A couple of days ago, Emma left for the school bus only to return moments later because she thought she had spotted Zoe (our missing cat) and wanted me to rush outside to see for myself. By the time we returned to the spot, the cat in question had left.
I walked back to the house secretly relieved.
This morning, moments after the kids had left for school and I had just settled in at my computer, the doorbell rang frantically. It’s Zoe! it’s Zoe! Emma was yelling through the back door. I ran down the four flights of stairs in my black and white floral pyjamas, grabbed my coat, slipped on a pair of black dress shoes and rushed out the door to see for myself. By the time we arrived, the cat had wondered further away. Emma had to leave to catch her school bus but I stayed behind and gingerly approached Zoe’s Doppelgänger who by now was on the other side of a wire fence that divided the neighbour’s land and a public pathway.
I sang her name as I used to, and she followed me on the other side of the fence all the way to the front yard of our neighbours where she let me stroke her. I studied her face and started to seriously suspect that it was our little run-away. I felt her front paws to see if this cat was declawed and sure enough they were. About this time, Zoe lay on her back spread-eagle and revealed what could only be half a dozen full teats. This complicated matters as Zoe was supposed to have been spayed. At least that’s what the vet’s office had said when we agreed to adopt her five years ago.
When I tried to pick her up she made it clear that wasn’t going to happen and relocated to the neighbour’s door step. I decided to head home and call someone who knew about indoor cats becoming outdoor cats and then indoor cats again. That’s when I realized that my key was missing from my key chain and I was locked outside. In my pyjamas, dress shoes and a coat. Not to mention that last night I had neglected to remove my eye make up (something I almost never do) and had big black rings around my eyes (think Courtney Love) and my hair which I had not blown dry the previous day was a mess of waves and curls.
Basically I looked like a crazy bag lady. Minus the bag.
I considered my options and decided to knock on my neighbour’s door four townhouses away as their kids go to Emma’s school. Luckily they had missed the bus and Dan, their father, was driving them. When he came downstairs and heard my story (and saw me) he apologized for laughing. He later thanked me for such an entertaining morning. Dan drove his kids to school and his son (in Emma’s class) retrieved her house key and I was rescued from further humiliation about 45 minutes later.
While I sat on the park bench waiting for Dan to return and avoiding eye contact with every passerby, I remembered the time last year when I also thought I had found Zoe. There she was lying on the sidewalk near our townhouse one afternoon. Zoe?! I yelled, swooping her into my arms and rushing into the house yelling for the kids to come down right away. They jumped up and down chanting Zoe over and over again as we watched our former family member get reacquainted to her old digs. Zoe walked around like she owned the place and hopped right up to the window where she used to perch. We were convinced it was her. Even Chloe, her beloved room mate, sauntered into the room non plussed. Zoe however did not respond in kind. She hissed at Chloe and hissed at us. She started to get more frantic and Samuel tried to calm her down by stroking her. Not a good idea. Zoe started to scratch and jump out of his arms. Somehow we managed to retrieve her long enough to check her paws (something I had only then just remembered) only to find… claws.
THIS CAT IS CRAZY! Sam yelled.
GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE! I screamed.
ITS NOT ZOE?! Emma sobbed.
It was not a great time for any of the parties involved. Except maybe for me as I was secretly (very) relieved that it was not our cat.
But this morning I really think it was our cat. And if anybody was pregnant out of the two it would be her. Chloe was far too sophisticated and intelligent to ever let herself fall into such an unladylike predicament. Chloe sat like an Egyptian queen on upholstered furniture while Zoe probably showed her tail to every Tom, Tom and Tom out on the streets.
I once heard that cats have brains the size of walnuts. I used to say that Zoe got a peanut.
The cat was adorable. But dumb.
And a pain in the ass.
With Zoe in the picture it meant constant meowing, loads of fur everywhere, continuously shooing her off the dining room table and never having flowers as she would break them apart religiously. I didn’t really miss Zoe all that much to be honest. Although I kept that to myself. The kids were heartbroken when she disappeared.
And if that was our cat this morning, what about that vet? That’s some oversight…
Zoe is out there somewhere and Emma is now at peace with the fact that she is alive and seems well taken care of. I don’t think it’s a good idea to try and rehabilitate her into our household and I will get the vet to sign a sworn affidavit stipulating the same if I have to.
After all, they owe me.