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Friday, 08 June 2007

Searching For Veneta

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By Frank Paynter of listics

Last night the cat went missing. This is unusual. Veneta is a sociable kitty and usually can be found within a few hundred feet of the family. She generally comes when we call her. We know her habits and her ways, but last night she was nowhere to be found.

We searched the house, and Veneta was well and truly missing. She was not on a dining room chair tucked beneath the table. She was neither on my desk nor under it. We could find her in none of the closets. We took the search outside.

She was not in the barn. She hadn't gotten locked in a car or the truck. She was not in the granary or the tobacco shed. We put Molly on a leash, grabbed a flashlight and hiked down the lane to the hoop house. Veneta was not there.

On the way back we checked all the outbuildings again, and while we surprised a small squeaking critter in the tobacco shed, Veneta was not in there stalking it.

We checked the road. No pathetic corpse, no flat cat, no telltale sign of a kitty dragging herself off into the weeds to die. Naturally then our thoughts turned to coyotes. And owls.

When we passed the windbreak we heard a peculiar wheezing and chittering that we chalked up to the noise of some unpleasant night bird. I took the flashlight and circled the windbreak until I could shine a light on a spot perhaps twenty feet up in the trees where the wheezing seemed to center. No Veneta up there, and the bird, whatever kind of bird it was, wheezed away, undeterred by the strong beam of light sweeping the tree.

The outdoors was dark and huge. Indoors was more contained and re-searchable. We went back inside. Perhaps, we thought, she had climbed into Kristen's van and been taken for a ride. We thought we'd call Kristen but then we discovered an open closet door. And there, cozy in a pile of sweaters on the closet shelf, we found Veneta snoozing.

She had of course been far too comfortable to come when we'd called. We were so glad to find her that there was then no thought of reproach or remonstrance regarding the incomplete nature of the earlier part of the search, the part before we went outdoors, the part where we had assured each other that we had checked all the closets.

That came later, with this post.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:16 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

My cats take every opportunity to curl up in closets, and most of the time we don't notice, and shut the door. Later, we are frantically opening every door in the house to find the culprit.

I wondered how your story would end and glad it was a happy one. Sounds like someone didn't make a very thorough closet check, but at a time like that, sometimes we may move too rapidly, thinking time is of the essence.

There can be much anguish when a dearly loved pet is lost. Glad the coyotes didn't get her. They've cleared our neighborhood of what few stray cats appeared occasionally, and I fear a few small cats and dogs.

Here kitty kitty.

Gee whiz, Norm I was really getting scared especially when you had searched EVERYWHERE and you heard the wheezing sound.

Many years ago, when my husband and I bought our first, small house, we had a large lot with deep,Georgia, pine woods behind it.

Our tom cat, named "Tom" was a few years old back then and we let him out to have free reign of the woods while we were away at work.

When we returned in the late afternoon, early evening, it did no good to simply call "Here kitty kitty'. "Here Tom. Come"

Since we had no children back then we had spoiled our jet black tom cat by, (you won't believe this) thawing frozen fish and feeding it to him.

If it was not completely thawed we would cut the pieces with a sharp knife on a wooden cutting board. This made a high pitched screeching sound. Scrape, scrape the sound reverberated through the back yard as we stood on the patio and called.

Alerted by the delicious sound, like a bat out of hell,Tom appeared from the woods, jumped the fence and followed us inside for his "fish supper"

Many times afterwards we "called" Tom by simply scraping the empty wooden cutting board.

Dirty trick, I suppose, but it worked

Sorry, I meant to say "Frank"

Years ago I lived in Topanga Canyon, SoCal, and our kitty population was kept in check by the owls who lived in the ancient live oak trees. While the cats terrorized the local field mouse population, an owl would swoop silently, grasp an innocent, unsuspecting kitty in its talons, haul it up into the sky, and let go. Then the owl could snack at his leisure.

Saturn, my excellent black cat, went missing long enough to cross my anxiety threshold. Miraculously, he appeared at the bottom of the steps two days later, bearing a three-pronged gash at the base of his backbone, just ahead of his tail.

I visualized Saturn, ready to pounce, hearing the whispery wings a fraction of a second before the owl hit.

I think the fact he was black gave him a sliver of advantage--it spoiled the owl's aim so that Saturn was able to twist loose and ruin that owl's dinner plans for the evening.

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