The strange case of the disappearing cat - solved at last!

Life with a cat is seldom dull. Those of you who have them will know what I'm talking about - and those of you who don't have probably always suspected it.

Life with a cat is seldom dull. Those of you who have them will know what I'm talking about - and those of you who don't have probably always suspected it.

One day last week, I came home from work as the appliance repair man was working on our refrigerator. I'd awaited his arrival with some degree of anxiety, because the refrigerator was freezing everything in the produce and vegetable drawers on the bottom and barely keeping the milk cold on the top shelf, all as the temperatures outside soared near the 90-degree mark. I expected to walk in to a detailed explanation of what had gone wrong with our refrigerator, what had to be done about it - and how much it would cost.

As the repair man looked up from where he sat in the middle of my kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator, however, he beamed at me and said, "You sure have a sweet cat. He's been here 'helping' me ever since I first got here!"

And sure enough, there was Marmalade, winding back and forth next to him, rubbing up against his leg and occasionally taking a swipe with one of his paws at the dust bunnies under the refrigerator.

I guess you can't fault a cat for being overly friendly. I've known some cats so aggressive their owners are afraid to leave them in a room with strangers, and others so timid they don't come out for days after a repair man has been in the house.


Marmalade is the kind of cat who never questions the entitlement of anyone who enters the house or drives into the yard. I never leave him outdoors when we're gone, because I fear that he may ride off with the UPS man some day.

Once, when my sister and brother-in-law had been at our house visiting one weekend, we noted that Marmalade was nowhere to be found after they departed for their home in the Twin Cities. I called "kitty, kitty, kitty" in that high-pitched cat-calling voice, until my throat felt hoarse. I looked high and low, in all his favorite haunts, and checked both the garage and the garden shed to make sure he hadn't gotten shut in somewhere (it's happened before!), but all to no avail. He was totally and absolutely missing.

At that point, all I could think of was that Marmalade had decided to go exploring in the topper of my brother-in-law's F-150, gotten caught short when they closed the tailgate - and was half way to the Twin Cities by then!

Frantically, I scrambled around trying to find their cell phone number, and when I finally did, I got a voice mail message on the other end. And so, I left what was possibly the oddest message they were likely to ever receive - asking them to pull over and check to see if Marmalade was riding in the back of their truck! As it turned out, they called back later and informed us he wasn't there, but he did arrive home safe and sound by dinnertime from some obscure hiding place that we are never likely to know about....

This summer had been fairly quiet on the "cat front," however (other than last week's episode with the refrigerator repair man), and I chalked it up to the fact our cats are getting older and spend much of their day sleeping. But one day over the weekend, we didn't want to let them outdoors because we were planning to go into town. Instead, we did what we often do - let them out on the deck that opens off our bedroom, which is some 20 feet off the ground. There, they feel as though they're outdoors, but they can't run away.

It didn't take long before the little Siamese yowled to come back in again, but Marmalade chose to stay, stretch out in the sunshine and take a nap. When it was time to leave for town, I opened the door to the deck to bring him in and he wasn't there.

"Ken," I called to my husband, "did you already let Marmalade in?"

When he told me he hadn't, I did a double take and walked out on the deck, looking one way and then the next and under both the lawn chairs that were out there. Then, I bolted for the railing and looked down over it to the ground far below. And there stood Marmalade, all four legs planted firmly beneath him, standing stock still and staring straight ahead of him.


"He's out here - but he's on the ground!" I cried.

"Is he alive?" Ken replied from the other room.

I dashed down the hallway, out the front door, and circled around and under the house, coming to a skidding stop next to the cat, who was still standing in that peculiar position. As though I'd suddenly awakened him from a trance, he raised his head and looked innocently back at me. And then, he stalked off in the tall grass in search of his favorite nearby mousing spot - leaving us to wonder whether he'd rolled over in his slumbers on the deck and fallen off, or if, in a desperate move for freedom, he'd actually jumped. Chances are, we'll never know, but one thing we now know for certain - when a cat falls, he really does land on his feet!

Pine Journal Publisher Wendy Johnson can be contacted at: .

What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads