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July 23, 2009

Little Lost Kitty

Few things make me as sad as lost items. Perhaps sad isn’t exactly the right word. Losing an umbrella is obviously not nearly as wrenching as say, the plight of lepers in developing countries or the conscription of child soldiers in war-torn parts of Africa. But when I see lost mittens, abandoned bikes, the occasional shoe without a mate, something tugs at my heartstrings. My frayed, black heartstrings.

This is why Dawn O’Connell’s homemade flyer, which ended up on my porch last night, is really making me bummed. The notice is simple — the word “MISSING” is printed in handwritten capital letters over the photo of her cat, Cody. Underneath the cat’s photo is Dawn’s contact info. It’s amazing that in an age of digital overkill that something as simple as a handmade, photocopied flyer can be so effective and poignant. The flyer has spurred me to action. I want to find Dawn’s cat, not so that I can be the hero, though that would be an added bonus, but so that Dawn can rest easy knowing that Cody is safe and sound mewing around the house, playing with cat toys and getting stoned on catnip.

This is a photo of Cody, the wayward indoor house cat.

I knew Cody was missing earlier in the day. Dawn noted her feline’s disappearance on Front Porch Forum and entreated her neighbors to let her know if they’d seen him. Then, later in the day, I saw that Dawn had posted flyers around the neighborhood describing Cody and asking people to alert her if they see him. I resolved to keep my eyes peeled for Cody, because for some reason I want nothing more than to see Dawn and her furry companion reunited.

Last night, as I was drifting off to slumberland whilst reading a book about Adirondack chairs, I was roused by a screeching that sounded like it was coming from the bowels of Hell. Of course, it was just the neighborhood feral cats that like to carouse in my dirt pile of a backyard, not fiery hellbeasts. A few months ago, or so the neighborhood legend goes, the fellow who lived behind me passed away. His cats were let loose on the neighborhood and in their grief have begun terrorizing the other few cats on the block. Cat fights are now a regular thing in my ‘hood, much to the collective chagrin of my dog and me.

When I heard these cats striking blows last night, my immediate thought was that they had gotten to Cody the innocent. I couldn’t let that happen. I rushed to the window, only to spy the usual feline suspects mixing it up. Cody wasn’t in sight. At least I don’t think so. Sadly, I don’t know a Coon cat from a Balinese, so it very well could have been Cody. But I hope not. These cats are fierce, and not in a "Project Runway" way, and would think nothing of doing severe bodily harm. One cat in the little kitty Hooverville behind my house looks like he lost an eyeball in a particularly bitter battle. Street cats clearly don't mess around.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Dawn and Cody are reunited. If you happen to see a bedraggled black and tan long-haired Coon cat milling around your neighborhood, please let Dawn know. In lieu of a paper flyer, check out Dawn’s Craigslist listing. Good luck, little Cody cat. Be a good boy now and go back home. 

There's been a similar flyer, and FPF listing, in my South End neighborhood for a few weeks, too. Maybe our fugitive feline and Cody are out catting around together.

Since you mentioned lost mittens, though, Lauren, you'll no doubt be thrilled to learn that I collect them, giving the sad little things a home with other foundlings until ... well, until I figure out what to do with them. They mostly turn up in winter for obvious reasons, but occasionally I'll spot a flattened glove on the ground. I usually carry around a plastic bag in which to encase these items, much like pet owners carry around plastic bags for poop.

If you come across any lost gloves (which are almost always singles), feel free to contribute to my burgeoning collection, and please note when and where you found it.

Awwww. I read this great New Yorker story about a lady who finds rich city people's lost pets in the Hamptons. (Once in the country, the usually apartment-bound pets sometimes try to escape into the great outdoors.) Anyway, she says to leave an indoor cat's litter box in an open doorway, open a can of tuna, be very quiet at dusk and hope it slinks back home.

Which seems pretty elaborate, but cats are finicky critters and need to be enticed. Not that I would know anything about feline habits from personal experience or anything.

Cody is home!

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