Thursday, November 3, 2011

And then there were three...

That was the ORIGINAL title of the blog I was going to post today. I even started writing it this morning. But everything changed...

Before I left for NY, I was filling the cat food bowl when I realized that I hadn't seen Phoebe for a couple of days. Phoebe is our orange cat with half a tail:

She spends about 99% of her time outside by choice. We've tried so hard to keep all of our cats indoors, but Phoebe's heart lives outdoors, so we gave up even trying to keep her in. She comes in the house about twice a day for just a minute to scarf down some food, and then she heads back outside.

But I realized on Tuesday morning that I hadn't let her in for a couple of days. I decided to ask Jerry if he'd seen her, but I was so busy getting ready for NY, that I forgot about it. Until this morning. Jerry came home and Phoebe wasn't waiting on the porch to get in, like usual. I asked Jerry if he'd seen her, and he realized he hadn't seen her for days.

I knew, at that moment, that she was gone. She never stays away this long (four days and counting). Jerry and I both figured she got in a fight in the woods across from our house where she likes to hunt mice, and was probably killed by a coyote or shot by a hunter or something. We told the kids that someone probably took her, because she's so pretty (you know, with the half broken tail and all...) and they were a little upset.

I asked Jerry to go look for her body in the woods when he was done sleeping. I thought about her through breakfast, and decided to just go out in the woods by myself to look for her. I wore my bright orange coat so I would hopefully not get shot; and I started walking back there. There was SO much brush and weeds and trees, and it was hard to get through it all. Not to mention that all the leaves are the same color as Phoebe, so it would be hard to spot her body on the ground. I looked for about an hour, and found no sign of her.

When I came out of the woods, I was at my next door neighbor's house, so I cut across the yard to get home. I saw my boys' soccer ball in their driveway up next to their shed, and I went to pick it up. I started calling for Phoebe, just in case she happened to be somewhere back there, and I heard a faint meow.

I stopped and listened, and I heard it again. I started calling louder for her, and she answered again, but it sounded weak. I discovered that she was locked in the neighbors' shed! They weren't home, and there was a padlock on the door. I tried pulling and pushing on the door to make a big enough crack for her to get out, but I only got it open a small crack.

She sounded so weak and she kept sticking her paw out the crack to touch me. It was heartbreaking. I ran to the house and got a small plate and I smeared canned food all over it hoping it would stick to the plate when I turned the plate sideways to slide through the crack. It worked, and Phoebe wolfed down the food immediately.
How sad is that?!

I woke up Jerry, and he called the neighbor's cell phone to tell him the problem. Cory told him to do whatever he had to--break the lock, take apart the door, whatever. First, Jerry tried to break the lock:

That didn't work. So he ended up unscrewing the bolts from the door hinge on bottom, and pulled it out enough to free Phoebe. She was so grateful to be out, she immediately started purring in my arms. I noticed she had a puncture wound on her back that looks infected:
The last time she had a wound like that (an animal bite, most likely) she needed surgery that cost over $300. I doused it with peroxide, and I'm going to keep an eye on it.

She immediately snuck back outside at her first opportunity, but she came in when the kids got home from school, and she's been sleeping on the arm of the couch ever since:

So we're back to four cats (three cats too many!) but I am happy that she didn't get hurt. I had been imagining all kind of horrible things happening to her, because she went missing on the day before Halloween (a.k.a. Devil's Night), and I know that some people hate cats enough to harm them.

Cory told us that the last time he opened the shed was on Sunday, the 30th--so she was in there without food or water for a long time! That cat is living on borrowed time, I swear. When we took her in, she had half a tail, a bb (from a bb gun) under her skin, and she almost died from the infection that we paid a small fortune to fix. She's a badass!


  1. Oh my gosh!! We also have four cats, and our mostly outdoor cat went missing almost a week ago. This gives me a little hope for him! I'm so glad Phoebe is ok! =)

  2. I am NOT a fan of cats, but that is SO SAD!! =( Thank God you found her when you did! I bet your kids were SO happy! So are you still bubbling over with excitement from your trip? Is it hard to not tell us about it?! ;)

  3. Oh no, poor Phoebe! That picture of her in the shed just breaks my heart. I am SO glad you found her and she's safe back home. Love the kittehs.

