Tarun and I stepped out of our house last night for a walk and immediately heard an unexpected "meow". Sitting under the arborvitae in our front yard was a tiny cat with gorgeous yellow-green eyes, meowing with ferocity, trying to tell us so much.
If only we understood "cat"!
It didn't have a collar and I have an allergy to cat hair so I didn't rush to pick up the cutie. Instead, I gave it milk and water and was relieved when it was able to get to the bowl. We set off on our walk and watched the cat curl up under the bush. Tarun and I kept an eye on it wondering what to do next.
Half an hour went by and the cat was still there. I texted my neighbors asking for ideas. One of them promptly responded that there was hawk on her deck umbrella! What?! Our street was turning into a zoo! She sent me a picture of the hawk holding something unpleasant in its foot. I sent her back a picture of the cat under the bush.
She said the cat will find its way home. I reassured her the hawk will fly away too. We prayed that the two would not cross paths and that our resident fox was taking the night off.
But we live on the internet and I had to try to find the cat's owner. I posted a picture and message on the Nextdoor site and within an hour a lady responded with, "That's my cat!"
Sadly, kitty had moved on by then.
The owner was distraught. Tatsu had been missing for three days. He's 17 years old and loves seaweed. Years ago he had gone AWOL and was found resting inside a drain. We were full of remorse for not bringing him into the house! Tarun and I joined Tatsu's family in the search-and-rescue. In pitch darkness, we roamed the yards near us with the flashlights on our cell phones. I texted the neighbors, "Don't shoot, don't call 911!".
We had no luck. Tatsu was nowhere to be found. I turned in for the night and prayed that feeding a cat milk meant a lifelong friendship and surely he would show up for some more.
This morning, I emailed neighbors Tatsu's photo and then I went for a long walk calling out for him, looking under bushes and peering into drains. I listened for the hawk but didn't hear it screeching. I told myself that a quiet hawk is a well-fed hawk and Tatsu is too large for it anyway.
As I neared home from my recce trip, the neighbor across the street called to say that the cat was in her backyard!! She recognized it from the photo I had sent. Thank goodness for the internet! I ran over and grabbed Tatsu. What allergies?! After a short stint in my foyer, Tatsu was reunited with his owners.
For all the times that Hershey ran away and was rescued by neighbors and strangers from their yards and once from a busy road, I am delighted and grateful that Tatsu gave us the chance to return the favor.
My eyes are on fire but I'll take in this good boy any time!