I’ve been a bit under the weather lately. We all have. A couple of weeks ago, one of our cats went missing. Cats. You know, you can’t worry too much at first because, after all, they are cats. And, Stanley had disappeared before, (more than once) for a couple of days. But, as days trailed into weeks our anxieties have turned to sadness.

These two cats of ours were litter-mates, brothers, and partners in crime. The slightly larger of the two was the prototypical big brother–responsible and serious. Our missing kitty was the little guy–all mischief and busyness. He could be a pest. He kept his brother on his toes. Living on the edge of the forest has it’s risks and, as lovely as wild is, there are perils. We are suffering the loss of the intrepid one. Ollie, his big brother, is bereft. We think we see him looking, hopefully… 

We did all the usual things, starting with a local search. I went door-to-door with a flyer. And then we watched and waited.Yesterday, our neighbor called. She said that at Buntings, our local store, there was a poster for a “Found” grey kitty. I held my breath while Rick jumped in the car to check it out. There were photos. But, it is not our cat. But, we got to talking…maybe we could be a home for this lost cat. Maybe there could be some cosmic balance — a small silver-lining. We lurch from ready to not ready to get another cat–but the telling issue is that Ollie is noticeably down and lonely. So, I called the woman who’d posted the found cat. She’d had him for months, and would’ve kept him, except that her cat wasn’t keen on the idea of an addition to the family. She’d put up the poster and kept him fed and loved–but mostly, outdoors. With winter coming, she had to find him a home. I made plans to meet him, today.

Ms. Cat-Finder called this morning with the strangest story. She was so convinced that we’d take the cat that, last night, she went down to the market to remove the poster and pick up a few groceries. Oddly, she took down the poster first, and carried it with her into the store with her while she shopped. At checkout, the clerk’s jaw dropped. “That’s my cat!” The photo on the poster was her long, lost cat!

Earlier this summer, the store clerk had been between homes, and a friend with a local farm had taken her cat, until she could get settled. The cat disappeared. Surprisingly, she’d worked in the store all these months, with the poster in the lobby, and never noticed it. To demonstrate her bona fides, she showed Ms. Cat-Finder videos of the cat on her smart-phone. Later that evening, the cat and owner were reunited!

It’s a happy ending, though we are still missing, and wanting for a cat. But… if I hadn’t told the neighbor…if the neighbor hadn’t seen the poster…if the neighbor hadn’t failed to notice that the picture obviously wasn’t Stanley…if we hadn’t mulled-over the idea of adopting this cat, and called…if the Cat-Finder-lady hadn’t assumed that we’d take the cat, taken down the poster and brought it with her into the store, laying it down on the counter… It’s such a thread of imponderables that brought the two back together, that one has to wonder at having become a link in that chain. Knowing acutely the angst of a missing kitty, we are happy to have helped, in such a serendipitous way, to reunite them. It is a small compensation, to us, in a world of weird connections.