[SeMissourian.com] Rain Fog/Mist ~ 40°F  
High: 42°F ~ Low: 41°F
Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015

A winter cat tale

Thursday, February 5, 2009

We have had a house cat named Pumpkin for a little over a year. Our great-granddaughter, Marilyn, found him as a tiny kitten in a shed behind our house. He was cold, hungry and scared. That was probably the luckiest day of his life because since then he has been running our household very ably with only a personal maid and various other attentive humans.

We have installed a cat door from our View Room to the outside and he enjoys the outdoors when he wants to imagine he is a fierce tiger. But he also can come back inside when our grandson's dogs come over for a visit. He enjoys climbing the Catalpa tree where we hang the bird feeders and can jump onto the roof of the house from one of those limbs. The only stress in his young life is the fact that we have three mature, healthy outdoor cats who have not welcomed Pumpkin into our midst. Because of this, Pumpkin guards the cat door to discourage any of the outdoor cats from trying to become indoor cats.

Last week when we had the freezing rain/wintry mix storm, about 2 p.m. I noticed Pumpkin by the Catalpa tree where the birds were having a feeding frenzy because of the approaching storm. I thought that it wouldn't be long until he would come back to the warmth of the house. However when Marilyn got off the bus she didn't find her pet and when supper was ready he didn't come to prowl under the table for dropped morsels.

We began a full-fledged search before bedtime and looked in every room in the house, opened every door of every outbuilding where he might have gotten shut in, looked on the roof and up every tree near the house. We couldn't find him anywhere. By now the storm was making the night air very miserable. We continued going to each outside door and calling his name but no cat appeared.

I consoled Marilyn that he had probably gotten a warm spot out in the shed and didn't want to go out in the rain to get to the house. We left the cat door available over night, which was not our usual custom. I got up several times in the night to call his name at the doors and look out for any motion. The outdoor cats were snugly curled up in their warmed shelter and didn't seem concerned about my frequent visits to the doors.

Since there was no school the next day we slept late but the first thing we did was commence our search again. Privately I was afraid that he had been caught by a passing hungry coyote, but I didn't voice that idea to Marilyn.

I suggested that she bundle up and go outside and look more closely in all the buildings. We have had cats get imprisoned for a couple of days in the past when they had ventured inside while someone was working but didn't make themselves known when the door was closed.

As Marilyn passed the wrap closet in the living room she thought about opening that door even though I had looked in every closet the night before. I heard a shriek and laugh as she yelled, "I found him!"

Pumpkin was glad to be out but didn't seem too perturbed about his 18-20 hour nap. Although several of the hats and scarves from the top shelf had been scattered on the floor there didn't seem to be any other problems in the closet. I assume that when I looked the night before he must have been asleep up on the shelf, because the floor was bare and there was no cat.

We rejoiced that Pumpkin had come out of the closet.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus