Heads up. This is a personal story totally unrelated, but one I feel the need to share. Willow is home again. Oh you probably do not know the story here. You see my family lives 3 hours from me–long story too boring to tell, but in May when son #2 graduates from high school, the nest will be empty, but the family will be together once again. Ask me someday. Maybe I’ll share the details.
Anyway, since I live alone for a while during the week, my family bought me a kitty–sweet innocent Willow. So tiny and helpless. I did not want a dog b/c I could not fathom walking a dog alone after dark. But yes, I’m a sucker for cutekitties, and a kitten would be perfect company. So while I was at Educon last January, they selected and brought home a tiny spitfire kitten, so full of energy, fun, and downright ugly. While the face was adorable, the coloring was brownish tabby with spiky long grey hairs sticking out all over the body. Oh and we thought it was a girl. I named her Willow primarily b/c I love Willow trees, and since I had sold my house, and now had no chance to get one to plant in my yard, the cat would take its place. We found out later Willow was a boy. He kind of, ahem, grew into himself.
Fast forward to this past weekend. We have planned a trip to Alabama for the next weekend, for a University of Alabama game and college visit for son #2. Willow still has a lot of kitten in him at 10 months, and has a weird fascination with window blinds, so we decided to board him and our lab at the vet for pending trip coming next weekend. This meant I would have to leave him so they could get them to the Vet Friday before it closes, and I wouldn’t be back until well after that closing hour. So I left Willow in Rock Hill with my son and husband. Willow is quite the sligh fox, and has learned to open cabinets and doors that do not catch completely. Somehow Monday afternoon, he managed to get the door open, and helped himself to the outside world that he had little experience in. This was discovered when my husband came home from work and the door had apparently gone unnoticed ajar for some unknown amount of time after son #2 came home from checking the mail. Willow is nowhere to be found. It is a medium sized apartment complex.
I was still at school when I got the call around 4:00 Monday afternoon. I could tell by my husband’s voice something was wrong. I braced myself for some really bad news. Willow could not be found. Okay confession I gave a small sigh of relief, as I had prepared to hear worse news. But it was still bad. They had been looking all over, but did not see any evidence of him. One of my colleagues came in and I tried to cover. She asked her questions, then turned me to her as I walked with her to the destination in question. “Why is your face so red?” All I could muster was that I’d gotten some bad news only moments before she came in. She didn’t press for information. I can only imagine that I looked catatonic.
I worked our Fall Fest that evening until 8:00, the whole while inwardly praying that Willow would came back. But the news from home was no dice. Now, factor in this 10 month old kitten is basically an indoor cat, and this is the first cold snap of the season–the low for the night was 28 degrees. By Tuesday morning, all I could do was inwardly pray, but prepare my mind for the worst. Each time I talked to either my husband or son, both were depressed and let down at the inability to locate Willow. I was at my wits end, b/c i wanted to go back home three hours away and help look for him too. They did make signs and post them around the apartment complex. Tuesday night the low dropped to 26. In my mind I kept rationalizing that animals understand instinctively how to find food and shelter out in nature, and that in all likelihood Willow is so cute and acclimated to humans, someone had probably adopted him. Again, all day today I kept saying to myself–Willow is okay, and that God would take care of him. I must say though it felt like a piece of me had been taken away.
This afternoon, almost 48 hours to the hour that Willow disappeared, my husband called to say Willow was home. A neighbor in an opposite building of ours called saying he had been trying to “get in” her door for 2 days, and when she saw our sign, she brought him in and called. So Willow we are pretty sure spent two very cold evenings out in the world. He is reportedly sleeping it off, but happy to be home. The pads on hs feet are smooth and unharmed, but according to my son, he smells a wee bit funny. (I imagine he has hung out with every stray dog and cat that has come by, and probably has not been a welcomed member of the groups.)
It has been a rough two days of little to no sleep fretting over the kitten. I am just glad to report he is home–and has a new gift–a collar with his identification on it. Before this incident, I thought it was cruel to force him to wear a collar all the time. Now I’m reminded why he needs to. (Of course there are some who would say it is cruel to keep him indoors. To them I say once we are out of the aprtment life, back in our own house, and I can have pet doors again, he will be free to make choices. Until then, he is house bound. )
I also have to acknowledge the power of prayer here. I kid you not when I say that during the last 48 hours there was a part of me mentally on my knees praying for that cat’s welfare. I thank GOD for bringing this little aggravation back to me. I did not know how attached I had gotten to my little Willow–Will as my guys call him. The beast. God love him and THANKS for bringing him back home today.