As those of you who have been around since this post know, Jim and I took in a stray cat the same year I got pregnant with Dylan. I never wanted a cat. I got suckered into it by my husband, and the cat that was looking more and more pitiful each time it came around. Since the beginning, I insisted that the cat be an outdoor cat, with the exception of winters, when we kept her in the basement. Since I am allergic to cats, I knew there was a chance Dylan would also be allergic.
If you read this post, you know that the stray had kittens before "we" ever got around to having it spayed. When "we" found homes for the two kittens, "we" also tried to find a home for the stray. No friends or family wanted her, and the no kill shelters were full every time I called, so eventually "we" just quit trying and accepted that she would be ours. (If you're wondering why there are quotes around the words "we", it's because it is a running joke in our marriage. Jim will ask, "When are WE going to...?", or "Did WE make the travel plans?" I ever so nicely pointed out years ago that "we" generally means ME. Jim smiled in his sheepish way, admitting nothing, but also not denying it. Now every time he asks if "we" took care of something, there is that sheepish grin).
When "we" finally got around to having Dylan tested for allergies, we learned that sure enough, he is allergic to cats. Suddenly it wasn't just a good idea to get rid of the cat - it was imperative. I sent out an email to everyone I know, including the 50 members of the Mom's Club I belong to. No one wanted her. I called the no kill shelter - full. I put an ad on Craigslist - no takers. A friend of a friend seemed interested, but she is going to Florida in a few weeks and didn't know what she'd do with the cat while she was gone. I've been waiting this past week to hear what she decided.
Saturday we went out, and were gone all day. When we were leaving, I said, "Jim, the door (between the basement and the garage) is open". He shut it and we left. Saturday night we got home late. Around 11pm, when I remembered the sheets were still in the dryer downstairs, I also realized the cat is missing. It was too late to do anything about it, and I figured the cat probably went over to our neighbor's, who sometimes feeds it, and that she brought it in.
Yesterday we had plans to take Dylan to Jim's mom's in the afternoon, while we had a date. Then, the 3 of us went out to dinner, and grocery shopping. When we got home, around 7:30, I went over to the neighbor's house. Now I have to back up.
Sometime this past spring, I was outside trimming our trees when a lady yelled to me from the sidewalk, where she was walking her dog. "Is that your cat?", she inquired. I walked over and told her the stray's story. She explained that she sometimes fed the cat, and casually said, "If you need someone to bring her in this winter, let me know". I didn't think much of it... until recently, when I was kicking myself for not getting her name, or what house she lived in. Finally, one day about a week ago, I saw someone who I thought might be her walking her dog. I watched her out my window to see which house she went in.
So, when I walked over last night, I had no idea if it was even the right house. Talk about awkward. An Asian boy answered the door, and I stood there having this conversation in my head... Do I say "Is your mom here?"... He could be adopted...Is this the right house?...Why didn't I pay attention to her name? I'm such an idiot! Out loud I started stammering, "Uh...I'm looking for...uh..my cat...and I think...uh...". Thank God the lady came to the door at that moment, and remembered me.
She told me she hasn't seen the cat, and I told her the whole story about finding out Dylan is allergic. She interrupted me to say, "Oh, I would love to have the cat! The kids who come for piano lessons (that explains that) love her, and she is such a sweet cat". She told me there is another lady in the neighborhood who feeds her, (no wonder she is so fat), and gave me her number. I called and left what had to be a strange sounding message on her machine. Then I called my parents to explain the situation to them, in case they get any calls while I'm at work today. When I mentioned the second name, my dad said, "That's the lady who talkts to Dylan and I when we go for walks".
She called shortly after that. She was confused about who I was, until I said, "You talk to my dad and my son, Dylan, when they walk around the neighborhood". "OH! Dylan! You're Dylan's mom?! He's my buddy!", she gushed, and I had to laugh. More neighbors know my 3 year old social butterfly than me!
She also hasn't seen the cat, but I suddenly felt like I was in a Desperate Housewives episode. "Well, so and so has 3 cats, and she would take her in if she saw her. I'll call her and call you right back". So, after a bunch of phone calls, I have the neighborhood looking for the cat, and my name and phone number being passed around. I finally have a home for the cat, and no cat, and I am worried sick about a cat I never wanted in the first place.
I'm sure there is a lesson in all this. Maybe it's that I need to listen more. Or that casual encounters might be more important than you think. Or maybe, the lesson is that I should ignore the next bright idea that "we" have.
(I am really hoping this story has a Part II, and that Part II has a happy ending).