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CAT IN THE RAIN: Our family cat, missing in the storms

Will her 9 lives kick in, once again?
 
COLUMBIA, 4/23/13 (Op Ed) -- Ernest Hemingway wrote a famous short story called "Cat in the Rain", filled with symbols and double meanings.
 
It's about a forlorn American wife on vacation in Italy, who while looking through the gloomy windows of her hotel room for some vague fulfillment beyond, spots a cat huddled under an outdoor table dripping in the rain. She determines to save the cat -- and herself.

Last week, I spent much of a day hoping to save our cat Georgia, who woke me up with strange groaning sounds early in the morning; threw up on a rug; and then asked, with an urgent meow, to go outside.  The rain was still hours away. I opened the door and with a furtive glance in the porch light, she looked at me and ran into the darkness.
 
But where she always returns in an hour or two, 12, 13, 14 hours passed with nary a sighting. "Here kitty kitty kitty!" I've been calling. My wife's been calling. My daughter's been calling. We even resorted to her favorite call, "Tooooona Treat!" which is invariably followed by a small can of tuna, a special treat.
 
No Georgia. Had she gone outside to never return? Had she gone outside to die?
 
Storms, hail, tornado watches, and weathercasters Justin and Sharon and Dave and Hannah, driving through the driving downpour, were no comfort. "Get to a safe shelter. Golf ball sized hail spotted...The storm front is moving through...."
 
"Could be the weather event of 2013." Tell that to my cat.
 
Readers might recall Georgia has already had a scary brush with death. She accidentally ingested arsenic from ant poison when she was a kitten. Arsenic is probably the deadliest poison to cats. We learned that the hard way.
 
But she survived, hopping onto my computer keyboard and purring after a stay at the Mizzou vet hospital, where staff and students performed a pet med miracle.
 
The long stairs up to my office creak when anyone -- human or cat -- ascends. I'm hearing a creak now, with no children running up, and my wife downstairs. It's a familiar soft creak, so I ask: "Georgia?"
 
She answers with a meow, peering around my door. "I've missed you so much! That's my girl," I say. The storms had brought her home! As the torrents of spring subsided, the cat in the rain appeared, my wife said, at our back door like she always does, 16 hours past due.
 
Georgia has seven lives left by my count. I hope she spends them well.
 
 

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