Consuelo’s adventure, and our week of terror, began innocently enough when she slipped out the door when Other Daddy opened it a week ago Friday night. He didn’t see her go, and we didn’t notice she was gone until it was Treat Time™, 9PM nightly at Casa Bob y Carlos.
Then the terror struck; I was outside with a flashlight, while Carlos called her name. I spotted her alongside our lower deck, but then she was gone. I looked, I called; Carlos called; we shook the treat box … nothing. Then it was late, and we couldn’t stay up any longer. We set out some food and some old blankets, hoping she’d find her way back. And she did, to the food, but not so we could see her or grab her or coax her back inside.
Saturday, we looked and called and set out food; we put out a litter box; we put some of our dirty clothes out, in case she picked up the scent of our filth and came back. I searched along the fence, not high, but perhaps too high for her to jump. Nothing.
Sunday, we walked the neighborhood and looked in the road, and alongside the road, hoping not to see her there. We made flyers and gave them to neighbors; we put them on lamp posts and telephone poles; we set out food again—it seemed someone was eating the cat food—and switched the dirty clothes for a new batch of dirty clothes. Nothing.
Monday I was all over this blog and Facebook, at our local Smallville page, sharing the news and asking anyone who found her to please bring her back. Friends and family shared that post, spreading the word; Mistress Maddie shared my blog post in the hopes that one of her readers was in the Smallville area. Nothing.
Tuesday was a mess. I went to work, but about noon I asked my boss to leave. I wasn’t in the mood. I was hopeless; she was gone… or worse. All I wanted was to know she was safe, even if it was with a new family, and not to think the worst. I came home and Carlos was heading out to do an interpretation at a local school. I wandered the house for about an hour; I checked her food … she hadn’t eaten at all on Monday. I stood in the living room and then I saw her on the back deck, looking at the food dish. I ran outside and she was gone before I got to her. Carlos came home just then and we both looked and called and dropped treats. She appeared again on the deck around 10PM and once again was gone as soon as she saw me. After that …nothing.
Wednesday was the worst. We didn’t see her; she didn’t eat any of the food we set out; the treats were also uneaten. But we put fresh food and stale clothes. I set out her personal scratching post. I called her. Nothing.
Thursday I was at work and late in the afternoon Carlos called; Ozzo was running around the lower deck and Carlos took a flashlight and spotted her, cowering underneath. I left work early again, and was soon home, flat on my stomach, looking under the deck and seeing her scared little face. We set food by the deck, a carrier with blankets, too. Unfortunately, Carlos had a concert and we had to go, but when we came home, she was still under the deck, so we were hopeful.
Friday she was gone again. No food eaten; no blankets moved. We had a couple of appointments in Columbia and when we returned home, she still wasn’t around. That’s when I went, um, well, to put it nicely, insane. I had spotted something that seemed like her under the deck and it wasn’t moving, so as any sane person might do, I got a hammer and a crowbar and began to dismantle the deck, board by board, to see if I could get her. But the thing I saw wasn’t her. I was getting really hopeless now, watching Carlos walk the yard, again, calling her name, again, putting out treats, again. He was looking around the well down by the shed and something scared him and then Consuelo came racing out of the grasses and ran off; we chased, but that little bitch was scared and fast and she was gone; again.
That was when I told Carlos that we were buying a feral cat trap. We called around and our local Tractor Supply Store carried them. We raced down, bought it, brought it home, read the instructions, set it out by the deck, with a dish of food about 5:30. I checked at 6, 6:30, 7:00, 7:15, 7:30, 7:45 … like I said, insane was I. Around 8:30 Carlos asked if I checked the trap and I said I had but there was nothing.
I checked again and shone the flashlight across the yard and her little eyes lit up, and she cried, because she was in the trap!
I called Carlos and got the trap and carried it into the house, and into the guest room. We thought it best to keep her away from the other kids until she settled down; that didn’t take long. While she cried in the trap, as soon as we got her out and Carlos held her, she stuffed her face into his elbow and just purred. I know people think cats are aloof and have no personality, but this girl, our little girl, was smiling at us, happy to be inside, safe. She crawled into my lap and lay down her head and purred and stretched and smiled.
Saturday. Back to normal; she wanted breakfast at 7AM and then wandered through the house, checking in with Tuxedo and Max and Ozzo; and she slept. Oh, she occasionally awoke and came looking for either Carlos or me for a belly rub, but everything was back to normal.
As it should be.
Except this little bitch will never get near an open door again.