Lost and Found

A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to share a couple of valuable lessons with my children. The lessons: Discretion, Good Judgment, and Civil Disobedience.

I used discretion and good judgment today when the kids and I hung fliers on the lamp posts throughout my neighborhood. I used discretion and good judgment because hanging the fliers was an example of civil disobedience for violating what I am sure is some sort of “heinous violation” of one of the sanctified “covenants” of our neighborhood’s homeowners association (not to mention a flagrant violation of some city ordinance).
(See THIS POST – Read the bolded text and pay close attention to the second paragraph.)

Now, let me explain why these lessons were necessary:

You see, I found out on Saturday that some time the day before, a door had been left open in our house. Ignore for a moment the fact that on a ninety degree day someone in our house insulted our (often ignored, yet beloved) air conditioner as it exerted itself in a feeble struggle to sustain a comfortable level of humidity within our home – you would think that the fact that we have an ADHD dog that (at the first possible opportunity) will run out the door in a desperate attempt to find anything she can chase (and as far and as fast from home as she can), and two “strictly indoor” cats - would be enough of an incentive to keep the door closed… But it was not. Somehow, someone left one of the doors wide open.

Now, as you may or may not remember, Garfield (the male half of “team feline”) recently used up all his lives when he was discovered to have a broken leg that (initially) appeared would cost us over $3,000.00 to mend. He was “knocking on heaven’s door” when the vet provided us an alternative option of casting his leg, crossing our fingers, and hoping for the best (for 1/10 of the price). We decided that we would give Garfield one last “bonus” life, and agreed to have his leg cast. (SEE HERE for more info and a picture.)

We struggled to keep him immobile, and many times found him climbing, running and jumping with the cast on. We woke up one morning (about two weeks ago) and found Garfield making his way up the stairs – cast-less and with an ever-so-slight limp (like he had not used the leg in a few weeks). We quickly located the cast in Jonathan’s room. It had fallen off two weeks early (which the vet told us to expect). Garfield has been doing fine ever since.

I never did bring him in for a follow up appointment. The vet wanted to do more x-rays and a follow up appointment after the cast came off. This would mean another visit to the vet, x-rays, and other miscellaneous associated fees. This “follow up” would cost an additional $150.00 - $200.00. All total – I have close to a thousand dollars invested into Garfield (between shots, neutering, de-clawing, and the broken leg).
I decided to save the other $200.00 on the follow up, because –frankly- if the leg did not heal, Garfield and I would have gone on a little “early” hunting trip together. Even without the “follow up” visit to the vet, I still have around $700.00 invested in this $5.00 farm cat.

Mimi (the female half of “team feline”) on the other hand has had her shots - Period. When she first started going into heat...
Imagine my surprise when I came home and found an incestual feline act going on right before my very eyes – several months before we “expected” this sort of thing to start.
...we were unable to afford to get both Garfield and Mimi fixed and de-clawed at the same time. We chose to have Garfield neutered – that way he would leave Mimi alone. Overall, the plan has worked out well. Mimi will (once and a while) go into heat, but Garfield has ZERO interest in her. This makes the total investment in Mimi, around $100.00. (Significantly less than the $700.00 I have into Garfield).

So, when the wife “sat me down” to break the news about the missing cats, I could not help but imagine our cat a big bag of money being run down in the street (with bills and coins “squishing” out of it from all directions), or a little old lady feeding our cat an overstuffed bank bag (with my name on it), then snatching it up and bringing inside her home.

As the day went on, I was more and more sure that the cats my money were gone, never to return. The kids were gloomy, and even Molly (the ADHD cairn terrier from hell) was not herself without the cats. At one point, I spotted Jonathan (elbows up on the railing, head in hands) on the deck watching over the (several) yards around. Garfield is “sort of” Jonathan’s cat, and Mimi is “sort of” Rebecca’s cat. (Humph… If you would look at my checkbook, it would appear that they are both MY cats….).

