Our cats have acclimated to the new, larger house surrounded by a circle of tall trees.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Yesterday, I headed out for a run. Both cats wanted to go out. They had each been out for a few minutes on their own. I thought, Cool. I can get a short run in and let them back into the house when I return. They’d be more than ready, on sensory overload with all the new smells and creatures and crevices to explore.
Only they weren’t around when I returned. I called. I traipsed around the back of the house a little, calling. Silence. Not even crickets.
I went back into the house to get ready for work. By sunup, I reasoned, their furry faces would appear at the back door. No big deal.
Sunup came and went. So did the afternoon, then the evening. I got home from kettlebells and everyone else greeted me except the cats.
Now I felt terrible. If only I’d kept the felines corralled. I could have nudged them away from the door and then they would be safe.
After rehearsal last night, we drove by our old house to see if they’d gathered there, like a safe place. We wandered the yard and turned lights on. We cried out. Again, silence.
Ruby was pretty upset. We prayed for the cats’ safe return. I prayed, too.
“What if they’re gone for years?”Ruby wondered.
I told her we had to have faith and be patient. Nobody’s good at it, but everyone gets a chance to practice it.
“You know,” Jonathon said. “I’m going to miss Rex more than I missed Rita. Rex and I have a love-hate relationship. He thinks I hate him,” he mused.
I know I did.
This morning, I had a feeling. I dressed for a run and walked out back. A light snow fell, stinging my eyes.
“Chloe! Rex!” I called, trying to be quiet because everyone else slept.
Chloe appeared. Somehow, she got stuck on the other side of the fence from us, in the neighbor’s yard. I walked her over to the gap in the fences and she slid through. “Reunited, and it feels so good…”I held the black Muppet cat in my arms.
She ran into the rotunda and straight to her food bowl. I petted her back. Little bits of pine needles and burrs stuck to her, a testament to her 24-hour exile. She plopped down on the carpet. Her purr filled the room.
Thanks, Jesus, for returning Ruby’s favorite cat. We praise you for answered prayers. OK, Lord. Please send Rex right over. We’re ready.