  4. She must have been so happy to see you!! Poor kitty. I am glad you saved her.

    The ads on your Now I am getting one for a cat genie (where you never have to change the litter) and one Jiff peanut butter. That seems like the ads are based on content picked up from your blog.

  5. Oh I'm glad you found her! Poor kitty...

  6. I'm so glad you found her Katie. I'm a nurse, so I just wanted to give you a little advice about the infection. If she will let you, hold a very warm, wet cloth against it as often as she will let you for 15-20 minutes at a time. This should help to bring the infection to the surface so it can open and drain on its own. My dog gets anal gland infections (ugh- disgusting) and we paid big bucks once to have it opened and drained. Never again!

    Your son looks alot like you in that photo. So cute!

  7. ok this might sound crazy, but my Great Grandma, my Grandma, my Mom have all done this remedy: Heat milk in a bowl to almost scalding, put a piece of bread in the bowl, place the bread on the wound and leave overnight. (of course let the bread cool enough to not burn the cat). I grew up on a farm, stepped on nails, a pitchfork almost through my foot, and this was the treatment. No antibiotics.

    If that sounds too crazy, how about neosporin?

  8. Awww poor kitty! That's such a sad photo of him stuck in the shed! Hope she feels better!!!

  9. WOW! Katie, I am so glad you found her! That is totally not how I thought the story was going to end.

    Your little boy is such a cutie!

  10. ok because I started feeling silly for posting the bread/milk I googled it

  11. awww im so glad this story had a happy ending. been a cat person my whole life. we have 5 right now.. yeah probably 5 too many. hahahah!

  12. Poor Phoebe. I'm glad she's ok!

    I had a cat like that growing up. Her name was Tanner and she was a beautfiul dark calico. She was small, pretty dainty, and the friendliest cat you'd ever meet. She'd purr if you just looked at her. But she loved to be outside.

    One summer, I think I was 19 or 20 and still living with my parents, we all went camping for a week. We had friends come over to take care of the animals and they didn't say anything about her missing. Well, when we got back, she wasn't anywhere to be found. We never found her. :( We had a neighbor, Doug, who lived across the street, who was a little "slow" but a complete and total asshole so much so that you couldn't feel sorry for him. You just wanted to punch him.

    Well, one day his wife asked my Mom if she had seen our cat lately, and right away we knew that he had taken her and done something with her. We could never get his wife to tell us what he did, even after she divorced his sorry ass. I still miss her. :(

  13. My heart was in my throat up until you heard the meowing! If she had been an indoor cat and had just gotten out she would have never survived that. She's tough!

    I love my Molly and I often think about how big of a mess I'm going to be when she leaves us. We had a dog previously (we were an outdoor cat family growing up), but she was more my husband's since he had her before we married and I moved in. But Molly, I've raised her since she's 6 weeks old, my baby. She's a Boxer/Great Dane, quickly approaching 6 years old on 12/3. Hopefully she leans more towards the Boxer side and we have many more years to enjoy her company.

  14. crazy...but, I guess it was meant to be or else you wouldn't have found her. ;-)

  15. OMG!!!!! I am so glad that you found her!!!!!!! She is a lucky kitty that you went looking for her!!!! One of my indoor cats slipped by me bringing in groceries a few years ago, I didn't think I would ever see her again, but we live trapped her in our front yard!!!
    I am a veterinarian, I hope you don't mind some free advice!!;-)
    I would try the compress like mentioned above (not the bread), and if it starts looking worse call your vet. If you have a valid client/vet relationship, and you explain the situation, I would think that your vet should be able to give you a course of oral antibiotics to give her. If she starts acting dumpy, I would also try to get the antibiotics. Just make sure that you explain that you know they SHOULD see her to be "right", but say that is a risk that you are willing to take and that you will bring her in if the wound doesn't heal or if any other symptoms occur.
    Good luck!!!!:-)

  16. OMG im glad you were able to find her. i was told that cats can live for two weeks without food or water (which is nuts).
    i never treat my cats wounds anymore, it costs too much. lately lilly has been walking around with a nasty abcess on her tail (from a neighbors cat named charlie) it usualy takes a week but she heals. my other two cats are strictly indoors but lilly cries to go out.

