Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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So What Was the Big Deal?

tortoiseshell cat with toy
Everything is okay now, right? Perhaps she didn't like sleeping on the mattress cover.

The good thing is, Kelly is fine now.

Me, not so sure.

I lost Kelly for an hour this afternoon. Today, instead of enjoying an afternoon nap on my bed, she headed to the basement after breakfast. It was a little warm and it’s cooler down there, and she always liked to spend some time down there before, so with her new outlook on life I followed her, saw where she went, and got to work for the day.

In the early afternoon I got her lunch ready and went down to the basement to get her.

tortoiseshell cat with cobwebs
Kelly in my upended basement.

But she was not where I had seen her, and she was…nowhere to be found. Absolutely nowhere. I heated up her little raw meal just a bit so it smelled really good, I got a bag of treats, a can of treats, flashlights and whatnot and spent the better part of an hour moving everything in my basement then all over the house looking for her. Increasingly panicked because with all the noise all six of us were making she’d normally at least wake up and meow when I called her name. Nothing. I even went outside in case she had slipped out with me while I had gone out to water plants.

I’d been concerned that she didn’t seem to be responding as usual when I talked to her, and that’s been over the course of months, but she couldn’t be totally deaf that fast! I mean, I was banging on the washer and dryer, moving shelves, knocking things down in my haste, she had to hear. I also remembered she’d been sleeping that really deep totally relaxed sleep I’ve only seen in my most senior cats and if she was out of range, she could be completely out…

When one of my cats is missing, or anything else that identifies with me for that matter such as glasses or a book, I usually have a sense of where in the house the cat or object is, at least what room it’s in, and I always find it there. I was convinced, though, that Kelly had either found a hole in the house no one else had found in 22 years, or something had fallen on her. I remembered a noise I’d heard hours earlier, a little thud, and then I remembered the lights had flickered…I was sure she was injured or…worse.

Eventually, the other cats were getting organized. It’s always frustrating because I know when one of the cats can’t be found, the remaining ones know where that cat is. Mewsette kept sitting on the washer, dryer and chest freezer. Mr. Sunshine kept prowling around that area of the basement, and Jelly Bean sat down and stared along the wall beside the freezer. I had looked there before, but we all stood still and heard a tiny little scratch noise.

I remembered that years ago my little former feral Moses used to crawl inside of the back of the freezer. There’s nothing dangerous, just a few covered connections and basically an air space so that heat can escape the bottom of the freezer; that was the draw for her, plus she felt safe.

But it was in the corner of the basement with the other two appliances next to it and my spare refrigerator nearly blocking the front of it.

tortoiseshell cat on cabinet
"I still get my lunch, don't I?" Kelly may look frightened, but that's only because I haven't handed over the dish yet.

I ran and found an old mirror, ran a cord through the hanger, got up on the freezer and lowered the mirror behind it. Couldn’t see a thing. But the way Bean and Mewsette were acting I knew we were on to something, I just wasn’t sure if I was ready for what it might be.

I moved everything a little bit, pulled the freezer out and lowered the mirror once again, shining my flashlight down in that direction to at least get some reflection in there.

Eyes! Round glowing eyes! And they were moving! Kelly was in there and she was alive! And she was talking!

Slowly she made her way out and looked up at me, on my knees on the lid of the chest freezer. I can’t say if she was confused generally or confused by me, but either way she walked behind the other appliances and came out from under the washtub. I picked her up and gently, not to frighten her, hugged and kissed her and talked non-stop to her. Took her picture, then took her upstairs to get her lunch from the refrigerator, then to the bathroom so she could eat in peace, though she had to put up with lots of pets from me!

She spent a while in there while I blocked the back of the freezer, and when I let her out she initially headed for the stairs, then ran into my room as if she’d just remembered it was open to her. The bed was stripped, and if she had not wanted to sleep on the mattress cover before it didn’t seem to bother her now!

All’s well that ends well in this case, but I’m still a little concerned about her generally. I know they are due for their yearly exam, at 18 Kelly needs a closer look.

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18 thoughts on “So What Was the Big Deal?

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  • Hi Bernadette,

    I couldn’t wait to hear how the story ended. Do you think that Kelly was thinking of Cookie and ran down there thinking she was going to find her?

    I know that feeling with Snoopy-when they get loose you think of all kinds of things.

    Now she looks content and safe on the bed.

    This was a happy ending for both.

    • Sharon, I’m not sure what she was thinking! And once she fell asleep in her nice cozy spot she was out, I have no idea how long she would have slept there. At least I was fairly certain she was in the house, I did have one of my cats get away for a little over a day. I’ll write about it some time! Today she’s on the marble windowsill, cool kitty. You try to stay cool too!

