This morning when Lily did not greet me on my way to the shower, I assumed she was still sleeping under the bed or in the closet. After all, she’d had a rough evening yesterday since Jessie, Troy and Dex had come over for dinner and she generally hides in the bathtub from this guy:
But when I got out of the shower and there was still no sign of her, I began to get worried. Maybe she was just not feeling well and wanted to stay curled up under the bed, I thought. So I looked in her two usual spots, turned on lights, started pulling stuff out from under the bed, shook a bag of treats, refreshed her water bowl and poured a bunch of food into her bowl. All of these things normally make Lily come running. Especially in the morning when she’s ready for her usual lap-sit on the bed after my shower.
But still, no sign of Lily.
That’s when, as I stared blankly into the kitchen wondering where she could have found such a covert hiding spot in our 850 sq. ft. apartment, I remembered the kitchen window. Because the weather was so nice yesterday and the air so crisp, we had all the windows open — including the kitchen window. The kitchen window with the broken screen.
I called to Hugh who was under the bed with a flashlight, gallantly helping my search efforts, and asked when exactly he closed that window last night.
“Around 11p.m.” he said
My heart dropped. I’d fallen asleep on the couch around 9 p.m. She could have hopped out of that window anytime last night and I never would have noticed. Thoughts of Lily becoming a sewer cat were already swarming my head as Hugh lifted open the window to check the status of the screen. Sure enough, it was basically a cat door. Even a fatter cat than mine could have escaped from that window.
Half dressed for work, with wet hair and without glasses, I grabbed my keys and bolted out the door wondering where on earth she would have gone once she got outside last night. I searched in our pile of bikes and coolers and basketballs on the porch, I ran downstairs and through the landscaping looking under bushes and calling her name, I squeezed into the closet that houses the building’s trash chute and dumpsters calling “Lily!” as I pushed trash cans out of my way.
Exasperated and certain that I’d never see her again, I was headed back to the apartment to make a new plan when I noticed a new poster by the mailboxes.
There was my
mischievous sweet cat in pictures from a neighbor’s apartment. She’d been sitting on their doormat, probably hoping she had the right apartment, when one of the girls arrived home. I waited until I’d left her rescuer a nice voicemail to break into hysterics about what a terrible mother I am and how Lily was probably leaving in search of a better life.
I’ve been playing phone tag all morning, but have learned that she was then transported from the apartment where she was found (because they have a dog) to an apartment downstairs where they have cats (and cat food and litter boxes).
My heart breaks to think of her sitting outside waiting to come back in, and spending the night in a stranger’s apartment with cats she likely hates.
But when I do get her back — hopefully as soon as possible — she will be grounded.
And she will be going to the vet.
And I will have to decide what I will be baking for the TWO very kind neighbors who helped out a lousy cat mom who let her furball escape on a chilly night.