Sunday, March 16, 2008

Guilty Conscience?





This is Gracie. Gracie needs something...perhaps counseling, perhaps some Kitty Prozac, perhaps absolution...it's hard to know because she won't tell us what happened.

Gracie is an indoor-outdoor cat. She likes to get outside every day. She stays pretty close to home, usually just prowling around in our yard. If she goes out in the morning, she makes sure to get home in time for lunch. Often she will go back out in the afternoon, again making sure to be back in time for a nice nap and supper. After supper we require her to stay inside until the next morning. This is fine with her, because she gets a late-evening snack and then gets to sleep in our bed.

Gracie doesn't believe in missing meals.

Yesterday, I let Gracie outside right around 10:00 AM. It was nice out, but cloudy with thunderstorms forecast for later in the day. Around noon I expected her back, but she didn't come. By 1:00 I was starting to wonder where she had gotten off to. I went outside and called her with my special Mom Cat call. "Gracie, kitty kitty kitty...here kitty kitty kitty...here Gracie-kitty" I pitch my voice very high and squeaky when I do this, and I am always thankful that we didn't name her something like "Pudding Head" or "Sweet Potato".

At 1:30 she was still not home, and the sky was getting cloudy and menacing. I started to wonder what sort of fix she had got herself into. She likes to sleep in our car. I could picture her getting in someone else's car and getting carried off to a ball game or something. I could also picture her smashed on the road somewhere.

Natalie went for a quick walk around the block to look for her. No Gracie. I called again. Just before 2:00 Tom and Colin decided they were going to walk around the rest of the neighborhood to look for her. As they were about to leave, she suddenly appeared at the back door. We were relieved to see her, and gave her a bit of a hard time about not coming when called.

But we would really like to know what she did or what happened to her while she was gone! Since she came home she has been extremely jumpy, skittish, and spooked. When the phone rang last night she acted like it was going to be someone calling to complain about her. She keeps looking around corners as though something's going to pounce on her. She won't go outside today, either, which is very odd.

We've checked her over for injuries and haven't found anything. She is spayed so we know her problem is not of a romantic nature. She is eating and seems well, so it's not that she got poisoned or hurt. She just seems to feel very jumpy and even guilty about something. On the way to church this morning I looked along the road to see if there were any corpses lying about. The neighborhood chicken is still all in one piece, and I think it's too big for Gracie to tackle anyway. None of our neighbors have called or come over to say they took her for a car ride.

So, I find myself wondering what other trouble could a cat get into that would leave her with a guilty conscience? Maybe she was teasing dogs? Maybe she ate another cat's food? Maybe she ate someone's bird? Maybe she was napping outside and had a bad dream?

We may never know, and in the meantime we have to live with a cat who is ready to leap skyward at the slightest provocation. Weird.

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