By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
I thought I lost Chai, my new kitten. You know how fear sometimes grips you when things are wrong This was different. I thought she was in the house, and I searched everywhere. It was the first sticky hot evening, and Chai didn’t come down for dinner. She and her sister, Karma, always know when I am serving food. Karma was playful and fine. She wasn’t at all upset.
Chai is the braver cat—at least that is what I thought. When we adopted them from the West Orange Animal Shelter, she came right up to us. Karma was skittish. They were living on the streets of West Orange, NJ, for the first 12 weeks of their lives. The next two they were at the shelter.
I don’t know what life was like for them, but I am pretty sure it was scary. So here at home I’ve made sure that they felt protected. That is why something was off on Tuesday evening. I just couldn’t find her, and when I walked through the house shaking her favorite bag of treats and cooing her name, she wouldn’t respond.
Still, I thought she was inside. We are all incredibly careful about not letting them go outside. There is a good deal of traffic on the street, and Chai and Karma are indoor cats. My husband and I searched our yard, porch, and surrounding neighborhood. I contacted animal control, the local shelter, and animal activists in my area.
I still couldn’t find her. Logically, I convinced myself that she got out. Intuitively, I thought she had to be home.
My Other Cat
Years ago, when I was living in NYC with two cats and a roommate, I remember one night jolting up from bed and shouting, “Gigs isn’t in the house.” My roommate came in late, and didn’t notice when Gigs, my first black cat, got out of the apartment. It was weird. I was fast asleep when my roommate came in. Just a few minutes later, I bolted up and knew that Gigs wasn’t home.
Something led me to look in the hall of the apartment building. Gigs was two floors down in the same line. Anyway, I scooped him up, and took him home. All was good.
Back to Chai
Several hours later, my husband, Steven, raced down the stairs to tell me that he found her hiding in the back of the closet on the third floor of our home. We got her to come out, and checked her for broken bones and any ill signs. Other than being visibly shaken, she seemed fine.
I even brought her some food, which she gobbled down. She was hungry. I got her to go to the second floor, and she started playing. Finally, I tried to get her to go downstairs for food and water. She would not budge. When I carried her down to the living room she let out a distressed meow.
She looked up at the ceiling fan, jumped out of my arms, and raced back up the stairs. We have three ceiling fans on the first floor of our home. It was hot, and they were going full blast. Personally, I like ceiling fans.
When I turned them off and carried her back down, she nervously looked up at them. I stayed with her while she ate and sipped water. I promised I would not turn them back on. So we are in our hot house with the windows open, and I am thinking about getting air conditioners.