Ever since he was born he was different from the rest of his siblings. He was far more courageous than they were, he always ventured out of their home to explore the surroundings. I was thinking of calling him Marco, after Marco Polo, but at the time I thought he was a girl. So I named him Pixie, and thank God it can fit either gender.
It turned out that the reason he was so brave and was always exploring farther away from home was the fact that he was totally deaf and was not scared by any noises. This lack of fear is good and bad. It intimidates enemies but could also place him in great danger.
Another unique aspect of Pixie’s makeup is the fact that he is the one exception that proves the rule. He has absolutely no sense of balance whatsoever. Twice, as a little kitten he fell off the ellipse opening I have on the first floor, down to the ground floor. Twice. Thank God he does have the knack of falling on his feet and not being injured.
When he and his siblings matured I took him and Spicy and had them neutered. Not only was it a precautionary measure so as not to be overrun by cats in a couple of years, but also because I found out that neutered and spayed animals enjoy much better health than those left to produce. When neutered at an early age they do not suffer obesity as a side effect.
Being neutered had not affect his behavior in any way except this one urge to mate. Otherwise he is still as playful, as full of mischief and as naughty as ever. He was always fascinated by the television and would sit there for hours trying to catch the people inside the screen. He would even spend hours sitting uncomfortably on the very thin edge of the top of the flat screen!
Although he cannot hear yet somehow he knows when I pour in their dry food every morning. That is how I discovered that something was wrong, when last Wednesday he did not show up for breakfast. But I was having guests that day and thought he might have eaten late and wasn’t hungry. The food was there and he could get to it any time he felt like it.
I had not noticed his absence all day as my guest came with her dog and we spent the day in the garden with the dogs, so it was a dog day not a cat day at all. It was lovely, quite hectic but a lot of fun. My friend brought lunch and we gorged ourselves, then had a really satisfying long talk on the terrace upstairs after lunch till it was time for her to go.
After she left I went looking for Pixie. I looked into all his haunts. Nothing. I cannot call because he won’t hear me. I called the gardeners and told them he was missing and to look in the garden. They did. Nothing. I asked them to look in the surrounding area outside the garden. Still nothing. I told them to keep an eye out for him, he might be hiding somewhere in the garden and will probably appear early in the morning, so they should try to get him to come into the house.
A couple of times previously he had spent the night on the terrace and ended up in the garden. I surmised that his lack of balance had been at the root of it. He would lose his balance, fall off the terrace on the first floor, land on the awning of the ground floor then jump down into the garden. Every time he did that we just left either the terrace doors open downstairs or he came in through the front door.
But this time it was different. He was nowhere at all. He completely disappeared with not a trace anywhere. I kept sending the gardeners on several walks-through in the entire neighborhood looking for him. Not a glimpse.
That was the time when the curse of an active imagination could lead you to all sorts of worries. I kept imagining him being run over by a car which he did not hear coming down at him. I pictured him hungry and desperate then eating something that would be poisonous and writhing in pain till he died a horrible death and I would not know about it. I pictured him being torn to shreds by a pack of large dogs intent on harming him. The images and different ways of torture and death that I imagined him going through kept me awake for two nights.
Friday evening one of the gardeners called to say that Pixie was sitting on the compressor of one of the air conditioning units in the side garden. Such a relief! He was alive and well.
And then started to great chase. He really gave the gardeners a run for their money. They kept chasing him from one end of the garden to the other, all around the house, and still he would not come in. Finally around midnight I told them to let him be. He was ok and he will come in when he wants to come in. So we turned in and I had them lock the house door from the outside and keep the key just in case they needed to open it early in the morning before I was up.
True to form Pixie was out there at 5 am trying to get in. The merry-go-round started again and we were chasing him all over the garden and had all the doors and windows of the ground floor open to try to lure him in. I even placed a bowl of food on the ledge of the kitchen window and left it open. He jumped up there, did not look at the food and just sat on the ledge. When I approached him he ran away to the far end of the garden. It was then that I decided to let him be. If he wanted to come in he will, but no amount of chasing or coaxing will convince him. It was up to him.
So we shut the doors and windows and I let the dogs out to the garden and I went and sat on the terrace with my breakfast. Within ten minutes I found Pixie calmly strolling in, rubbing himself against my legs, as though nothing had happened. I thought he might be hungry so took him to the food, but all he wanted was for me to pet him. That was all I wanted too. So I picked him up, gave him a hug and rubbed his head the way he likes. For once he tolerated that for a few minutes before struggling to get free. I let him go after having satisfied my longing for him, which was very strong all the days of his absence. As I write, he is now back sleeping in his favorite spot on top of the mantle shelf of the fireplace under the lamp. My Pixie is safe and sound and back in the house and all’s well with my world.
11 Oct. 2014