Wanting to “appear” like a caring father recover my money , I made up some “Lost Cat” fliers to post around the neighborhood. I was going to do so - knowingly breaking both a neighborhood “covenant” and a city ordinance.
As I finished the fliers, my brother-in-law arrived for a visit. So, the brother-in-law, myself, and four-fifths of my collection of children set out to tape up some fliers.

Before we put the first flyer up, my brother-in-law had spotted (what he thought was) Mimi two doors down, in a fenced yard where a dog was barking. As we ran over there, we could not see anything but the dog. My interest quickly faded, and I refocused my attention on getting the fliers up.

As I taped up the first sign, the kids came running around the corner saying screaming that one of the cats was in that yard. My brother-in-law and my collection of children went to the house and explained the situation to the homeowner. Within a few minutes Jonathan was walking out of their backyard with $700.00 Garfield in his hands! I was delighted! Not only was Garfield my favorite of the two missing cats - Garfield was also the cat that I had more money invested into... Happy Dad, Happy Children, and Happy Uncle (who had truthfully been responsible for finding the cat returning my investment.).

I could (as far as I was concerned) give up now. Mimi represented “chump change” when compared to Garfield - but (to Rebecca) Mimi represented much more… Mimi represented all the things that (if never found) would break a little girl’s heart. A broken little girl’s heart is a daddy’s worst nightmare, so regardless of how “done” I was, or how flagrant my violation was going to be, we (as a group) walked around the neighborhood taping up lost cat fliers.

Rebecca was glad to see Garfield back, but you could tell she was pining for Mimi’s return. It was a work day, so as I got ready, and left for work, the score was still tied 1-1.

This story does have a happy ending (as uneventful as it is…)

Later that night (just about dusk), I got a call at work from a VERY VERY HAPPY Rebecca. She excitedly shared with me that Mimi was now safely returned to the comforts of our warm and loving home. My wife got on the phone and said that she was all but doing cartwheels she was so excited that Mimi was back. Mimi had come in, ran to the water dish, and drank, and drank, and drank… Then she curled up in a little corner near an air conditioner vent, and fell asleep.

Apparently, while visiting with my neighbors, my wife / kids spotted Mimi in the bushes in a house across the street and "kiddy-corner" from our house.

Later that night, my wife called me and told me that Mimi (as she always does) curled up with Rebecca on her bunk as she went to bed. (It’s almost a ritual - whenever Rebecca goes to bed, Mimi will cimb up and curl up with her.) My wife said that Rebecca fell asleep with a smile on her face, and was even smiling in her sleep.

Postscript:

Remember the part about how little I have invested in Mimi, and why? After two days outside (and in heat) I have a couple of questions…

1. How long before a cat gets pregnant before I will be able to tell she is?

2. Do YOU want a kitten?

3 comments:

  1. Same thing happened to our cat when she was much younger. It took about 6-7 weeks before we relaized she was pregnant and then within 2 weeks we had 4 new cats. Just think now everyone in your "collection" could have their own animal.

    And, NO! I do not need another cat!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, I know this is late, I've been busy, but is your cat pregnant? Cuz Zach wants a kitten.
    lisa

    ReplyDelete
  3. No, thank goodness..

    But, if you are interested - I can get you in touch with the neatest family. They are farmers, and the boys (my Zachary's age, and one that is a year or two younger) are raising the farm cats, and selling the kittens. It's one of their chores..

    The family wants to instill farm values and lessons on the boys, and so - the boys feed and care for the kittens, and sell them (for like $10.00) and they get to keep the money - much like the cattle on their farm are.

    The family are great friends of ours down here in Jordan...

    I know there are other cats in the city - and could be "free" - heck, you may be keeping them from being thrown in a sac and over the river..

    The cats on this farm have been great! We have two..

    Let me know if you are interested!

    D.

    ReplyDelete

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