January 31, 2003 - 11:46 am
About 5 years ago, Gus snuck out the back door which hadn’t closed all the way. He was always looking for adventure, and once escaped he was loath to return to the drudgery of everyday life.
For the first couple of days, he hung out near the house. I’d see him sunning in the flowerbed or lurking under the porch stairs. Every time I’d go out to get him, he’d zip away even further. We figured that he’d eventually get hungry and decide that his adventure was over, so we left food in the half-open garage for him and started to wait him out.
Only the food didn’t get eaten. He’d wandered far afield, and we saw neither hide nor hair of him for a couple of days. I was beside myself – he was a Gus, he didn’t know what to do if a car was coming, and the only dogs he knew about were the ones who liked kitties. I made flyers and carefully sealed them in plastic so they wouldn’t wilt in the rain, and I stapled about 50 of them on various telephone poles all around the neighborhood. I told all the kids I saw to look out for the Siamese kitty. I met all my neighbors that week, knocking on their doors and asking if they had seen him. The one nice lady across the street didn’t speak any English, so I tried to tell her the best I could in my mangled Spanish about what Gus looked like. An hour or so later she came whooping and yelling across the street, saying that the cat was in her back yard. It was not Gus, but rather another male Siamese bluepoint, oddly enough.
After about a week I had pretty much given up hope. I didn’t think the little guy could survive that long on his own. There were no leads, no knocks on the door, no calls about the posters. In my heart I was sure he was dead, and I mentally started the long emotional process of saying goodbye.
One night Hub took me out to dinner to try to get my mind off things, and on the way home he said “Let’s just drive slow on the way home, one last time, and look.” So we did, and I looked and saw nothing. Hub saw a flicker of grey in a little culvert on the side of the road, a couple of blocks from our house. We pulled over, shone lights around, and saw… Gus – skinny, wet, cold, but absolutely full of beans. This time he didn’t run from me, but stayed still as I approached and let me pick him up.
We brought him home and he pissed in the cat box for about 4 minutes straight. A fastidious creature, he probably disliked squatting in the dirt like a dog. A quick bath and about a gallon of food and water later, and it was like it never happened.
This morning, Gus went on his last adventure. As the vet was going to get him to do bloodwork, Gus let out a little gasp and fell over dead, peacefully and naturally. I have a spot picked out for him in the back yard, where the blue jays fly thick and the sun warms the grass.
Farewell, kitty, Augustus Asparagus the Only, 1990-2003, velvet-pawed monkey overseer coversnuggle purrman.