Cat Nap

On New Year's Day as it got near bedtime, I noticed something. Or, rather, a lack of something. Cinder had been in the house most of the day, as had the other cats, since it was cold and snowy. But whereas Dortmunder and Vin tend to spend a lot of time napping in closets or under furniture, Cinder always lets us know where he is. He flops down on the floor where we are constantly walking from kitchen to living room, or is curled up on the couch for hours at a time where the kids like to sit. The point is, it's never a mystery where he has gotten himself off to.

So we looked around and concluded that he was not in the house after all. I went outside with a flashlight and found kitty prints going toward the neighbors' yard, but they had shoveled a little later than I had, and I couldn't find any more tracks.

The next day there were cat prints on our back porch, so during the night he had probably come to the door there wanting to be let in. I went out and followed them, but again couldn't tell where he had ended up. I walked around the neighborhood trying to tell if he had been running around other people's yards, to no avail. I left the garage door open a bit that night, but he still wasn't there the next morning.

The following day I went to the animal shelter just in case someone had taken him there, but still no luck. I was surprised at how much it had brought me down, but because we had raised him from a kitten in the house, and because I had spent the time training him and developing a pretty close bond, he somehow felt more like a family member than the other cats. He is also a lot more vocal and generally communicative than the others.

On the evening of that third day I heard a cat growling outside of the front door. I opened it, and Cinder ran in. We were thrilled, and I was especially relieved because I had pretty much thought we'd never see him again (despite our previous experiences with the other cats).

The weird thing is, he had a tiny bit of carpet in his paw, and his fur was not cold when he came in. He also seemed a little agitated. So I wondered if someone had kindly taken him in but had then kept him from leaving when he wanted to for a couple days. Then he bolted when a door was open for a minute. At least, that's how I imagine it. So we didn't let him outside for a couple more days, just in case.

Whatever happened, though, we were glad to have our strange family whole again.

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