freezing rain had started, which hadn't been forecast.  I called to Calliope, and thought I heard a very faint meow.  I couldn't be sure and I thought it might have beeen my imgination.

I came back in and told George.  He went out and stayed for quite a while.  I could hear him meowing and talking.  He came back in, all excited.  He had seen Calliope!  She was eating the fresh food, but she ran away when she saw him.  I told him to put some of her favorite salmon in the bowl and I put on my robe and hurried out.  I sat on the deck in the freezing rain and called and waited quietly.  George brought the salmon and waited with me.  We called and called and heard Calliope meow.  Slowly, her meows got louder and closer.  Suddenly, there she was on the deck.  I told George not to move and not to make a sound.  It was the hardest thing I've ever done to see her and not to lunge for her.  She ate some of the salmon and obviously wanted it, but was so skittery.  We stayed perfectly still and she got less skittery and started eating.  Finally she came up to me and bumped me with her head and let me pick her up.

Calliope Snoozing

She seems fine, although she was very hungry and cold.  She ate two bowls of salmon as soon as she got in and snuggled with me in bed.  It was delightful to have three cats piled on top of me again!

A million thanks to all our friends and neighbors for their good wishes and prayers and for helping us look for the kitties.  And thanks to our vet and SCAT - our cat adoption service, for their advice.  Here are some tips:
  • Keep the garage door open just a bit and put out both food and the litter box.  The used litter box helps the cat to identify home by the smell
  • Young cats and kittens rarely go more than 1/2 mile from home, so they're probably close by.
  • If necessary, use a trap to catch the kitty.  Traps are frequently available to borrow or rent from animal rescue groups.  Do be sure to check the trap frequently.
  • CraigsList is sometimes a useful way to find or advertise a lost animal.
  • Many rescue groups and shelters have photos of the animals they've taken in which can be seen on the web.  Be sure to check all those resources.
  • When picking up a lost cat, be careful, calm and quiet.  Move slowly and let the cat come to you.  Rushing any animal and/or grabbing at them usually frightens them, even if they know you.  If they're hurt or frightened for any other reason, you'll need to be even more calm, quiet and deliberate.
  • And, of course, spay or neuter your pet.  Spaying/neutering reduces the desire to roam and, if they do get out, lessens the number of unwanted animals in this world.  There are many low-cost spay/neuter programs around.
Snow on the Deck
Well, by Northern standards, it isn't much, but it snowed last night!  Actually, there's ice under the snow, which is making things interesting.  It's starting to melt now, but still.  I wouldn't go out.

The X-Terra in the Snow
I think this would be a good day to stay home.  It's looking like maybe soup or chili for supper.

1 comment:

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