If you were following my Instagram page, you would have learned that my brother Iah went missing. One of the house guests left the backdoor open and my two tabby brothers escaped. Egypt came back several hours later, looking wet and distressed. Iah did not return. This started the frantic search by Author and Catdad, as well as the other house people, neighbours, friends, and family. The search party did everything possible to find my skittish but full of love brother. They crawled under bushes and decks, they searched several times each day and night. They called out for him, they set food out for him, they tried to use my brothers and I to find him. The house was filled with sorrow and searching.
Unfortunately, the food was consumed by another local cat who is black and fluffy and looking plump. I don’t mind hanging out with him. I like to learn the ways of the outdoor/indoor cats from him. I do not, however, have any desire to venture farther than a few feet from the door. I had my fill of the rustic outdoors. It does a number on one’s fur and I have no desire to live anywhere by in luxury with my Author and Catdad.
My brothers and I were not helpful at locating Iah either. We got too distracted by leaves and the food set out or by the great outdoors to be of any use. There were also conflicting ideas that Iah needed this time away to become a true cat. We also appreciated the increased space and attention his absence brought, but we missed him too.
No matter what was done, no one could find Iah.
By the second day of Iah’s absence, Egypt and I barely touched our food out of worry. My brother Fan-lew began stress eating. Did you know that Fan-lew is the inspiration behind Lewis in my author’s Angels and Avalon series?
Author and Catdad and the other people in the house did regular searches again, delivered lost posters to the nearby neighbours, called the vets and humane society, posted lost posts online everywhere, and did everything they could to search for Iah again. I helped by posting on Instagram about my brother. I knew he liked to eat spiders and bugs and though maybe he’d be somewhere eating them. I asked the local black cat who came up to the window that if he saw my brother to tell him to come home. Black cat is friendly to people and felines alike. I told him even if he had to lead Iah by the scruff home, he should. His gentle ways did not make him comfortable with such force, but he agreed to help in the search and try to get Iah home.
Night rolled around again and still no Iah. The house echoed with the grief in our hearts. I just couldn’t bring myself to purr. Fan-lew was alternating between fasting and stress-eating. Food held little appeal for Egypt and me, or our author and Catdad. Frantic and pushing themselves, Catdad’s cold got worse and Author’s disability got worse, too.
She wobbled when she walked. She fell often. She was dead tired and slept during the day when she could. She was weaker and I could tell she was in a lot of pain. I managed to offer comfort once, and Egypt as well, but we still couldn’t do much than lie near. No purrs would come in the absence of the purr-filled Iah. Iah was the purrer of the house. He purred for so many reasons. Someone looked at him lovingly, grooming, the sun, pets, cuddles, warmth, food, music, finding the right spot, lying down, sitting up, walking… he purred so much.
Author and Catdad went to bed. Catdad sleeps like a dog. He falls asleep instantly and sleeps through anything. He is a master of sleeping. I try to emulate him, but it isn’t always possible, even for me. I know, that’s shocking to hear, but it’s true.
Author has a bit more trouble sleeping normally, but on this night, no matter how much meditation, relaxing music, gentle stretching, valerian tea, or other sleep aids she tried, sleep would not come. Finally, her grief sent her out the front door to look one more time.
The night was so cold. I could tell because a cold draft brushed over my fur as I sat in the chair, watching her through the window. She staggered, pulling the sweater tightly around her as she called softly for my brother.
“Please come home, Iah…” she called. Her voice broke from the grief.
Then there were noises. They sounded like human foot steps coming from the side of the house. Maybe Author’s brother was out for a late walk and heard her. He lives with us too and lets me sometimes go in his room and look out the windows there. His room is quiet, and I love the space.
The foot steps at the side of the house stopped. Was someone else around the corner?
Author called out her brother’s name softly. But I could smell her brother in his room nearby. He wasn’t out there. “Hello?” she whispered.
Then there was a great rustling of leaves. Author stepped back, afraid. Author has bad people who sometimes like to be mean to her and follow her around. I rose up on my haunches, pupils wide, searching. Nose wiggling, smelling. If it was a bad person, I’d have to go wake up dad. I planned to use claws. But all I could smell was nature, the cold of the night, a squirrel, birds (I love poultry but it upsets my tummy), and… Iah! I could smell him!
At this moment, Iah poked his head around the deck stairs. He finally meowed at my author. Her eyes filled with tears of joy and she came into the house. She yelled for Catdad six times, but he did not wake. Everyone else in the house did, though. Finally, Catdad stumbled out of the bedroom with a blanket about his waist. He rushed to put all of us in the bedrooms.
I could tell from the noises and cold breeze coming under the door that they left the front door wide open.
Author began to call Iah softly, talking to him and leaving a trail of crunchy dry food. I could tell by the smell and sounds. I heard Iah crunching.
Then Catdad decided he would try to put pants on to help. He opened the door and Egypt ran out.
Author yelled and cursed Catdad and Egypt. Now there were two cats at large. According to Egypt, Iah was too scared and he went and hid under the deck when Egypt came out. Iah still had feral fear in him. So Egypt decided to become a cat of the night and race around the back yard and front yard. Catdad had closed the bedroom door and, still in only a blanket, chased after Egypt while Author tried to coax Iah home again.
Author secured Egypt as he ran pass and hobbled to put him away in the bedroom. Catdad came around the corner where the spooky steps were coming from earlier. Author admonished him and told him to get his “naked ass” inside with a laugh. Though I have it on good authority he never lost the blanket. Even while running around after my brother.
It took a long while to coax Iah back because he was so scared. Iah ran to the wrong side of the deck and yard once. To follow him, Author walked around the deck and fell into some bushes. She managed to clumsily get out and had to sit there for a few minutes to recover and get standing on shaky legs again. I know because I watched from the bedroom window. Her fall scared Iah back under the deck.
She went and got Iah’s laser pointer. That’s his favourite toy. When he hears it or a pen or anything similar click, he races toward the noise with such delight and wanting on his face. Author sat on the deck chair and used the laser pointer to coax him back onto the deck and near the door.
There was a bowl of wet food sitting in the foyer. It smelled delicious. Finally, Iah followed the laser to the dry food trail and the dry food trail inside the house to the wet food trail. Author moved slowly because she had to, but she finally entered the house and closed the door behind him.
Iah raced around a bit, scared, ran away from us until Egypt got close and touched noses with him. He calmed down enough to greet Fan-lew and I, then to eat again. I helped him with the dry food. I love carbs and crunchies. Catdad put me in the room though until Iah finished eating a bit more. Then he let me out and lied on the bed and crawled under the covers. I’m not sure what author was doing. I think she was just sitting somewhere recovering from the whole thing. Iah climbed on the bed and finally let Catdad pet him. When he did, he fully relaxed and engaged full-blast purring mode.
Author managed to lean against the wall and make it to the bed too and hugged Iah so tightly. It seemed the rest of us would be forgotten. I made my way for a nap and so did Fan-lew. Egypt oversaw the Iah cuddles. Then Catdad had to bath Author because she still had nature, including a bug snack I was eyeing, in her hair and on her clothing. She was too week to stand and sit and move on her own. Once he had got all the nature out, he helped her into bed and they both went to sleep. Iah slept at the top of his favourite cat tree for twenty hours, only rising to eat and use the litter.
Author slept for probably as long and was in the worst pain ever. She couldn’t drink or eat or do anything hardly all day. But it was worth it she said. It was worth it to have her family safe and home.
Now everything is back to normal, mostly.