  • I did wonder if Kelly was getting confused! So glad you found her and she was ok 🙂 Gosh, we’ve all been there, except mine have always been awol outside!! x

    • Carolyn, that was the scary thing–she was indoors! This is a tiny house, but an old one and who knows? Mine subsidence? The underground stream finally broke through the wall? The fairies came in from the garden and she danced off with them?!

  • We know that scenario well and old basements have so many nooks and crannies. Our vet was just here and FYI, Merlin is responding Novafit, a supplement for cognitive functioning.

    • Layla, it was a toss-up between sensory or cognitive function, and a household accident–and I have always been hysterically careful so the latter has never happened here. Good thing my house is a lot smaller than yours–I only have 700 sq. ft, but things are so tightly packed in here that’s often a bigger problem! I’ll remember that medication, though, thanks!

  • Bernadette, I’m so glad Kelly is ok! I’ve been down that road before, so reading your post brought back all the heart-pounding and terror that comes when one of the furballs can’t be found. Hugs to your sweet Kelly!

    • Chris, I just had that deep intuitive feeling that she was okay, and I had to let myself stop and listen to it but I had to go through my hysterics first.

  • Ohh, Dear Bernadette, I was so sorry to feel how your panic had risen through the search for little Kelly.. n your predicament when thinking she might be caught up or confused.
    I’m glad she was OK.. n that your Black Brood were prepared to help in the search.
    I’ve been down that road a number of times, too, over the years.. each time as scary as the first.
    Once, when I’d checked n rechecked every crevice in the flat, at least three times over, all the while calling n getting more n more frantic, I finally glanced up n saw my lost “Mama” cat up on top of the wardrobe, chin resting on the edge, where she’d been all the while, watching as my panic had unfolded!!
    I was so glad to have found her.. n so cross with her [n hurt, even] for frightening me so. Bloomin’ Cats!!
    Mama’s big tabby son, Tiggy, who lived to be eighteen n a half, was diabetic for his last seven years, n would occasionally get a bit ‘hypo’ in confused. I’d need to be aware of where he was n what he was doing all the time.. or I’d likely find him tangled up in a corner somewhere.
    Thinking of you.. n your little Kelly. She looks quite surprised about all the fuss, doesn’t she?!! Perhaps, she was in just deep sleep in her newly-found, cosy nook.. it’s not right to just assume she’s OK now, though, is it?? xxx

    • Annie, we definitely need a closer look. It’s hard not to be mad at them when you find them–I wanted to yell and scream! but it would have terrified Kelly, who seemed confused already. The more frustrating thing than seeing them watching you hunt is having them pop out of nowhere after an hour because then you have no idea where they went so the next time it happens…

  • That episode must have taken a few years off your life! I went through something similar with Allegra shortly after she first came to live with me (and before I knew that she liked hiding inside the kitchen cabinets). It only took me about 20 minutes to find her, but I don’t ever want to live through that kind of fear again. Thank God Kelly is okay. I’m guessing the basement will be off limits to her now!

    • Ingrid, I’m going to have to hit the henna pretty hard next time, I think I lost all the last of my chestnut hair with this one. Kelly always used to disappear when she was still fearful of people, but that was long ago and I knew all her hiding places. I can’t make the basement off limits because that’s where most of the litterboxes are, but I will block it off overnight in case she decides to wander down there, and discourage her from going there at other times. It seems that she wants to run off to a protected place right after breakfast, so if I take her outside for a bit then upstairs, or just take her upstairs, she runs right into my bedroom or studio and stays there. I’m still concerned about her cognitive function and just where she’s at in this emotional transition, I’m just glad she’s come this far and I know it isn’t easy for my little pumpkin!

  • Bernadette…have you cnsiderd that Kelly is preparing you and the others for ‘good bye” so sorry to be the one to say that, but she is so like my precious Tortie Tasha, who emerged in her ‘real self’ once both the boys were gone OTRB, and then she eventually just wanted to join them. We were so blessed with her last weeks of sleeping under the covers, sitting in both our laps and just hanging out with us no matter where we were. She always followed me to the bathroom on my nightly, many, visits, and she would sit between my legs, waiting for me, then back to bed and under the covers.

    Love Kelly lots…and I know you already do…she needs you now more than ever…warm hugs, Linda and Savvy

    • I thought of that, but I’m actually concerned Kelly is developing a type of dementia I’ve seen in some of my other geriatric cats, but as for the rest of the activity–sleeping with me especially–she’d always done those things before the Fantastic Four so rudely interrupted her life. If this was totally new I’d really be freaked, but she is acting more like herself. And I remember that Moses, too, grew deaf and a little confused at this age and lost her feral self. I used to say to her that life was easier when you lost your senses. She was a gray tabby, sweet as honey, and Kelly adored her. She was the one who told Kelly not to be so uptight, everything would be okay.


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