Our cat Scamper went AWOL for 24 hours

We had a bit of a scare this week when one of our cats went missing. It was probably more worrisome that we didn’t know he was missing until the following day.

I would affectionately describe our cat Scamper as the “fat dumb cat.” He’s either fat (or very poofy), loves to eat, rather dumb, but extremely sweet. He loves to hang out all the time with us, wherever we are, and is affectionate and friendly to a fault. He also has a strong pull for the outside. Call it the “Call of the Wild”, but not only will he always be open to going outside, he often attempts a jailbreak from his home / Shawshank Prison. I’m talking if you don’t keep an eye on that open door, he is running to freedom. Don’t ask me why — I have no clue.

The drama started on Tuesday. My wife and kids were running around and may have lost track of the garage door, but we’re not entirely sure what happened. Amidst all of the hubbub, no one realized Scamper had not been seen all evening. Our other, sulky cat Toasty was around, and he came to snuggle with us, but the house is big, and perhaps Scamper was attending to some other feline business. The next day, I received a call from my distraught wife when she realized that Scamper was not around. He didn’t come running for his food. No one had seen him that morning. And then we realized no one had seen him the evening before.

Uh oh.

My wife searched the entire house late Wednesday morning (officially Christmas Eve), and also went outside in the steady rain to search for Scamper. After I got home, I changed my clothes, and spent an hour checking every tree, talking to neighbors, and canvassing the neighborhood. One of the times that Scamper was out this summer, I watched in shock and disgust as he made a fast sprint for a row of evergreen trees. Luckily we caught him in time. That’s where I began my search, checking all of the acreage behind our house. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen.  My wife began posting pictures online, and our kids (plus some friends over for a play date that day) also helped to make signs. Below are some of their attempts to make meaningful signs. My wife made a more likely to be effective one, and we were getting ready for Christmas Eve services, dinner, and also hitting up Staples in order to laminate these posters. We also considered just printing these signs up, and then dropping them off in neighborhood mailboxes.


After getting dressed up for church, I asked the kids to pray for Scamper’s return. I also opted to once more walk around the property, including the backyard with all of those tall evergreen trees, calling out Scamper’s name. All of a sudden, in a response to hearing his name, I heard a faint, sad “Meow!” I played a little Human – Cat Marco Polo, calling for Scamper, and following the sound of the next “Meow!” that replied back. I eventually found him in the dark (Why didn’t I bring a flashlight with me!?!”) under one of the evergreen trees. After some coaxing (and clearing space under the heavy branches), I was able to grab Scamper, and carry him inside. The rest of the family was indeed very happy to see him.

I have to say that while this cat is stupid and gets on my nerves at times, Joni Mitchell was right — Don’t it always seem to go // That you don’t know what you’ve got // ‘Til it’s gone.

It's Christmas miracle! The Prodigal Cat has returned.

It’s Christmas miracle! The Prodigal Cat has returned.

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