I have a very peculiar cat named Princess. She's a tiny cat--about five pounds soaking wet with the loudest, most demanding meow I've ever heard. Twice I've had to take her to the vet for snake bites. She has a thing about running water, as in she fights me for the sink when I turn on the water. She feels it is her right to drink from the faucet instead of the *sniff* water bowl.
A few months ago, Princess disappeared for a couple of days. I'd stand outside and call her but to no avail, she wouldn't come home. Since the vet believes she's about 15 years old, each disappearance makes me think she won't be back. Cats have a tendency to wander off to die. But after a few days, she'd show back up looking none the worse for a few nights out in the elements. (No, she's not catting around, she's fixed!) Momma and I started joking about Princess' "other" family. The people she must be staying with when she wasn't here.
So a week or so ago when the weather turned off very cold, I hadn't seen her in a couple of days. No amount of calling or tramping around the neighborhood brought her home. Then a heavy sleet hit. It looked like we had several inches of snow but it was all ice and still no Princess. I couldn't get out to look for her because the ice was terrible and I had no idea where to look! So I worried and went to the living room window or the front door and called her a couple of times an hour. I told Momma I didn't think she'd come back.
So the day after the ice storm I tramp around--more like slip and slide around--looking for her or her poor frozen body. I headed off in one direction I'd seen her go--out of many but you have to start somewhere. Through a little patch of woods, there is a duplex facing the highway a block away. Near the duplex was a couple of storage sheds. I'd seen Princess over by the sheds before so I thought maybe she'd gotten locked inside one. Both sheds had latches and I didn't want to get caught rummaging through someone's property. I went around to the closest side of the duplex and knocked on the door.
A woman answered and I asked her if she'd seen a little black and white cat hanging around. She said wait a minute, disappeared for a minute then returned with Princess. Evidently Princess had been coming over there on a regular basis for months. The last time her mouth was messed up by a snake bite, she was getting special food from me and kitten milk and canned food from them. I told the woman and her teenage daughter that I didn't mind if Princess stayed over there. I was just worried when she didn't come home during the storm.
Now, I have seven cats, if you count Princess, and giving one away to someone willing to spoil a cat properly should be a good thing. And they knew how to spoil cats from the look of their other two. But it still pained me to lose Princess and I kept hoping she'd decide to come home. So a week goes by without seeing her little face or hearing her big meow. Until Wednesday.
Princess showed up, crying for food and demanding the water faucet be turned on for her personal use. I complied but I was supposed to pick up Momma to go shopping so I had to leave. When I got back, Princess wasn't around. I pouted for a little while. About six Wednesday evening, she showed up again and this time she stayed. Christmas Eve, yesterday, last night and today. Right now, she's perched on the back of the beddesk behind my laptop.
I told my mother it was a Christmas miracle. She suggested that Princess' new family had left town for the holidays. And damn if the last four times I've driven past their house, their car was gone. Momma's probably right. *cackle* But for now, all my critters are safe, sound, well fed, and happy with me.