I got a call from my husband Aaron yesterday on my work phone. Calling on my work phone is generally reserved for things that would take too long to text, or things that are urgent, surprisingly time-sensitive, or otherwise important. I’m instantly in a tense, reactive mode.
“Do you know if Mei has a new hiding spot?” he asks, after we exchange the usual telephone pleasantries.
He’d seen the cat at lunch, when he’d given her a tiny bit of deli turkey. (She’s back and forth on liking people food or not, so he figured he’d give it a shot. She ate it.) Then, later in the afternoon, when he made a coffee — Kitty Treat time — she was nowhere to be found. She usually comes running at the sound of the Keurig. She didn’t even come for his second coffee, or when Connor came home from school.
He searched the whole damn house. I had no idea where else to look. When I got home, we started the search anew. I decided to go upstairs and check my closet. Aaron decided to go with me.
Mei was laying on the top stair.
I pointed. “There she is.”
She was lethargic and weak and looked like she’d just come out of some dusty, cobwebby hidey-hole. As we all lavished her with petting and love, she hoisted herself up out of her kitty stupor and yarked up a small, watery mess on the stairs. The adults scattered to get cleaning supplies, and Mei gingerly stepped up to the landing to get out of the way.
Aaron left for work, greatly relieved, and Mei climbed back down onto the stairs and laid back down.
She didn’t come at my call of Kitty Dinner, which didn’t surprise me, given that she hadn’t come for Kitty Treats earlier. I made dinner for Connor — I wasn’t hungry — and after dinner, I climbed up the stairs to check on Mei while Connor was enjoying some TV time. I picked her up and we snuggled a bit, and I made sure she was breathing OK. He purr sounded a little off — kind of rough, like she was having trouble making it go — but she didn’t seem quite as weak as she had at first.
Right before Connor was to go upstairs for his bath, I tried one more time with the Kitty Dinner trigger phrase. This time, her eyes widened and she perked up. She slowly followed me down the stairs and into the kitchen. She sniffed at her canned food and decided to drink some water, instead.
That, at least, made me feel a little better — and her, too, I’d assume.
She spent the night on the stairs. She didn’t come up to snuggle with me in bed, and she didn’t go on a mousie-walk (wherein she carries her play mousie through the house at all hours, making extra loud caterwauling noises).
In the morning, as Connor and I went downstairs to breakfast, I petted the cat (who was, of course, still on the stairs). She meowed. Still OK. Good.
As I came through the doors into the kitchen, I saw that most of her canned food had been eaten. That was a huge relief. I then read the note Aaron had left for me on the counter before he went up to bed a few hours before — he’d coaxed Mei into coming down off the stairs and eating some dinner. She’d also drank some more water and used her litter box. That was even more of a relief.
Still, during my downtime at work this morning, I found myself Googling which of the two nearby vets we should take her to, if warranted.
As I write this, I’m messaging with the hubs, who is assuring me that Mei is once again wide-eyed and wandering about the house. This is good — it means she’s no longer camped out on the stairs.
We never did find out where her super-secret hiding place was.