Friday, October 14, 2011

The Cat Came Back

Every holiday weekend begins with a tradition and by the end of these hurried days, new traditions are born.  (You know how I feel about some holidays. If not you can read one example here.)  Case in point:  Harvest Weekend in York with a cat who essentially deserves the title of 'Most Horrible Boss On Earth' despite being absolutely adorable, smug; prancing around with a sense of entitlement and honestly being allowed, bestowed full access inside the luxurious home he reigns over - with several royal subjects suffering from pet allergies. I call him the 'Most Horrible Boss On Earth' because he would wait around corners and under beds to swat my ankles and shins; ripping shreds of tender skin off my baby toes.  He was relentless in his efforts to torment and frighten me.  But who could be fearful of this face?  Oh my.  This 'tail' gets better. And it goes 'something' like this........

Picture this.  A beautiful country home surrounded by lush acres and lovely rooms filled with conversation, laughter and the smells of delicious baked, boiled and stuffed foods. Children giggling, adults lounging and a kitchen alive with celebration preparations.  It is Canadian Thanksgiving.  The clanging pots, bubbling gravy and swirled, butter-soaked mashed potatoes tease the eyes and appetite.  And a cat who is not allowed to go outside because he may run away. Keep in mind, that the weather is divine; heaven-sent and probably the last perfect day for grey-skied-sun-deprived-winter people soaking it up.  In and out, in and out of the big doors onto the terrace overlooking the pool, hot tub and bar.  'Don't let the cat out!'  'Be careful of the cat!' (It was like living inside Meet The Parents. Only perhaps. No. Decidedly, funnier.)

The meal. Exquisite. The company. A varied, loving mosaic.  The cat. Up to no good.

It wasn't until well into early Autumn darkness and the majority of the dishes done that someone asked the dreaded question?  'Does anyone know where the cat is?'  But nobody could find him.  Not even his beloved master who moved quickly around the house; zipping on every level, shaking a box of dried treats.  The fool-proof method of finding this cat every time. 100% of the time. Except today. I stood in disbelief. Oh my word. The bloody cat got out.  (I even asked myself....truth me known now.....could I have accidentally let him out.....oh no....these were my special photography clients....have I lost their damn cat?!...but, I knew...I had been extra careful. In fact, just before we gathered around the massive table, I asked him to pose for these pet portraits. He swatted away while I clicked.)  Maybe secretly, just secretly, I hoped he ran away for being so mean to me for 4 days.

Panic set in.  People were running in different directions. Out back, out front. Upstairs, downstairs. Calling his name. Guessing who could have left the door open a crack.  Several piled into a car and headed down the concession road to towering, dried corn fields.  A few others scrambled towards the estates.  They spotted him!  Out came the flashlights and pockets of kitty goodies to lure him back and into the car and the arms of his frantic master.  It was a scene out of a 'missing child' TV movie. The cat's photo was already printed on milk cartons at the corner general store.

Alas, the cat was never found.  Hysteria moved into regret and sadness.  Jewish guilt filled my veins for thinking such nasty thoughts about the little guy.  My clients sat silently, mulling it over, late into the night if they should start looking for a new kitten for the morning.  I even frowned imagining the cat squished on the busy rural pavement.

Bedtime was a mix of thankful hugs for a wonderful time and watery eyes for a family member lost.

Morning came with an orange, heated ball of sun behind thick moist farmland fog.  The mailboxes out front looked like the Queen's guards, protecting the entrance to the cat-empty house.  My client filled the coffeepot and added the fresh Colombian grinds.  The cool cream waited beside the sugar on the table.  Spoons clinked and slow feet moved upon the rich hardwood floors. 



Shhhh!  Do you hear that?




Where is this coming from?  I hear the cat!, my client exclaimed!

There. Inside the pot drawer. Way in at the back. Prince Kitty was yawning and stretching and preparing himself for yet another day of ruling the world. 

He was never lost at all.

The cat came back. The very next day. The cat came back. We thought he was a goner. But the cat came back. He just couldn't stay away.


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