Save the Cat: when bad luck turns to good

Save the Cat: when bad luck turns to good

Because I dunked my car’s cellphone charger in my cup of coffee, I saved a cat.

Really. It’s weird how life works sometimes, when you think you’ve done something so totally stupid and spend the next twenty-minutes lamenting, in that, Why do these episodes of idiocy only happen to me? tone of voice. And then, a little later, you learn the Why, and the reason makes you smile. For weeks.

So, I was rummaging through the console cubby hole in my car and I moved the charger out of the way, right into my open coffee mug. (Yeah, I know, but I’ve tried every sort of coffee lid (with the exception of sippy cups, which I save for Chardonnay) and they have this habit of turning into dribble glasses or the lid falls off completely creating horrific wardrobe malfunctions, and I’ve found a tall mug, half-full, works better, the aforementioned phone-charger-dunking incident notwithstanding.)

When I got home, I parked the car in my driveway, went inside and came back out with a plastic cup full of uncooked rice, hoping this moisture-absorbing miracle cure would work on my car’s charger as well. (It did!) But here’s where I get to my point, finally. If I hadn’t dunked my charger in my coffee, I never would have found Nutmeg.

As I walked back to my car, I saw what I thought at first was a large squirrel, or maybe a rabbit, duck into my neighbor’s bushes. When I got closer, I saw it was a cat. But not my neighbor’s cat. And I went to investigate.

She was not skittish at all, letting me approach, pet her and read her tag, which had her name and a phone number on it. I memorized the number, then went back inside to call. A woman answered the phone (brave lady! I never pick up if I don’t recognize the caller!)

“Hi,” I said, “My name is Kim Strickland and I just found a cat named Nutmeg underneath the –“

And the woman squealed, “Nutmeg!? You found Nutmeg?!” So I immediately went back outside to get this cat, lest she escape again. “Yeah, she’s right here.”

“How is she? Is she okay?”

“Yes, she seems fine.” I picked her up and brought her back to my house.

The woman, over the moon, and obviously talking to someone else, “She found Nutmeg! They found her! She’s okay!” She was in her car, five minutes away, she said, but she would come right over.

Not wanting to upset my dog or my two cats with the prospect of a new family member (ten years later, the dog’s still kinda pissed the cats are still here) not to mention poor Nutmeg, I kept her in the vestibule between the outside front door and our interior door. I brought her some water. Nutmeg’s face, when seeing it was only water, said, “Meh.” So I brought her some cat food. Nutmeg was one hungry kitty.

She looked just like my first cat, Charlie, a tabby, who in her old age and right after we’d moved into our new home, got out and disappeared for several days. Also during a September hot spell. After I put up signs, a neighbor one block north, found her under her porch. I will never forget the joy I felt at getting my cat back. I'd thought she was dead. I felt doomed to forever wonder what had happened to her.

Nutmeg’s Mom and her two daughters, four year-old twin girls (adorable!), pulled up in their van. They lived on the same block where my Charlie was found, twelve-years ago, when my twins were four.

“We thought she was dead!” Nutmeg had been missing for nearly a week in the heat.

They thanked me profusely, scooped up Nutmeg and left. I floated around that whole week, so thrilled I helped reunite this family with their lost pet. Twelve years later, I paid it forward. And I will be forever grateful I had the bad luck to dunk my phone charger in my coffee mug, because if I hadn’t done so, I don’t know who would’ve been there to save the cat.

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