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Thursday, November 8, 2018

What is that now, Junior? Life number 6?

This time of year the cats are in and out of the house, up and down the stairs, looking for excitement. They smell cooler weather in the air and they are invigorated by it. As soon as you slide a door open they zip through it.
I commute to work before the sun rises so I don’t see the cats until dinner time. I can’t keep track of where they are until Tuesday, when I work from home, or the weekend. Last Tuesday Annie and I were in the storage room, sorting little girl clothes to give to a friend who lost her home and all her belongings in a fire. The cats like to go in there, because it holds all kinds of interesting smells. When we leave we have to make sure they are all out again.
I guess we missed one. Today is Sunday and I went into the storage room to look for a futon cover. Suddenly I hear a ‘meow’ and Junior pops his head up from where he is snoozing in the blankets on the baby cradle. He jumps down and flashes through my legs and out the door.
“Junior! What the heck? How long have you been in here??!”
I hope I left the door open Tuesday and the Farmer decided to close it sometime later in the week. Because I would really hate to think I locked my poor cat in the basement for five whole days without food, water or toilet.
I sniffed the air. Huh. No trace of cat urine. Bizarre. I know they are basically desert animals and don’t need a lot of water but can they also hold their bladders for five days? Poor Junior.
I know he was in there for a while, because when he popped out he watched the dog very closely as he ate his kibble.
“Your food is up here,” I said to the cat, patting the top of the bench. Junior leapt up and started chowing down. He was mighty hungry. I stroked the cat’s fur. This is the only time he will allow me to touch him – when he is eating. Normally he arches his back, pushing up into the hand that is petting him. This time he just concentrated on his food.
We have had squirrels in our attic so the Farmer has been up there, setting live traps. Mostly he is just feeding the cunning little rodents, who appreciate the snacks he leaves them. But when Junior was missing for a few days, I just assumed he had gone up the ladder and through the open door to the attic. We left it open for a few days. I guess we are lucky we didn’t get a squirrel or anything else in the house. Imagine waking up to a raccoon on your bed.
I guess that storage room is a lot more soundproof than we originally believed. Junior is a very vocal cat. He often sits in the doorway to my office, vocalizing about anything at all and nothing in particular. He was probably calling to us through the closed door, but we didn’t hear anything. Not even when we went downstairs to put Fergus to bed and every morning when we released him from his crate.
“Why didn’t you call me?” I asked Junior, who just pushed into the older cat, Sheila, on the couch, and let her wash his ears. “And you, Sammy. I thought I could depend on you!” Sammy is the cat who came and woke me when the house was on fire last year. You’d think he would let me know that his brother was locked in the basement. Who knows what he was thinking. Maybe less competition for the cat treats. Survival of the fittest and/or smartest and all that.
I left the baby gates up around the pool this winter so I don’t have to worry about any animals accidentally breaking through the ice. This has happened at least once in the past. It may have happened more than once, but the Farmer doesn’t like to tell me.
I never thought I would lose Junior by locking him up somewhere in the house. I’m horrified to think what would have happened to him if I hadn’t gone looking for a futon cover. I guess I’m going to have to do a roll call every night before bed to make sure all fuzzy little felines are present and accounted for.
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