As you know, I last saw Garfield on October 14, 2011 at 7:05 PM. She had disappeared before I got back with the pizza and beer, at exactly 7:55 PM. I looked for her everywhere I went for a week, and asked whoever I saw about her.
One neighbor, a particular hard to understand neighbor, said he saw a calico cat just like the one who follows me around everywhere dead on the street. I was suspicious because he was sure it had been early morning on a Monday or Tuesday a good week previous, maybe longer. The problem was, of course, that Garfield had not yet been gone a week.
By that time, I had already placed an ad in the paper for the following Thursday. The Idaho Enterprise only prints once a week and it's delivered every Thursday. So, my ad first appeared on October 27, 2011, and will run for three weeks.
But, I had a better plan. The Saturday before Halloween I invested ten dollars in 100 posters offering a $100 dollars reward. For Halloween, I taped the candy to the posters and every trick-or-treeter got one. Seventy, exactly.
When I went into the grocery store on Tuesday, I was told that every box-boy was going to canvas the town for Garfield to claim that hundred bucks. Jerry told me that he's been looking at every cat he sees. I thanked him.
I was convinced that someone had her, and that someone else would know.
The first week she was gone was the worst. I was a blubbering fool. The slightest thing sent me into tears. I thought, 'good grief, take away my cat, and I'm a stereotypical pregnant woman'.
So, today, at roughly 6:05, give or take about five minutes, I walk outside and there she is, by my pickup truck! Meowing as loud as she could at me, with her tail so high. When I got her, she snuggled into me and I took her in to feed her.
She is so skinny. Literally, nothing but skin, fur, and bones. She's been starved this whole time! It could be a miracle she's still alive, and another if she can get her health back. She has a fragrance to her, honestly, it smells sweet and reminds me of maple syrup. On further thought, It may be a new car smell. I think she must have been stuck in somebody's house, or car. And, her voice is very hoarse. Wherever she was, she had been crying out as loud as she could.
She was gone nearly 24 hours shy of three weeks! I think she may have gone into some kind of a hibernation state. She is clean, not like she would be if she had been roaming the town and sleeping in weeds. But her belly fur is all matted as though she was laying still and conserving energy to stay warm. I don't know, of course, I'm just trying to speculate what would explain the facts.
The best fact is, she's definitely glad to be home. She purrs so loud when I talk to her, and/or pet her. And, of course I am the happiest camper tonight, on the whole world.