Best Christmas Present *EVER*

A week ago last Saturday (12/16), my nine-year-old son accidentally left our back door open. We finally shut it a few hours later, but didn’t realize that in the interim, our 14-year-old cat, Smudge, had taken the opportunity to explore the neighborhood. We finally realized she was not anywhere in the house only the next day (in her old age, she’s taken to hiding out for a lot of the day, and we weren’t home much that weekend). Since then, we’ve searched the vicinity several times, canvassed the neighbors, and even visited the kennels at Animal Control, with no luck. Smudge had been a 100% indoor cat her entire life, and as a week went by without any sign of her, we’d pretty much given up hope.

Then, tonight, just after my kids had finished unwrapping what we though were the last of their gifts, our younger cat started making a god-awful fuss by that same back door. I went to check it out, and to my astonishment, found that the Prodigal Cat had decided to come home for Christmas. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

She’s nervous & upset, limping on one hind leg, and I’m going to take her to the vet tomorrow to make sure she’s OK. But she’s home & in one piece, which I would not have bet one dime on yesterday. Merry Christmas!

Oh that is wonderful! Something to really cheer us up, and to cheer about as well.

Hooray!!! The kitty is home!!!

Wa-freakin-hoo! Times a million.

Cool, but you forgot the required kitty pictures. :wink:

It is good you are bringing her to the vet tomorrow, spoiler her rotten with attention tonight and look for fleas and ticks for course. Give her, her favorite food treat.

Merry Christmas to you, your family and your feline friends,

She’s an all-black American shorthair. So she doesn’t photograph very well at all–you end up with what looks like a photograph of a room with an oddly-shaped spot in the middle that apparently didn’t develop. (Hence her name.) Sometimes, you get lucky & she’s looking straight at the camera, in which case the smudge on the film has two green dots in the middle … But the color & breed tells you what she looks like, exactly like about 5 trillion other solid black shorthairs. Which was part of our problem in canvassing the neighbors; we had several unconfirmable & contradictory sightings. There seem to be quite a few black cats running around.

Excellent description, I was just teasing about the picture of course.
I hope she is fine and I am really very happy for you. I love cats.


Oh, we had a cat that did that once. Showed up a week after we’d moved into a new house. It was the middle of the night, and he was just peeking in the window, as if he wasn’t sure if he’d found the right house. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

Yeah for you, and Yeah for Smudge!!! What a nice Christmas story!

WooHoo… great news for you and yours.

My best Christmas present ever happened late this October…

Treated myself to working w/ the doggies for a few days…

Great news for your family…happy holidaze,


My sister went through a similar experience this week. My parents flew her kids up to their house last week when school got out. But my sister had to work so she couldn’t fly up until Friday to join us.

They have a cat named Cheddar. He was named by the kids because he is yellow. But he also has the outdoor survival skills of a thirty pound lump of cheese. Despite which the call of the wild beckons his feline heart. Whenever he sees an outside door open he makes a run for it. But as his best “run” resembles a ponderous waddle, he’s usually retrieved before he makes it outside.

However, once in a while he makes it outdoors undetected. He then presumedly wanders around the neighbourhood for a while - eating lasagna, squashing spiders, and tormenting Odie, I imagine - until he drifts back by my sister’s house and some vague recollection that this is the place where he gets fed passes through his brain.

What apparently has never passed through his brain is the realization that doors work both ways. He’s figured out he can exit a house via a door but he’s never tried re-entering through one. What he has instead figured out is some unknown way to enter my sister’s attic. His presense in the attic is announced by a large thud in the ceiling and a chorus of howling until my sister goes up and releases him back into the house.

As I wrote above, my sister spend the week at home without the kids. And during this week, Cheddar once again pulled a Houdini and escaped. When he didn’t return the first day my sister was worried that he might either being seriously missing or hurt. Or that he would return after she had left the house, crawl into the attic, and then howl himself to death waiting to be let back downstairs. Either way my sister was dreading the possibility of having to have an unplanned conversation on the subject of “kitty heaven” with her kids. Especially because of the timing - does she tell the kids when she first sees them or does she conceal the news until after Christmas when it’s time to return home?

As it turned out, no decision was needed. When she came home from work Friday, she was greeted by howls from above. Like Smudge in the OP and Steve Martin in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Cheddar had come home for the holidays. My sister was able to gather him up from the attic, drop him off at the neighbour’s, and make her plane on time.

Which took her to Philadelphia where she ended up getting stuck in the airport for sixteen hours, but that’s another story.

Thank you, What Exit?, now the title of your post has that song stuck in an infinite loop in my head. groan (At least it’s not some Christmas carol by Alvin and the Chipmunks?)

But the cat came back, the very next day…

Are you SCSimmons’s vet? Or do you just work there? Otherwise he’s TAKING the cat to the vet. :smiley: Hrumph.

Oops, I forgot the IANAV. :wink:

I think picunurse was actually making an almost unbelievably pedantic grammar nitpick, in a vain attempt to kill my thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

Vet appointment is in a couple hours, I’ll report back with results! I anticipate a fun time getting Smudge out to the car–if I’d been locked outside for a week, I wouldn’t want to leave the house for at least a few days, myself.

I am glad to hear your news. Let us know how the vet visit went.

We thought he was a goner!

:slight_smile: Vet appointment went surprisingly well. She has a mild fever & a torn CCL, which will need to be repaired. No bites, no infections, no major badness … I was also happy to learn that she wasn’t as far behind on her vaccinations as I’d feared–she had a full suite about eighteen months ago, so she was pretty well protected on her sojourn. Cat is very happy to be home once again!

The CCL isn’t a shock, either. She’d had her other one repaired a few years back, & the vet had said that the other would probably go if she didn’t lose some weight. She’s lost weight now–about three and a half pounds in the nine days on her own :eek: --but too late to save the ligament, I guess.

(I need to lose a good bit of weight myself. I suggested to my wife that she boot me out for a couple of weeks & see if that does as much for me. She didn’t think that was funny.)

I had a cat like that except she got kind of pudgy after a total hysterectomy. So in pictures she would be a black blurr with 2 green dots and a faded area (where the fur didn’t fit anymore) and a “zipper”. We called it the zipper to her ugly catsuit. :smiley:

No I was punishing What Exit? for the earworm s/he planted in my head! :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley: