Spice, our almost-toothless, clawless, senior, indoor cat got out on Saturday. By the time we found him, we could see our breath from the incoming cold. And in-between was the most frantic I’ve felt…maybe ever.
We bought a new TV on Saturday and Derek’s sister and her boyfriend were taking our old ones away. While I was downstairs trying to find the matching remote controls, unbeknownst to us, they propped open our screen door and then went to the back of the house to get the TVs. Everything got loaded onto the pickup, we said our goodbyes and that was that.
Spice sometimes goes into a secluded spot and sleeps for a couple of hours so not seeing him was perfectly normal. But when he didn’t show up at dinnertime, we tore through the house, making sure he wasn’t accidentally locked in a closet or the work room downstairs. Once those possiblities were eliminated we had to accept that somehow, he got outside.
Spice has no street smarts whatsoever. The more I thought about the perils a vulnerable guy like him could face in the great outdoors, the harder I cried. Bawled, actually. Derek stayed calm and showed why he’s the king of this particular jungle. We started a search, looking through every inch of our property, and those of our neighbours. Cats hide when they’re scared so no low-lying bush, nook or cranny was overlooked. I quickly tweeted a photo of Spice and asked fellow west-end Londoners to RT it, which they did, more than 70 times.
We caught a bit of a break when our next door neighbours came home. Peg had seen Spice a couple of hours earlier when he sniffed around their patio and then wandered to their back yard. It helped fuel our belief that he hadn’t gone far or brought to life my worst fear and gone near the road. But it was getting colder and it was all unfamiliar to him. I decided that if he would be out all night, so would I. While we searched, I made a mental list of everything I’d need for a night of winter camping. I wanted him to find me when he came home.
Our garage had been open earlier in the day and Derek had searched it. By now we were going over the same territory again so he went back in the garage and started moving things around. He caught sight of some fast-moving ginger fur and our hearts leapt. It was Spice – cold, terrified, and confused. Derek grabbed him and paid the price with a shredded shirt and chest. The back claws are more effective than we thought.
Derek cleared everything away so we could see our frightened lad. I talked softly to him while Derek went in to get the carrying case. Soon enough Spice came toward me and started to purr while I stroked his fur. We got him in the case, hustled him inside and finally the ordeal was over. Spice made a beeline for his food bowl and relief washed over us. This could have been devastating and we would have no one to blame but ourselves. Lucky for us, Spice now has a tale to tell Miss Sugar about a few hours of life on the lam. And we will watch that screen door like hawks from now on.