Puck is a most special cat. He is simultaneously entirely and not at all cat-like. To say he is intelligent is an understatement. And let’s not forget independent. He demands your respect but acts like a gentleman. But don’t think that he is stuck-up or fussy, because he might be the most good-natured and friendly cat I’ve have had the good fortune to meet. He has definitely been my co-host at parties while Kudzu hid underneath the bed. Most all the people who meet him tend to adore him. This cat has charisma.
And then on Monday, Puck, the first Southern gentleman in my life, went missing.
My heart stopped.
It’s my fault really – I left my bedroom window open without realizing there wasn’t a screen on it. Puck seized his opportunity and jumped the 10-plus feet to the ground below. I have been a cruel mistress, keeping him locked inside the entire year that I’ve been in Minneapolis.
Puck is the longest male relationship I’ve had in my adult life. I got him when I was a second-year grad student and he was just a wee little kitten, no bigger than my hand. He was rescued by my good friend Dave who affectionately named him something wildly inappropriate and eventually came under my care, love and affection. I re-named him Puck, after the Shakespearean imp in A Midsummer’s Night Dream and he has stuck with me through thick and thin. From the get-go he has almost always been an inside-outside cat.
I mean, there is so much to do outside.
Prowl the yard.
Find sunny spots to nap.
And try and fool the birds.
All of this outside fun came to a screeching halt when I moved to Minneapolis. I live in a very busy part of town, in an apartment building, with limited access to the outside. So I decided that the cats would become inside cats, knowing that Puck would hate me for it, but also knowing it was for his own good.
It wasn’t so bad during the winter, Puck is, after all, a Southern gentleman, and has very little interest in snow. But the snow has finally melted and the outside world has been testing Puck’s patience with being stuck inside. So when the opportunity presented itself, he pounced on it.
And gave me a fright.
Now, I don’t think that I am one of those crazy pet-owners. My cats eat plain old dry cat food and drink tap water. They tend to themselves while I spend long weekends in Florida. I don’t take them to therapy and I don’t schedule my life around their routine. I think that they are pretty well-adjusted animals, perfectly housebroken with minimal neuroses. And they get along, well, like brothers. Signs of affection followed by roughhousing.
But I was beyond worried when Puck went missing. At some level I knew he was just enjoying his newfound freedom, basking in a perfect, sunny spring day, likely close by. But by heart and my brain went to the worst possible scenarios. You might imagine what they were. Wandering too far away and getting lost. Not knowing what my building looks like from the outside. Having a run-in with another neighborhood cat, or worse, a car. But what I was most fearful of was that some family would come across him, become utterly charmed and take him into their lives and I would never see him again. Because he is that awesome of a cat.
Perhaps I am biased.
So I walked around the neighborhood in all directions. I made a frantic call to Scott and then to my mother. And I sat on my stoop with my coffee and a bottle of Puck’s favorite treats and waited, occasionally calling out and rattling the treats, hoping that he would hear me and come back home.
Even Kudzu would call out for him. (Or so I like to think).
It attracted the attention of my downstairs neighbor (who, incidentally has two cats, one of which named Puck). She helped me out more than I could have asked for. She walked around the neighborhood looking for him, went to the vets office behind our building and suggested that I post a “Lost Pet” ad on Craigslist. I cannot thank her enough for all of her help. So I posted an ad on Craigslist, skeptical that it would bear anything, but I thought I should cover all of my bases.
And amazingly, I got a call at 11:30 Monday night from a woman who thought she had come across Puck, a black cat with white patches on his neck and tummy. She had seen Puck, looked him up on Craigslist and gave me a call. Did I mention that she lived less than a block away? I now believe in the power of Craigslist and you should too.
So now Puck is back home, safe and sound.
And sitting in my favorite spot, on my lap.
Just a little bit irked that he isn’t back outside.
And I am left imagining how I will react to my future children …