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Monday, April 10, 2006

How to Cause Kay to Have a Heart Attack

Ok, those of you who know me very well, or even those who only know me a little bit, know how crazy I am about my cat. In order to tell this story I have to backtrack about 7 years ago. I had two cats previous to Lexi. They were sister cats and littermates, Thunder and Lightning. I had Lightning 13 years and Thunder for 18 years. Thunder was my lovebug. I also have this "thing" about how cats are INDOOR pets. In my books, if you love your feline babies you keep them indoors out of harms way. I used to let Thunder go out on the balcony of my condo. She felt rather safe there and loved the feel of a breeze ruffling her coat. One night the guy I was dating at the time was leaving. He was on the steps and I was in the doorway talking. Usually when Thunder would come to the door she'd meow to let me know she was right there. This particular night she did not do that. I closed the door not knowing I'd shut my precious baby outside. Outside for the first time since she'd been a newborn kitten. I went to bed right after that and still didn't miss her. She sometimes slept with me but not every night. So the next morning I got up and got ready for work and had keys in hand to walk out. I always told her I loved her before I'd walk out the door. Most often she'd be laying on the windowsill in the living room and she'd poke her head between the curtains and meow back at me. Not this morning. I put keys and purse down and started looking in her usual places but to no avail. I finally called the boyfriend and jokingly asked him if he'd taken my kitty home with him. He said nooooo, then realized I was crying. So he jumped in his pickup and came over to help look. I'd looked all over inside, turned up anything she could get under and didn't find her. When he drove up he said let's drive some of the streets around here. He didn't say it but I knew he was looking for a body. We drove back and started walking around the building. As we were coming down some steps he and I were talking back and forth when I heard her meow. She heard my voice and started meowing. He found her under some shrubs under the stairway. He picked her up and put her in my arms. I was so happy but just bawling away. If only that had been the happy ending. As it turns out she was very stiff and moved very slow. I thought an 18 yr old cat spending the night out on a frosty March night, she'll be ok in a few days. Wrong. I took her to the vet and left with my precious baby in a box. That was March 1999.

I wasn't going to get another cat for awhile. But Lexi had other plans. She woke me up one Sunday morning late July meowing at the top of her little kitty lungs and I went out and scooped her up and she became mine. But in those almost 7 years I've had many recurring nightmares and all of them have one central theme: Lexi getting outside and in dangerous situations. So with this background story in mind, my friend who kitty-sitted for me while I was in California asked me to go to lunch today. We had talked but had not seen each other since I'd gotten back. We sat down and ordered and immediately she said I have a confession. I was being the smarty pants and said let me guess, the reason why Lexi hissed and growled at you is because you pinched her? lol I was making a JOKE! My friend said no, it's worse than that. She came over on Wed. of the week I was gone to feed Lexi her kitty treat. She was a bit concerned because it didn't appear Lexi was eating much since I'd left. Lexi wouldn't come out when she was here so on Thursday she wanted to come back to see if she'd eaten the treat (it's the Iam's pouch of food, Lexi's candy). The bowl was clean so she freshened everything and went to leave. She couldn't get the deadbolt to lock with the key so she came back in and left via the backdoor and locked it. She decided to come back over Saturday morning to make sure Lexi's box was scooped. She came in the front door only to find the back door standing wide open. She freaked out running into my bedroom to look for Lexi. She knows Lexi will hide inside the box springs but Lexi wasn't there. She called another friend in a panic and asked where else would Lexi hide. The other friend told her to go check the middle bedroom closet. She did and thank God!!! Lexi was there hiding and that is when she hissed and growled at her. Anyway, all of that to try to explain this odd day and the odd mixed emotion feelings I've had. I almost wished she had not told me. I hate those nightmares I have, they are unsettling and I know they go back to shutting Thunder outside that night. Thanks for listening.


Anonymous rebecca said...

We had a beloved cat who lived to be 18. Never let her go outside-only way to keep her really safe. Except once in a while she would escape. My husband once leapt tall fences and bothered miscellaneous neighbors "did my cat come inside" and another time delayed coming home from his parents place at Lake Tenkiller several days till the cat came back (fat, I'm told). When the cat was old she might occasionally get out the back door (well we had a small child) and I would casually go out and approach her and just pick her up hissing and all...

we love our pets and do our best to keep them safe. The evidence is that they live a long happy life with us....

Lexi has good instincts. My husband has confessed to me that twice since we moved to OK our 10 year old parakeet has been safely perched on top of her cage next to a back door that opens in the wind if it's not locked....

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Wonderland Knitter said... awful! At least both were found. But I'm with you, I wouldn't want to know because I'd always wonder how good of care she'd take of my kitties.

Our cats are inside only (except for the screened in porch then they are contained but get to enjoy the birds, etc.)

11:01 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I had outdoor cats in AZ and we lost a few to cars and coyotes.

Now our boys are indoors, although we do allow them supervised visits out on the patio (completely enclosed.)

I can empathize!

8:51 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

After the incident with Thunder, I don't allow Lexi to even get near an open door. And this just came about in the past 2 years, she won't go near an open window either. With my allergies it's rare for me to open the windows but the few times I do she'll growl and leave the room. lol Bless her little kitty heart.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

Kay, Luigi was 10 years old when he passed. He was mostly an inside cat only out on occassion. I know the feeling of having the cats out and about. We check on them all the time. I'm afraid with Groucho's brain - his life line may not be long. We keep him in at night to sleep.

5:38 PM  
Blogger Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Kay, I certainly understand! We keep our kitties inside, too. But, please don't ever ask how many we currently have. : ) You'll be thinking I'm the crazy cat lady.

Our problem is that we live out in a rural area and goofy, uncaring folks are always dumping animals here. We take them in, take them to the vet, have them spayed or neutered, and try to find homes for them. Sometimes we have more arrivals than we have found now. But, I can't just leave them out to starve or be hurt. I just can't do it. So, call me the crazy cat lady. It may be fitting. : )

Well, that goes for dogs, too! We've even had a giant pig/hog show up, 2 horses (at separate times), a dog tied to a goat, and an ostrich!!! How awful is it that people care so little for their animals to do this to them?

This definitely keeps us very busy and a favorite customer of our vet!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

How a person treats their pets, to me is a good barometer. I had a 20 yr friendship with this person. We had alot of history together. She and her husband had a sheltie/collie mix. They had that dog for 7 yrs. He had a "thing" about jumping the fence and wandering off. Well, he jumped the fence, wandered off and got picked up by the pound. The pound notified them that their dog was picked up. They decided not to go get the dog out of the pound. It broke my heart. If I had known in time I would have gotten him out. He loved them and was very protective but they decided they didn't want the hassle nor the mess. He was "just an animal". I never felt the same about her. That was a side of her I'd never seen, never knew existed. It's just awful how some people think their pets are disposable.

8:49 PM  
Blogger katie said...

Oh my gosh, that is truly scary. I've only had Shiva for a couple of months, but I'm terrified of her getting outside. She no longer tries to run out the door, but sometimes she gets a little too close for comfort.

I'm glad Lexi is safe.

8:01 AM  

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