I watched my black cat antagonize a fat lizard for a few minutes. Well, really, Cassandra was just playing, pawing the lizard every time it tried to escape. And then I watched Skyler, my other cat, as she ran over to investigate, to find out what the commotion was all about. I let the cats have a moment with the reptile, then I scooped up the colorful creature, and let it go through a hole in the backyard fence.
That had been twenty-four hours previous.
Twenty four hours later, I was feeling sick to my stomach wondering where Skyler was.
After the lizard drama, both cats ran off, in different directions, scouting the neighborhood, as usual. When the sun began to set, I walked out to the sidewalk in front of my house, and gently called their names. Cassandra, Skyler, I called in a singsong voice. The voice the cats trusted. Cassandra came running. Ran right into my arms. Then I called to Skyler, once again, as I walked back towards the front door.
Every twenty, or so, minutes I’d walk out to the sidewalk and call Skyler’s name. But to no avail. I spent the rest of the evening and all through the night calling to my shy, quiet, observant cat. In the wee hours of the morning I had resigned myself to believe that something had happened. Something bad. My sick stomach told me so.
But, I was wrong, because later that afternoon Skyler walked into the house wide-eyed and fearful. As if something had happened to her. Something bad. When she heard the natural stomp of a foot, she ran under the couch, as far back as she could tuck herself in. She jumped at every noise. Noises that she had become immune to. With gentleness, Skyler’s family welcomed her home, into their safety net. Allowing her to readjust, at her own pace.
The next morning, when I had opened the garage door, just enough for the cats to slip under, Skyler sat, and observed her neighborhood. Taking a moment to reflect on something. And then she slowly followed Cassandra out onto the grass, and watched as her sister caught another lizard.
If only cats can talk, I said to myself.