Das a Kitty

Each and every night, we make every effort to get both of our precious little kitties in the house. I sleep much better knowing they are safe inside, especially during the cold winter months. In the summer, they can always retire to the garage if they happen to miss their kitty curfew, but in the winter I worry about them out in the cold.

Last night I recall seeing our cute little tabby Olive sitting all puffy and proud on the living room carpet. When I got into bed our other cat Dodger was already busy making bread and purring away beside me, and I called out to my oldest to ask if Olive was still in. She said she didn’t think so, but she would be sure to call her. I was concerned because it was freezing last night, and although I was sure the bitter, biting cold would make her late night jaunt a short one, I really wanted her inside.

The first attempt to call her in was unsuccessful. This is not unusual as sometimes my little wandering kitty is a few houses away. She waited another 10 or 15 minutes and called her again. Still nothing. I just want her in out of the cold. All shaking the food bag resulted in was the other cat bolting off the bed and into the laundry room looking for a snack. Now I’m getting anxious and worried.

A half hour later, I am in a doze but wake up immediately when I hear the back door open. Again my daughter calls her and jiggled the door handle. I wait expectantly for the gentle scoldings of “where have you been?” upon Olive’s return, but the only sound I heard was the door closing. I finally fell asleep unsure of whether kitty had made a safe return to the  house. Every time I woke up to roll over I thought of her and hoped she was safe inside.

When I got up at 4:45, Dodger was ready and waiting to be fed and let out, which is his usual morning routine. Olive, on the other hand, tends to wake up slowly and bothers me to let her out at some other inconvenient moment during my morning. After a few minutes, I was fairly sure she never made it inside the night before, and I went to the back door to call her.

Still nothing. I checked in the garage, which we had kept open in case she needed a place to sleep, and found that kittyless as well. Now I was starting to get really concerned. As I drank my tea and performed my usual pre-dawn internet rituals, I thought about how much it would suck if she were in the road somewhere. Eventually I donned my slippers, grabbed a flashlight and headed outside to check the street in front of our house.

We live on a busy enough road to keep my imagination active with road kill scenarios, and I have to admit that each day I approach my driveway I am thankful that there is not a little pile of used-to-be-kitty on the blacktop in front of the house. As I called her name, I glanced up and down the street, and searched the ditch on either side of the road to be sure it was free of kitty carnage. Thankfully the only thing I saw was plumes of steam from my hot breath hitting the arctic air.

I went back inside, bummed to the core that Olive was still missing, but slightly relieved that she was not dead on the road. My oldest woke up early, which is a miracle, also panicky about her missing pet. As much as she hates the cold, she put on her jacket and slippers, grabbed the flashlight, and went out into the cold, dark night to call to Olive. She too came back fruitless, and we hugged.

A few moments later I heard the familiar scratch at the front door. I thought to myself “Please be Olive and not just Dodger, Please.” And lo and behold, in strolled Olive. I was so happy and relieved that I snatched her right into my arms. Her fur was filled with dirt and bits of leaves, which led me to believe that she was probably hunkered down in some pile of autumn debris, and she was also frantically scrambling to get out of my arms.

As I put her down, I noticed she was limping. She made her way back to my oldest daughter’s room, and slowly crawled under the bed. After feeding her a plate of well-deserved wet food, we let her find a nice, warm, quiet place to settle down for the day. I figured I’d wait and see how she was by this evening and then make the determination as to whether she needed to see the vet or not.

After getting home from work, she was still limping, and she gave me an annoyed “meow” when I tried to put any pressure on her little tootsie. She them made a hasty retreat under the bed. I’ll do a little research online to see if a visit to the vet is mandatory. If I have to I’ll call my vet, but I am trying to avoid what I’m sure will be an expensive trip.

I am just really and truly thankful to have her alive and relatively well. So if I have to pay through the nose, so be it.

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