No animals were harmed in the telling of this story. I may have gotten my shoes wet, though.
The family cat was named Jasmin—with no “e”—by my daughter Teresa, who was nine years old at the time. That was about fifteen years ago. My then-seven-year-old son had the privilege of naming the family dog, whom we acquired only days later. He chose the name Rocky for the dog. Before long we were calling the cat Jazzy. We’re a musical family, so the whole thing seemed to fit. We lost Rocky a year ago, but Jazzy has carried on bravely without her baby brother. I’ll swear they never realized they weren’t the same type of animal.
Earlier this year we acquired Leia, a black Labrador/German Shepherd mix, and there was no question in Jasmin’s mind that they were not the same type of animal. She was quite indignant over having to share the same household with this mischievous bundle of energy, who quickly grew to become many times the cat’s size. They get along better now, after months of close supervision and counseling, but I think the cat still carries a grudge.
Jasmin is an older cat now. She doesn’t run quite as fast or jump quite as high as she used to. Believe me, I can relate. But every so often, she still likes to show everyone who’s boss by zipping down into the basement the instant somebody opens the door at the top of the stairs or, as she did today, by shooting out of the house when somebody opens the sliding door to let Leia in or out. It must seem like great sport to her, lurking in the shadows until the door slides open and then waiting until nobody is looking in her direction. Then suddenly this black and white blur passes from somewhere within the kitchen through the door and across the back deck, without ever actually touching the floor beneath her paws.
I had just left work and had intended to run a few errands on my way home, when I got the news from Karen, my wife.
“Jasmin got out and I can’t find her. I think she’s under the deck.”
Now bear in mind, Jazzy has always been an indoor cat, who usually goes outside under supervision, and on those occasions when she does sneak out, she doesn’t stay out long. But I could tell by Karen’s tone, this was different.
“Please keep me posted. I’ll come straight home if I don’t hear from you by the time I get down there.” So who was I to make plans. The ride home would take almost an hour. Every so often I would get an update.
“I might have heard her meow but no sighting yet.”
“Too hot out. Can’t breathe. Am inside.”
“Just come home.”
I hadn’t known it at the time, but the cat had already been outside for over two hours in the 90+ degree heat. My wife, who herself could not tolerate being out in the sun on such a warm day, called to the cat from just inside the air conditioned house. Jasmin was not reappearing as usual, and Karen was growing worried, something she does neither often nor well.
I arrived at home and parked in the street. No sign of the cat. I went inside to find Karen siting near the sliding glass door and calling to the cat. Her face and neck were still glowing pink, from having tried to stay outside in the heat, and she seemed to be growing more agitated by the minute.
I walked around the house—no cat. I walked around the block—no cat. Returning to our back yard, I brought Leia out with me and inquired, “Where’s Jazzy?” After a brief pause, the dog proceeded to show me everywhere the cat had been—beneath the pine tree, over by the hole in the fence leading to Mickey the Bull Terrier’s yard, etc. No cat.
At that point, I suspected that, as Karen had suggested, Jasmin was nearby, probably beneath our deck. I went and drew out a substantial length of garden hose, attached my watering wand, set it to “mist” and began watering the surface of the deck, such that water would begin dripping down between the planks. Again at Karen’s suggestion, I watered from the house forward. Within minutes, Jasmin stepped out from beneath the opposite end of the deck, still quite dry, but not moving very quickly or looking very sure of herself. At that point Karen scooped Jazzy up and, while I opened the sliding door, carried her into the air conditioned comfort of our home.
Whether out of indignation, fatigue, heat exhaustion, or some combination of the above, Jazzy did not want a treat, nor did she wish to be held, cuddled or fussed over. She did take rather quickly to a bowl of fresh cold water I had drawn—and over the course of several visits to the bowl, drank a fair amount of cool water. Eventually she became more like her old self. She even invited herself to help Karen eat a tuna sandwich.
And so ends the incident known as Jasmin’s Great Escape. Thanks for hanging with me.