Tiger is missing and a neighbor helps.
|“Tiiigerr. Here kitty, kitty.”
“Hey, Jane. Can’t find Tiger?”
“No, I’ve been calling and calling. He’s always home at suppertime.”
“I had the same problem with Blue Eyes one day last week, and you won’t believe what happened.”
“What, Betty? Tell me.”
“Well, I thought I heard her meow on the other side of the back fence, so I got my little step ladder to look over, and, yep, there she was. In a cage!”
“No kidding. What did you do?”
“I jumped in the car and went right over there and pounded on the front door of the house. This young girl came to the door, and I asked her if she knew she had my cat in a cage. She looked around me, saw Blue Eyes, and had the nerve to tell me she finally caught the little bastard who was tracking up her Beamer! I swear, Jane, I felt like choking that woman right there on the sidewalk!”
“Did you get Blue Eyes back?”
“Course I did. I walked over, took her out of the cage, got in my car and came home. You wouldn’t believe the nasty mouth on that girl. She said she got the cage from Animal Control, and Blue Eyes had better not come back in her yard again. I’m afraid to let her out now.”
“Geez, I hope that’s not what’s happened to Tiger.”
“Come around through the gate. I’ll get the ladder, and we’ll take a look.”
When Jane pushed open the gate, Betty was already on the ladder peering over the back fence.
“Nope. Looks like the cage is gone.”
“Wanna take a walk with me and see if we can find Tiger?”
Betty and Jane walked up and down the streets of their development, calling for the lost cat, but they did not have any luck. Tiger seemed to have vanished. Jane knocked on the front doors of people she knew, to inquire, but no one had seen her orangey-yellow tom.
“It’s getting dark. Maybe he’s come home while we’ve been looking for him.” Jane sounded optimistic but her gut told her otherwise.
When they returned home, no sign of Tiger confirmed her fears.
“Let’s go over there and ask.” Jane pointed at the cat-catcher’s house.
They drove over in Betty’s car and knocked on the door, but no one was at home. Back at her house, Jane called the shelter to see if anyone had brought in an orangey-yellow tom with a red collar on it. No answer there either. It was after hours and the message said they would not be open until nine the next morning.
“I’m not going to be able to get a wink’s sleep tonight, worrying about Tiger.”
“Well, let’s go over to the shelter. Maybe somebody will still be there.”
“Oh, Betty, do you think so?” Hoping Betty was right, Jane grabbed her purse, and the two of them took off, shelter-bound.
When they arrived, the inside of the main building was dark. They got out and walked around but found no one to ask about Tiger.
“I’ll come over in the morning. They wouldn’t do anything to a cat that has a collar, would they?”
“Nah. I’m sure he’ll be okay. We’d better get going.”
Jane and Betty rode back down the lane from the shelter to the main road. Turned away from Betty to hide her teary eyes, Jane noticed a dirt road to the right with a metal gate swung open on its hinges. She reached over and put her hand on Betty’s arm.
“Wait, Betty. Look. Maybe we can find somebody in there working late.”
Betty backed up and turned in at the gate. They drove down the dirt lane until they came to a long, low building with a door on the end standing open. They looked at each other, and Betty stopped. Getting out, they walked to the open door. Inside they saw stacks of rows of metal cages with cats inside them. Most turned their eyes toward Jane and Betty as they entered.
“Geez, what a bunch of cats. I had no idea the shelter had this many.” Jane looked around, then started looking closer. Several of the cats were orangey-yellow toms and resembled Tiger. She peered in as she went from one cage to another. Then she saw him. Tiger saw her first and pressed his little pink nose through the metal bars. He meowed as loud as he could. Jane had his cage open in two seconds. She wrapped her arms around him before she thought of what she was doing. By then, it was too late to let go.
“Hadn’t we better try to find somebody first, Jane. You’re not just going to take him, are you?”
“You’re darn right, I am. Let’s go.”
Jane and Betty ran to the car without looking back. Inside, Jane hugged and petted Tiger as he licked her face and purred loudly.
"I may go to jail, but it's worth it." Jane snuggled her face in Tiger's thick fur, certain now she would sleep well.