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Cats are strange creatures when it comes to new people. It used to take Bandit forever to warm up to a stranger. She seems to be over that. Within moments of D arriving at our house, she was all over him. Smokey? Completely different story.

As Mark and I were whiz-banging through the basement yesterday after work, the outside door was opened and closed quite frequently. When we got back from volleyball, D was in the driveway waiting for us. I didn’t recall seeing Smokey since before we left for our game. When we were getting D settled in we were in and out, doors opened and closed, lots of commotion. Still no hide nor hair from Smokey. This is not totally unusual because he goes into hiding when there’s a stranger around.

As Michelle and I were working on her invitations I became increasingly aware that I had not seen Smokey for quite a while. I mentioned it to Mark and he said, “He’s probably just hanging out with D.” I was skeptical and went back to working with Michelle. Ever since we lost Bandit in the woods a couple years ago, I have had this weird need to know where all the animals are before going to bed each night. So I went back to Mark and said that it just wasn’t like Smokey to not be hanging out in the TV room with him. He agreed to go downstairs to see if he could find him.

Down he went and asked D if he had seen the grey cat. They looked around in the basement. Behind the couch, behind the entertainment center, behind the bar where the litter box is, in the bathroom, in the workout room, in the scrapbook room. No sign of him. I searched upstairs. Under my bed. In my closet. In the guest room (even though that door hadn’t been opened at all). In the coat closet. The linen closet. The bathroom closet. The TV room closet. Every cupboard in the kitchen. No sign of him in the house. So we all grabbed flashlights and headed outside! It’s THUNDERSTORM season!! And there were some doozies forecast for last night and I didn’t want Smokey stuck outside in what was to come.

We looked EVERYWHERE!! Everywhere! I’m surprised that the police weren’t called with reports of people with flashlights in their yards throughout our neighborhood. After about an hour we gave up the search. There’s only so much you can do to find a cat when the cat doesn’t want to be found.

Michelle and I wrapped up the wedding stuff we were working on, hugged, and said goodnight. She headed home not knowing what Smokey’s fate would be.

I was sitting on the couch closing down some programs on my computer so I could move it back into the TV room and from downstairs I hear D holler, “THERE’S A BIG GREY CAT IN HERE!!!” When I say “holler” I mean “HOLLER!” He was not quiet about it. I jumped off the couch and headed to the stairs. Bandit was sprinting up the stairs as I was bounding down. No sign of Smokey. D’s eyes were wide as he pointed to the couch, “He ran behind the couch! He ran behind the couch!!” Mark was down the stairs by this time and we were pulling the couch away from the wall, looking under the couch, raising the recliner parts to see if Smokey was hiding there. Nothing. Not a sign of the cat. D insisted that he saw a big, grey cat run behind the sofa. He said it was way bigger than Bandit, and FUZZY! After thoroughly searching again to no avail, Mark and I said goodnight to D and went back upstairs.

We were watching TV for a bit and I said, “Maybe he saw Bandit and just thought it was Smokey.” Mark goes, “Maybe he’s hallucinating.” Not at all out of the realm of possibility. I said, “Maybe he’s drunk!” Not at all out of the realm of possibility! We were kind of chuckling at the absurdity of the whole thing. I said that if Smokey was down there and decided to sneak upstairs, that D’s hollering that there was a big, grey cat would have scared the shit out of Smokey and he would have bee-lined back behind/under/wherever the couch he had come from. It was well after 11pm by this time. Mark got up to take Jake out to pee before bed. I headed into the bedroom and rounded the corner to turn on the TV in there.

20130127_112216-1-1And there was Smokey. Standing on the floor at the foot of my bed. Staring at me. I could tell he was stressed. I scooped him up and hugged him and petted his pretty fur and said, “Are you scared of that strange man downstairs?” He tolerated my snuggles as much as he does any other time. About that time Mark came around the corner of the hallway and Smokey freaked the fuck out! He went into all the strange contortions that a cat would normally make when they are trying to escape from someone’s grasp. Mark’s like, “Smokey! Smokey! It’s OK!” Smokey was out of my arms and under the bed in nothing flat. Mark and I just stared at each other. He finally broke the silence, “Well, at least we know he’s in the house.”

I texted Michelle to let her know that we found Smokey because she is way worse of a worry wart than I am when it comes to the animals.

Smokey stayed under the bed all night long. He slinked out this morning as I was getting ready for work but was still very skittish. He’ll settle down eventually. Hopefully, I will, too!

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