The garden at Randy and Junko’s house is apparently a magnet for stray cats. They have adopted four strays already, and more appear all the time. They have not, however, crossed over into crazy cat people territory, so when the new ones appear, they try to find homes for them elsewhere.
Randy has offered us a couple, but we barely survived the trauma of turning Twitchy into a civilized beast. Then Little Guy and his momma (Randy’s from Alabama) appeared in the garden a few days ago. We had been thinking that Twitchy is doing pretty well now and needs a little brother to play with. Little Guy’s extraordinary coloring and soulful eyes made both our hearts go pitty-pat.
Long story short, via bicycles and trains, he found himself at our house. And about four hours later, he disappeared into thin air. I wasn’t too concerned that night; cats are good hiders and can easily go 24 hours without eating. But we still couldn’t find him the next morning. We scoured the house but there was no trace. We thought he might have gotten out somehow, so looked around the neighborhood, but quickly realized how futile that was. Even on the vague chance we could spot him, we’d never be able to catch him.
We became convinced that he was gone and we were the worst human beings on the planet. We had torn him from his momma, transported him halfway across the universe to what we termed a ‘better’ life, and then let his tiny self escape, alone in an unfamiliar, dark, cold world.
Then Junko had an idea. Momma was still wandering around the garden, crying for her lost baby. Randy recorded her voice and sent it to my phone. I walked around the house broadcasting that forlorn voice, not expecting anything to happen. But when I aimed it at the bathroom, there was an immediate response: equally forlorn, echoing and eerie.
I had a moment of panic. The bath is tiled floor to ceiling. Where the hell was the voice coming from?
Then we discovered a small gap between the panel on the side of the tub and the drain in the floor, just enough space for him to wiggle through. It took some work but we got him out and moved him to a room upstairs, this room, where I sit typing. He is fed, warm, safe.
The thing is that, after fighting against it for years, I had just gotten the smart phone on Saturday. Little Guy came to stay on Sunday, and I used the phone to locate him on Monday. Two days before, I did not have the technology to do that. We might never have found him. He could easily have died in there, wedged between the tub and the wall, and we would have been none the wiser…until there was a smell.
I have grown to resent the way technology is taking over our lives. While making things more convenient it also isolates us from each other. We are increasingly becoming solitary islands connected only through the airwaves. But that same technology brought Momma’s voice into my bathroom and probably saved Little Guy’s life.
I can’t help feeling humbled.