You may remember that we adopted a stray cat on wintry day back in February. But then, in July, much as she loved being well-fed and pampered, she got outside and disappeared.
Last night, the other three cats began reacting to something outside. When they started running back and forth from the patio door to the bedroom window around the side of the house, we knew they had seen an animal. Sue switched on the light out on the patio and got a glimpse of Gracie. Sue was so speechless it was funny--she stammered and gestured that I had to come and see. I went to look and there, off to the side of the patio was Gracie, peering at us fearfully around the side of a potted tomato plant. (Our tiny patio is a regular jungle of tomato plants.)
Sue went to the kitchen to get some food to entice Gracie while I quietly went outside and sat down in a patio chair. (Thankfully there were no mosquitoes.) The three cats were lined up inside the patio door watching the drama. As I sweet-talked Gracie, calling her by name, she would sneak forward and then dash away only to reappear on the other side of the patio.
Sue handed a bowl of cat food out to me and waited inside with the three cats to watch. After several false starts, Gracie finally advanced to the dish and gobbled some chunks of dry food down whole. Then she attacked the rest of the food and ate it up. I leaned forward to stroke her cheeks (her favorite spot) and she began purring. It only took a few minutes before she was in my lap.
I brought her inside--which did not go over well with Sunny, Tweedy and Snuffy. They really had their noses out of joint. They kept giving her hate stares and avoiding her. She was very restless all night but I suppose the sudden transition was quite disorienting. Today she's just like she never left.
We can only guess what happened to Gracie while she was gone but she didn't look nearly as bad as when she came in February. She's thin but her coat is still in good shape. We'll have to watch for fleas and worms for a while. I really can't tell if she remembers her name, but to me, she's forever Gracie (whether she wants to be or not)!