Our cat Coco gave us one hell of a scare on Sunday. She is an extremely timid and quiet cat. She runs and hides at the smallest noises. That said, though, in times of danger she gets aggressive. She is also the kind of cat that wants to explore the ‘hood, which we try limit her ability to do. She has only ever explored our complex, however, and has never made it out into the big, wide world. Frankly, she wouldn’t cope.
On Sunday, the main gates to our complex were left open due to load shedding – THANKS ESKOM – and we realized we hadn’t seen Coco for a while. We had a look through our garden and the complex and couldn’t find her, so assuming the worst, we left our complex to find her. A guard at the complex next to us stopped us while we were searching and said “A white-ish cat came through this gate about an hour ago. Maybe she is hunting.” Hunting? Pah!
Anyway, we walked through that complex.. “Coco! Cokes! Cokies! Come girlie!” No response, except for a few neighbours who took interest in Andrea with a coconut oil hair mask and pajamas, and a topless Ross with a backwards cap (also with a coconut oil hair mask). We climbed walls, looked in gardens, walked up driveways, looked in open garages. At the bottom of the complex, we heard her. A faint, soft meow. Coco!? Meow. Coco?! Meow. Cokes?? Meow. There was a bunch of bushes, and a massive storm water drain. Ross and I looked at it, and then back at each other thinking the same thing. We got on all fours, shouting for her down the drain. No reply. I searched the bushes. Nothing. We then thought we heard the crying OVER the complex wall in the small shopping centre next door.
So, we rushed off, jumped into the car and searched the back of the shopping complex.. Still in pyjamas, with a coconut oil hair mask. Nothing. We went back to the complex, and again, we heard this faint soft meow. I was convinced she was in the drain, dying. Next thing, the meowing stopped. I gave up on life at this stage – people who don’t have pets, especially those without adorable cats, won’t understand, but I was convinced my baby was dead. I broke down crying. My poor Cokes. I was not strong enough for all of this on top of everything else that’s going on.
Ross, my logical calm man, gently took me home to make ‘Lost’ posters. I had just cleared my phone to save space THANK YOU APPLE. So when I wanted to get a photo of her online, I couldn’t access the internet because THANK YOU ESKOM. We decided to go straight to the printing place to do it all there. Fun fact: printing shops aren’t open on Sundays. We drove around the neighbourhood in every direction. We searched for her for over two hours. We returned home heartbroken, and I told Ross I was going back to the complex next door to look for her one last time because a storm was brewing and I knew she wouldn’t survive through a thunderstorm, stuck out in the pouring rain. I was in the bathroom, blowing my nose – snot en trane, sunburnt – when I heard Ross calling me urgently. I quickly walked to him and THERE WAS COCO! I picked her up and held her and cried all over her face. My finest moment.
Guys. It seems she was sleeping on one of our chairs in the garden, hiding behind some washing we had hung up to dry. SHE WAS THERE THE WHOLE TIME. She clearly had the deepest, best sleep of her life (The photo below was taken while she was still trying to wake up). I can’t explain the devastation I felt when I thought she was gone. That was the worst feeling. Looking back, we were ridiculous about it all – we should have spent more time checking our own damn garden. I blame that guard for telling me he saw her. And that faint meowing in the complex next door? It turns out that was a bird. A damn bird.