Happy Friday everyone! Today we are lucky to have Cat Scout Maggie here to tell us a story.
Today I’d like to tell a story that our mom shared with us when we were young, as a way of guiding us to be good kitties!
LOST AND FOUND: A TALE OF TWO CITIES, 8800 MILES AND LOTS OF HOPE
Our mom has had cats since she was 8 years old, and as all of you kitties know, we have lots of curiosity. Sometimes it gets the best of us, and makes our nine lives flash by very quickly!
Pumpkin was such a cat. Born on Halloween night, she was from a litter of three. She was very small and didn’t always get the prime nursing ops, so she was a feisty fighter from the get-go. From the time she was weaned and big enough to start exploring the house, she’d often try to bolt out the door, and once she disappeared for several days. Our mom lived in an semi-urban area outside of Washington DC that still had small farms in the neighborhood.
Pumpkin had decided to investigate one of these farms, and our mom found her on the second floor of a barn, poking her head out the window when she heard our mom’s voice.
After that episode, our mom was extra-careful and Pumpkin behaved for many years. Her next adventure was on a horse farm where our mom then lived. One day Pumpkin was out prowling just as mom let some of her dogs out to play. They corned Pumpkin, who found a convenient tree to climb! She stayed up there until the coast was clear. The dogs were OK with mom’s cats inside the house, but once outside, cats were prey!!
The big adventure came several years after that when our mom was on a trip to Florida from her home near Washington DC. This was in February. Mom travelled in a large RV with her pets, which at that time included cats and Jack Russell Terriers, which she used to show. When mom arrived at her destination in West Palm Beach FL, she exited the RV to do some errands. Pumpkin had been awaiting her chance to bolt out, after a 14 hour trip!!
The RV was parked at a large equestrian facility that encompassed at least thirty acres and abutted heavily wooded lands and drainage ditches containing much of the wild life Florida is famous for! Our mom searched the grounds time and again over the next several days, and even checked out the neighboring residential streets. In this particular part of West Palm Beach, known as the town of Wellington, each residence comprises several acres and many small horse farms. Our mom put up signs and posters and spread the word about her missing cat. She had a large network of friends who were all animal lovers, so her hopes were high that Pumpkin would be found.
Many people called to say they had spotted her, but she was never there when mom followed up on the leads. Finally, after several days, mom had to return to Washington, sadly without Pumpkin.
Over the next several months, mom continued to get calls about Pumpkin sightings. She made two more trips (1100 miles one-way), but never found any sign of Pumpkin. She visited all of the local animal shelters and continued to spread the world about her dear cat. Mom returned to Washington (by now it was April), and was nearly resigned to never finding her cat again.
Calls continued to come in, and near the end of May, one caller was actually a friend from the horse world who reported that a cat fitting Pumpkin’s description had been hanging out on their terrace for the last few days, and they were feeding her and giving her water. They said she looked ragged and thin, but responded to their care and attention. They had plenty of shade around their house and barn, so felt pretty confident that with feeding, Pumpkin would stay nearby.
Our mom made her fourth trip to Wellington on Memorial Day weekend, and went immediately to the property in question (which was behind the large aforementioned equestrian facility). She parked the RV and went to meet her friends. They said, “Oh Pumpkin was just here for lunch! She went around the corner,” and they pointed to a treed area behind their house.
Our mom tiptoed around the corner, and her beloved Pumpkin was sitting in the middle of some plants, as if she knew salvation was at hand. Never one to let herself be picked up, Pumpkin sat perfectly still while mom reached down to get her. Such a reunion left mom and the cat totally breathless and speechless!
Then it was time to head for home, but mom had a minor collision accident two miles down the road. She was so elated at having found her lost cat that she wasn’t paying attention, and backed the RV into a telephone pole. Upon inspection, the rear wall of the RV had come dislodged, and was basically hanging by two screws. This, with an 1100 mile trip ahead!! Those two screws were all that kept Pumpkin and her furry pals inside the RV!
Our mom drove to a nearby RV full-service shop which she had used on prior trips, and they said they’d need to keep the rig for at least one month in order to replace the door and do other repairs caused by the collision.
This was on a holiday weekend, but mom managed to find a station wagon to lease for the long trip home. Exhausted and just wanting to get her cat checked out by the vet, mom now faced an 1100 mile trip home with 4 cats and 6 dogs in the car! They arrived home safely, and Pumpkin went to the vet on the next open day. She tested negative for Heartworm (the biggest fear), had only minor parasites, and apart from some weight loss and faded fur, she was found to be fit as a fiddle.
At the time she disappeared, Pumpkin was 11 years old. She lived another 6 years in peace and harmony, and never once ever tried to go outside!
Never underestimate the power of hope!