On every light post and power pole in my neighbourhood there is a laminated poster. “Missing Cat” is the headline with a photo of a golden-eyed feline cut-and-pasted beneath. He answers to the name Megatron, according to the description. He is trusting and loving and has never been outside before. If found, please return to the below address.
I see posters just like this one all the time. Sometimes they are advertising lost dogs, but for the most part it is a beloved cat that has gone astray. Most often, they appear after big storm surges, like the one we had last night. They always cause my steps to slow.
Two years ago, before the insanity, we had our own lost cat scare. It was during a wild blizzard at the start of January in 2009. Unbeknownst to us, The Cat had gotten out sometime during the night. When my practically husband couldn’t find him anywhere in the house in the morning, he immediately began to worry. It was freezing outside, one of the coldest days we’ve had since moving to Nova Scotia. There was snow and wind and ice everywhere. The news warned everyone to stay off the roads. Every time the wind shook the windows of our dining room, I couldn’t help but wince.
There was no point in heading out to look for him. The Cat is smart and experienced. He would know to find shelter. Since he wasn’t under the landlord’s dilapidated boat in our back yard, he had to be hiding elsewhere, just waiting for the storm to ease. The Cat also has a full, double-coat. If I had to guess his breed, I would say he must be part Siberian. He’s tough and brave. I did my best to reassure my husband The Cat would return eventually. It just may take him a little while.
Obviously, our fuzzy orange kitty did return eventually. I will never forget hearing that first meow as he re-entered the house. It had been a long and trying afternoon of trying to take our mind off things by watching a Trauma: Life in the E.R. marathon on television. Seeing him again, knowing he was alive, was an amazing feeling. I knew how close we had come to losing him for good.
Growing up, my childhood dog, Nikita, was an expert escape artist. No matter how high the fence or how strong the latch, she would find a way to break out. We didn’t have a micro-chip, back then I don’t know if anybody did. All she had was a license and a little tag with her name and phone number. That cheap plastic tag was often the only way we were ever able to find her again. Sometimes she just went to the end of the block to hang out with her co-Siberian husky around the corner. Sometimes she ended up at the shelter.
My parents tell a funny story, funny because it ended well, of the time when Nikita ran away just days after we had moved across the country. Her tag was useless as it still had our old phone number – this was also long before cell phones. Her license was useless because it was still her old one from Burlington. The only thing that saved her was her rabies tag. The wonderfully kind woman who found Nikita, called the vet’s phone number listed on the back, long-distance. Of course our former vet had no idea how to contact us but he did know my father’s sister, as it happens. So he called her and she was able to find our new number and contact us. But for the kindness of strangers, where would we be?
If I see Megatron, I will do my best to return him home safely. It’s a task all animal lovers accept without complaint. But hopefully I won’t. Hopefully he is already back where he belongs among the company of those who love him best.