Of Curios, Cats and Catastrophe

So I had a more exciting Saturday this last weekend than I had wanted, and I imagine it's a tale--or, um, tail-- my fellow pet-lovers will identify with.

I was eagerly awaiting a curio cabinet I'd bought from a local furniture store which was the perfect size and style for my dining room. As you may know, I pick up inexpensive but pretty late-Victorian plates and bowls at thrift shops and antique malls, and I wanted to be able to display my favorite pieces. Here it is in situ...

So I had gotten a phone call the day before from the furniture deliverers that I would be getting it between 11am and 2pm. Excellent!

I invited my friend Scoobie over to hang out and have lunch and see the new curio cabinet. I had a couple of recipes in Fanny Flagg's WhistleStop Cafe Cookbook I'd wanted to try, and thought this would be a great opportunity to make decadent homemade mac and cheese and some fried green tomatoes (never tried 'em before, but was curious.)

Now, regular readers might remember, I have two cats, Harry and Alice. (Harry-- the little bugger that this story will be about-- is on the left.)

So when the delivery guys came early, their truck grinding loudly throughout the neighborhood, I wasn't quite prepared. My cat Alice, who fancies herself the congenial hostess of my house, ran right to the door to greet them as they were propping open the front door.

I grabbed Alice to put in a safe room, and planned to go back for Harry. He had run under my dining room table, (his favorite hiding place), as he's initially a bit shy and sees no need to steal Alice's social thunder.

Well, the deliverymen had the curio cabinet in the house lickety-split, before I even returned from closing Alice in. I signed for the thing, and away they went.

That's about the time Scoobie and I discovered Harry was gone.

He was no longer under the dining room table.

He wasn't under the beds.

He wasn't hiding under or behind sofas, hadn't gotten into cabinets, and wasn't in the kitchen.

He didn't come when his name was called-- unusual! He didn't not apparate when food was poured or tasty treats rattled.

No one had seen him make his grand exit, but a second search of the house, calling his name and rattling those treats, well, it seemed to indicate the very worst.

Harry had pulled a Houdini!

Now, by this time I admit, I was freaking out. Harry has never been an outside cat and I adopted him when he was a teeny kitten. With the many dogs and stray cats and speeding cars in the neighborhood, I had every horrible vision that there was coursing through my mind.

Scoobie and I went on a cat-hunt.

Around and around the neighborhood we walked, calling for Harry and rattling the beloved treats. We asked neighbors. We checked backyards. Harry was nowhere to be found.

So we returned to the house. Alice was there waiting and pacing by the door, and I resigned myself to calling all the local animal agencies to let them know Harry was missing. It was hard to even imagine my buddy-- the goofy little cat who fetches and chases his own tail and can't let me sit in a chair without being in my lap--might no longer be such an integral part of daily life.

Part of me began to rather irrationally wish I didn't even have the curio cabinet, if it was going to cost me one of my great furred friends.

Two long hours had passed by now, and I was sitting in the living room trying to post Lost ads on some pet websites--thoughts of mac and cheese well-forgotten-- when out of the corner of my eye...

...The pillow on the windowseat moved.

I honestly thought I was seeing things. I think I might have even asked Scoobie, as a more reliable witness. Yes, yes, she saw, too. We paused, waited.

The pillow moved again.

I seized the pillow, and like a flash emerged Harry... zipping upstairs and out of view. It took me a moment to even realize I'd truly seen him and this wasn't all just wishful thinking for a happier, yet less likely resolution.

But Harry had apparently gotten scared by the truck noise and the large moving men and somehow found his way from under the dining table, unseen by any, to the livingroom and was hiding so long, he fell asleep. He never heard me calling.

So Harry is home now, though he never really left. He got hugs and a little extra kibble and me, well, I felt like I needed to be shot with a tranq gun before the day was through. :)

I'm enjoying the curio cabinet a lot more now. There's probably some great line out there about curio-sity and the cat, but I don't think I'm quite ready to try to find it yet. :)

I hope you all have a great weekend-- and for my pet-adopting friends, that all your fuzzy and feathered buddies stay safe.


Jaffer said...

Lovely story Jenn ! I love your new cabinet too !

I thought Harry had stowed away in the truck !

Glad to see he is safe.

Orlando said...

I was with you all the way through your account and feel genuinely relieved it's ended happily.

The cabinet looks good, but appears to be full already!

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- We actually considered that too, at first. Only, he'd seemed to hate the sound of it so much--it really was loud-- we figured he probably wouldn't have gone toward it.

Orlando- Thank you! Yes, it's pretty full. There's still a little room, and some things I could swap out, but I'd been holding onto this stuff for a while, hoping for a place for it. So I'm pretty pleased it has a home.

Junk Drawer Kathy said...

Oh, they scare us, don't they? The best advice anyone ever gave me for finding a "lost" cat is to look VERY close to home. Like under-a-pillow-close. Especially for cats who don't go outside. They tend to never go very far.

So now that everyone's safe and sound, how was the mac and cheese?

p.s. Love the curio!

Jenn Thorson said...

Kathy- Yeah, I learned a real lesson about that. A while back, he did get out onto the porch once, while I was right there and I shrieked so loudly I scared him flat onto the porch. So it wasn't out of the realm of possibility that he would have gone outside. But hopefully this won't happen again because I'm wiser now.

The mac and cheese was actually okay, but not as good as the way I make it myself, They had me layer the cheese in two places rather than mix it all the way through along with the cream sauce, and I didn't feel it was cheesy enough. The fried green tomatoes, however, were absolutely delicious. I would make them again in a heartbeat.

Andrea said...

I was on pins and needles as I read the account of Harry and the movers. I think that my blood pressure possibly went up too. You know I've been through this with Dexter about 100 times and it is really tense for awhile. I too, get the treat bag out and have even taken a can opener outside and tried to open cans as loudly as possible. I'm sure that my neighbors think that I'm insane at times. It's true, he has never gone farther than the back or side yard, but he plays games with us. He lets us get right up to him and then he runs under the deck. He acts really weird when he's out in the wild. He makes new sounds and does weird contortions with his body, that I find to be primitive and slightly disgusting. He becomes another cat that I don't know and as soon as he gets captured and is back in the house, he is my buddy Dexter again. But, the fear definitely rises up in me and the adrenaline is pumping. Our son David will help us look for hours in the dark or rain, if need be. We have no lights in the back yard, so we are walking around blindly. Like I said, we are the neighborhood oddities at times! Glad Harry was a coward and hid behind the pillow, better get his ears checked! Rattling treats! How could he miss that?!?

Serena said...

I'm glad Harry's alright, but I must say, after all that, the story's quite funny! The poor little kitty got so scared he hid and fell asleep. It's enough to make me say "awwww!" :0)

meleah rebeccah said...

Oh my god, Jenn!

I was a nervous wreck for you the whole time I read this! I am so happy Harry never escaped the house and was hiding the whole time. What a relief!

Love the curio too! GORGEOUS.

*Sorry for abusing exclamation points.

Jenn Thorson said...

Andrea- Yeah, I'm sure the neighbors wondered who the Harry was I kept calling throughout the neighborhood as I rattled treats. Ah, well-- a little embarrassment on behalf of our beloved furry friends is worth it, as long as they're safe. I'm glad you've been able to retain Dexter-- he sounds like a fleet-footed fellow!

Serena- Yes, when I think about how much trauma there was, but it was all on MY part-- he was perfectly safe the whole time--I just shake my head.

Meleah- Hopefully, I won't have to deal with this kind of adventure again. I know I've learned some lessons.