It wasn’t until I was getting ready to start my workout that I realized I hadn’t seen my cat, Lulu. Usually, she the first family member I see each morning. She greets me at my bedroom door, walks with me downstairs, jumps up onto the counter, and watches me prepare my coffee
So I called her; no response.
I called her again, nothing.
I shook the bell of her favorite toy, “chicken,” and announced that I had her favorite treats. Nothing but silence.
At that point, I ransacked my house, looking under beds, opening every cabinet and drawer. I reminded myself that she had to be somewhere inside. The farthest she’d ever gone was the screen door. I looked in the backyard and our detached garage; she wasn’t there. I left the garage open for her to crawl under. Then I walked around the neighborhood, calling out to her, but there were only sleeping strays.
I returned home and alerted my Nextdoor.com neighbors, Lulu’s tracking devise company, and the local shelter that lulu was missing. I printed up flyers and taped them to lampposts and put her litter box outside so she could pick up her scent and find her way home.
After that, all I do was distract myself with a HIIT workout. I cried through every 40-second work period, and at every 20-second rest break, I went to the window and called her name. I continued to push through my day, trusting that the universe would keep her safe and guide her home.
At one point, a nudge of intuition had me back in my garage. I went to the rolling door, peeked under, and called out towards the bushes.
From behind, I heard, “Mew.”
I followed her voice to the corner of the garage, where layers of dismantled furniture were stacked like giant odd-shaped books against the wall but did not see her.
“I can hear you, but I can’t see you. Where are you?”
After some coaxing, she reappeared, physically unharmed, but emotionally distraught after spending a night away from home.