After I let him in, I didn't see him. I asked Disgruntled Husband if he'd let him back out. He did not.
Thursday morning, while getting the kids out the door, DH let both Clark and his arch nemesis (and our other cat) Mozart outside. This is generally the way things go around here.
Because I was out the door quickly myself to chaperon Hoover's field trip, I didn't bother to look for the cats outside. I was still a little miffed that Clark hadn't stopped in to say good morning before he left for the day.
(It's our routine. Right before DH yells at me for the third time to get out of bed, Clark jumps in and walks up to me and lies down on my chest, purring and looking at me with his saucer-eyes. Every morning.)
And I was out of coffee, with my shipment due to arrive later that day. I believe this is important to the story.
When I got back at noon, the only cat I could find was Mozart. I called for Clark. Nothing. I shook a bag of cat food. Nothing, except convince Mozart to follow me around. I called for Clark again. Nothing.
Now, here's some other things you should know about Clark: it's only been a month or so that he's come running when I call him. This might have to do with his tangling with a red fox outside. Funny how that traumatic experience convinced him to come home when I call him.
I started to get upset. "He ignored me last night, snubbed me this morning, and now is probably laying in some foxes den with only three legs and half his lower intestines."
(I get a little dramatic with myself.)
|What? You were calling me? For three hours?|
Years ago when our cat Max was out too long, I called the local animal hospital, who told me a nice man named Jeff found Max and had him at his apartment until he found Max's owners. He lives a block away.
(And, interesting sidenote, Jeff and his now wife Monica are committed cat people...they take their cats trick-or-treating to our house every year.)
But I had a feeling, even though it was only noon, that something bad had happened to Clark. So I called the animal hospital. No one called in with my cat. I called the county Humane Society and the local police, giving descriptions of Clark to each.
I checked on his microchip to make sure it was up-to-date (it was) and to find out if it also works like kitty lojack (it doesn't).
I had two freelance articles due. I e-mailed my editor and said I was having a pet emergency. She, a dog lover, said to just them to her tomorrow and deal with my pet.
I was also supposed to finish cleaning my house.
By the time the boys got home, I still hadn't found Clark. Last year at this exact time, I had to tell Larry Potter that Max had died - right after he got off the bus. So when I told him Clark was missing, I braced for the worst.
And he said to me, "Well, if he gets hungry enough, he'll come back."
Well, who died and made you logical?
An hour later, as I was studying the neighbors ladder, wondering if Clark had climbed it and was on his roof, I felt a rubbing on my leg.
I picked him up and he started given me all his excuses. I didn't care. I took him inside, gave him a hug, and grounded him for all eternity.
This morning, he greeted me in the usual fashion. And I have coffee this morning. (Which may have been why I over-reacted so much yesterday. Addiction, it's a real thing.)
But he's still grounded.