I am going to write about something completely un-house-related because something crappy and scary happened yesterday. And I want to talk about it, just because.
Yesterday, I went out back to go to my garage to work on a furniture rehab project. My boy cat, Conn, who is apparently silent and sneaky like a ninja assassin, slipped out the kitchen door into the sunroom without my noticing, and then somehow opened the door from the sunroom to the backyard. He got out and I had no idea. I continued to work in the garage for a bit then came back inside, and he was in the neighborhood or the yard, somewhere, wondering around.
Fast forward to an hour and a half later, I was in my studio working on a drawing and I just felt this sinking sadness come over me. I had no idea why. I just was sick and knew that something was wrong. So I got up and saw Lily, my second cat, on the guest bed, and I thought, hmm, where's Conn? I started making the clicking noises that usually get the cats to come running, and of course Lily hustled right to me... but no Conn. I got out their treats and shook the bag and still no Conn. I started to panic. I opened the kitchen door and when I saw that the sunroom door was ajar, I knew he was outside. Alone, in 100% unfamiliar territory. I ran around both sides of the house calling his name but he was nowhere to be seen.
I broke down crying hysterically. Complete guilt, combined with helplessness and fear that something happened to him, took over. I ran inside and asked my husband to help me find him, so Kevin started to walk the neighborhood calling for Conn.
Because my cats are strictly indoor kitties, and because I am so completely attached to them, it was the worse feeling in the world to know that I had let this happen. I paced back and forth in the house going between front door and back door for about 15 minutes trying not to think up scary scenarios, just crying and not knowing what to do. Then, finally, I heard some dogs barking from the street, and I hurried to the front door and opened it and there was Conn - he came running in full speed and I scooped him up. He was warm from being in the sun, and I squeezed him close and cried and hugged him. Of course, he seemed annoyed that I was loving on him and crying all over his cute face, but there was no way I was going to put him down. I just held him and was so thankful that he wasn't hurt and had found his way back home safely.
So.... it sucked, and it was scary, and it was a big deal and I got so upset about it because my cats are not just animals that happen to live in the same house with me. They are a part of my family. Each animal has its own personality, and as pet owners, we learn about our pets' characteristics and embrace their funny idiosyncrasies. We grow to love them because they are just as wonderful and different than the human beings that make up our families.
A home is not just painted walls, furniture, light fixtures and carpeting. A home is also the people and the pets that inhabit the structure. Without my two cats -- who make me laugh, roll my eyes, and feel so much joy on a daily basis -- my house would not feel as much like my home. Truly.
My cats make me a happier person. They crack me up every single day. I know they will not live forever, I know that. But while they are here, I need to learn not to take them for granted....
... and from now on, I'll be sure to watch out for the damn back door!
Hug your pet and be thankful that you have an animal (or 2 or 3 or 4) to enrich YOUR life.
That is all.