Recently, “And Just Like That” — the “Sex and the City” reboot — debuted. So many viewers were upset over the death of the character Mr. Big. (The actor Chris Noth is still alive and well, it was the character that was killed off).
Mr. Big died suddenly of a heart attack. Many of us who watch the show are in our 50s and know how precious life can change in an instant. During the pandemic, I’ve lost quite a few friends to death, but only one to Covid. My best male friend had a heart attack and died instantly just like Mr. Big. Life is so precious and we realize this more and more as we grow older. It’s wise to not take anything — ANYTHING — for granted because in a heartbeat it can all change.
For example, my happy little life with my husband. We are childless by choice, but have three beautiful cats. One of our favorite things to do is to just chill, listening to records in the living room surrounded by our kitties, who we call our “babies).
Saturday morning my husband, Dennis, woke me up saying, “I can’t find Nicholas.” Every day the three of them greet us. We feed them, then spend quality time with them before going about our day.
I said, “Maybe he doesn’t feel well and is hiding.” Cats do that. I had Happy Jack as a teenager. He was missing . My grandmother thought he got out and was lost in a snowstorm. We were terrified, but two days later, I found him hiding in a closet. He was A-OK. I also had a ferret who was gone for a day or so. I was worried sick. I thought she got out too, but she was just hiding.
But as time went on, we realized the devastating truth, he’s not in the house. How could this happen? He never wanted to go out before. The few times before that he got out (running past one of us when we opened the door) it was just to sniff the flowers, then he’d let us pick him up and take him back in. He had no interest in being outside. He loved us. Whenever we went away, he’d turn his back on us as we left the house with our travel gear. He always wanted to be groomed, pet, and snuggled. He was a big ‘ol mush. And we called him The Magic Cat because he was so smart. He did back flips in the air when we looped his fish toy. When Chewy packages came, he knew they were for him. He was much more appreciate of toys than the other two. So why would he sneak past us when we opened the door? It didn’t make sense. The only thing we could think of, there was a female cat lurking around our house. Even though Nicholas is fixed, he is still fascinated by other cats. When they are out there, he runs from window to window, even though he has two other kitty playmates in the house. That’s his nature.
Still – how could this happen to us? We tried not to beat ourselves up. It was an accident. Dennis looked at me and said, “And Just Like That…Nicholas was gone.” For the next day and a half, there were many tears.
I tried to give Nicholas a happy ending. I said, “He’s a smart cat. He’s just going on to his next adventure. He’s like Street Cat Bob. We had our time with him. Now he is moving on to something different.”
But Dennis thought the worst. That he got killed by a car or a coyote.
Not knowing was killing us. And we were thinking about cancelling Christmas. How could we celebrate? Losing a pet is tragic. Our hearts were broken to pieces.
Saturday I had quite a bit going on. I had my art class in the morning and later that afternoon I played a mom in a rap music video. My mind was elsewhere though, and two very creative, rewarding experiences are now just a cloudy memory. My mind was on Nicholas, as I just went through the motions. We looked all over the house and even drove around the neighborhood. Nothing. We called the cops. We called the local animal hospital. Nothing.
We had a sleepless night. The next morning I said, “I remember hearing that if you put a piece of clothing outside, the cat will smell your scent and come back.” We did that immediately. Then my husband spent three hours out in the cold searching for Nicholas. I posted his photos on a Facebook page that helps people find lost pets.
When my husband came back the second time, he just happened to look at the window and he screamed, “That’s him!! I just saw Nicholas!” He ran out the door. I saw him by the window motioning me to come out. “Put your jacket on and come outside!!”
I grabbed my jacket and slipped on my boots without even zippering them. I dashed out the door. Nicholas had run into a shed near our house. We got into the shed and there he was, peering out from us, hiding behind a box and mewing.
I went back to the house and got treats to entice him. The poor little thing was frightened. Dennis reached out to him and Nicholas snuggled his little head against my husband’s hand. “Come on, baby” we both said, gently. “Nicholas, it’s Mommy and Daddy.” And, “Nicholas is a good boy.” And, “Nicholas is beautiful. Nicholas is so handsome.” All the positive things we’ve always said to him, so the familiarity would comfort him. Sure enough it did. Dennis was able to grab him and bring him back home!
WELCOME HOME NICHOLAS!
When we got him in, he seemed confused. We gave him so much love and attention, within minutes he was purring loudly and was soon back to his happy little dumpling self, prancing around the house, tail up!
Our conclusion was, he got out Friday night while my husband took the garbage out. Perhaps something spooked him and he got lost and had a hard time finding his way back. Once we put the jacket outside, he found his way to the shed.
We got our baby back, and Christmas is on! In a matter of days, we’ve experienced The Nightmare Before Christmas and A Christmas Miracle.
Hug your pets today, and don’t ever take them for granted! Life can change in a split second.
Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: email@example.com.
She is the author of the following books:
“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary
“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You
Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: Love Cats