  17. I'm so happy you found her! When I read the title of the post and then saw her picture, I almost couldn't bring myself to read it. I'm glad I did so I could read the *hopefully* happy ending. We have four cats too many also, as well as two dogs too many. Oh well, I love them all. :
    Jessica F.

  18. So glad your kitty is o.k.
    Your new profile pic is BEAUTIFUL! Love your hair and make-up. Those New Yorkers really know their stuff. I'm a plain jane myself, very little make-up use. But love to dabble in it. Can't wait to see you on the Oz show. I have never watched it, but I certainly will when you are on. Oh, my my goal in there and I'm ready to achieve it. THANKS so much!!!

  19. I am so happy to hear that you found her! I'm such an optimist and would have been devistated had I got to the end of that story and there was bad news. That picture of Phoebe makes me want to cry... she looks so helpless! So glad she is safe back at home!


  20. What a story! I'm so grateful you found her.

  21. I'm so happy this story had a happy ending. I was a little sick to my stomach thinking that something happened to her.
    Hopefully her wound heals quickly and painlessly!
    Oh and that is the most pathetic, yet cute, photo ever!

  22. Awww poor kitty! I'm so glad you didn't give up and went out looking for her!!! Cats are amazing!

  23. That happened to my little cat, Daisy. She was gone for a few of days and my neighbor said they heard a faint "meow" up in their loft above the garage. I went up to check it out and there she was petrified in the corner hissing at me. Then when I picked her up she was a PURRING MACHINE. I'm so glad this was a happy ending. As far as her wound, I think you have to make sure it is draining so the infection can get out. I just spent a fortune on my cat and they found NOTHING wrong but obviously something is wrong so I understand you being hesitant to go back to the vet.

    I'm soooo exciting about your Dr. Oz debut!!!!!

  24. What a great story and you tell it so well. I was hanging on every word, and so thrilled when you found Miss Phoebe. REALLY, you should write your weight loss memoir!
    I've got cat stories too, so many over the years. The cat who fell asleep in the dryer and you know what happened. We heard the thump thump thump immediately when we turned it on of course and when we opened the door and she hopped out, she said MROWR! as cats do, and stomped off. She was fine. Them there was my Siamese, Mindy, who was outside with us one HOT summer day when we were washing the car. We cleaned it inside and out. That evening we went out and got in the car to go somewhere and there was Mindy, she had laid down on the floor on the back seat, trying to find the coolest place in that car, which must have been as hot as an oven. She jumped out of the car immediately, then collapsed on the driveway. We got her water and carried her inside. She was soaking wet with sweat, but she was fine. That wasn't the only life she used up either. She got in the neighbor's car once and he didn't discover it until he got downtown and she hopped out. He couldn't catch her. Then a lady found her downtown, and Mindy bit her and she had to be kept in confinement at the Humane Society for 10 days, cause her shots weren't up to date. Mindy was kind of a mean cat, but I loved her. Then there was the neighbor's cat who evidently crawled in the trunk of our car when we were unloading groceries one day, he was black, as was the interior of the car, nobody noticed and closed the trunk and he got locked in. Who knows for how long, but I know my car trunk smelled like cat urine for a long time. Again, the cat was okay. I got more cat stories, but I won't bore you. I'd say Phoebe used up at least one of her nine lives with that stunt. You know Phoebe was never the smartest Friend!

  25. I just thought of another Mindy story. That cat lived to the ripe old age of 18--hard to believe! She was evidently in the back of hubby's pick up and he left for work one morning. He always stopped at the convenience store on his way to workf or coffee. Mindy in her younger years used to spend a lot of time outside, and it was several days before I noticed she had not been around in a while. The very next day the convenience store clerk asked hubby if he was missing a Siamese cat. Sure enough, Mindy had hopped out of the truck at the convenience store, and after a day or so of her hanging out around the store, the clerk took her home with him. I went to his house and retrieved my cat. That cat got around!

  26. Poor Phoebe! The pic with her cute little face peeking through the crack of the door was so sad. She was being looked over for you to find her the way you did! I was feeling a little sick reading the beginning of your blog. I'm so glad that she is okay!

  27. That cat seriously has nine lives! Poor thing in that picture, soooo sad. I'm glad you called out her name!!

  28. Your kitty looks like mine. It's amazing how they could survive for so long with out food or water. Glad you found you cat.


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