It was chilly and wet outside yesterday. Friendly -- who is an outside cat, but chooses not to believe that about himself -- sat on the ledge outside our kitchen window, looking especially mournful and needy and soggy. So Youngest Kid and I decided he needed some TLC, and we sneaked him inside the house, past our dog, Jude The Cat Hater.
Okay, let me rewind just a bit, and provide a little background information:
If you remember, Friendly was a stray cat who "found" us and conned my husband into bringing him home by pretending to be friendly. The truth is that Friendly wasn't really friendly at all; he was just hungry and desperate and saw an opportunity for a free meal when he stumbled upon my husband and our kids cleaning out a warehouse near our home. The kids gave their new "friend" a couple of hot dogs and decided that this was THE friendliest cat they'd ever met. The deal was sealed and Friendly left the warehouse with a full tummy, a new name, and a new home.
Until a couple of years ago Friendly was in charge of things around our home, and was accustomed to inviting himself inside our house on a regular, almost daily basis. He often crouched at the back door, poised and ready to gain entrance when an unsuspecting patsy might open the door. In an orange, furry flash Friendly would bolt inside and disappear upstairs, looking for a comfortable place to take a long winter nap. Friendly ruled the roost. He was the "lord of his castle, the sovereign, the liege."* He was what you might call, "Top Dog."
However, Friendly's world was turned upside-down with the arrival of his arch nemesis, Jude. You might also remember our fun-loving dog Jude, who came to live with us after he and our son graduated from college. Our son went off to conquer the world and Jude came to the farm to conquer our house. Which he did. Jude is a canine version of Will Rogers and he loves almost everyone and every thing he meets. However, for some reason Jude has decided that he does not like cats. At all. In fact, Jude takes his role as the #1 He-Man Cat Hater very seriously. He's even appointed himself the unofficial border patrol and vigilantly guards the back door against any and all covert feline invasions. As a result, Friendly has had to suffer the indignity of being a full-time outside cat. His inner "inside kitty" has been forced to once again take a back seat, and regular lazy afternoon naps inside a warm house are a thing of the past.
Now, back to yesterday:
After we sneaked Friendly inside the house and past the pooch patrol, my Youngest Kid quietly carried him upstairs and closed the door. Jude never even suspected a thing! Friendly quickly found his old favorite sleeping spot, which happens to be inside one of the drawers of Youngest Kid's dresser. Yes, Friendly insists that she pull the drawer partway open so he can stretch out on top of her clothes. We let Friendly stay inside the house for most of the afternoon, but as nightfall approached I decided it was time to put him out before Jude became suspicious. Youngest Kid went upstairs to get him, but the elusive feline was nowhere to be found. The door upstairs had been shut all day, so we knew he had to be there somewhere. Youngest kid looked all over. I looked all over. We looked in the closets. We looked in the bathroom. We looked under the beds. We looked behind the dresser. We looked inside the dresser. Friendly was just not there. NOWHERE. Dumbfounded, the kid and I came downstairs (again, closing the upstairs door) thinking Friendly must have somehow found a way out. But Friendly wasn't anywhere, and we literally had no idea where he could be.
In order to protect the peace in the house, we knew we had to find that cat before #1 He-man Cat Hater did, so Youngest Kid and I decided to check one more time upstairs. We went into Youngest Kid's room, and whaddaya know, there was Friendly, in her room, laying contentedly in his favorite spot, looking at us with that disgusted-Friendly-look, just like he'd been there the entire time!! It was crazy! I still have no idea where he'd been and the best conclusion we could come up with for his "now you see him, now you don't" moment, is that Friendly is some sort of a feline Houdini. The only thing he lacks is a little cat cape and a cat-sized top hat. :)
*[Bonus points if you can name the movie where I got that quote.]