As we drive down the road with our pristine print out of MapQuest sitting beside us unlooked at, we wonder “where am I?” Our second thought is usually, “how did I get here?” It never occurs to us to actually READ the thing we printed out. We briefly think to ourselves, should we ask for directions, but that thought disappears as quickly as the life of the bug that just hit our windshield. We are lost and we will never admit it. We would rather drive around 45 minutes to get to a place 15 minutes away before asking for direction. After all, if a butterfly can find its way from North America to its home thousands of miles away in South America, we certainly can find our destination only 10 miles away. I’m willing to bet the butterfly asked for directions.
I grew up hearing fantastic stories about how pets were lost miles away and found their way home. A cat with three legs lost in the desert hundreds of miles away was found meowing at the grief stricken owner’s door two weeks later. A dog in the middle of a bitter break up was taking by the ex who moved out of state only to find its way home to the side he really loved. Then there’s my pet, the indoor cat that escaped and couldn’t find his way out of a box if I drew it on the floor.
With two weeks of food and a water supply to support a small community, we left the cats for their first weekend alone. Out the drive way and down the street is as far as we got before we made our u-turn back home to open a couple of windows so the animals could have fresh air over the weekend. I just didn’t know how much fresh air one of them was actually going to get. With windows open we head back to the fully packed car, my one bag and the other ten that are not, and we head off to Vegas baby.
After a great weekend and long exhausting drive we pull up back home and there is the front window open as we left it and the screen with a big hole not as we left it. A quick search of the house and one cat, Bull, was located. The other cat, Rock, was nowhere to be found. With bags left on the porch and treat cans in hand we head off to search for the missing cat.
We lived on 3rd street inside a mobile home park. Rock couldn’t have gotten far. A plan is drawn to choose who will search where and off to 2nd and 1st street I go. Four mobile homes in on the left side of 1st street Rock is found lying on the porch of an unoccupied mobile home, it’s the same location as our home just two streets over. I call out his name, give the treat can a shake and the cat follows me home like a dog. I explain that the cat was found in the same lot we are in just two streets over and am told the cat takes after me. I’m sure it was a complement.
Another year goes by before the cats are left alone again for the weekend. No windows were left open this time. Upon returning home we find the front window open about half a foot, the replaced screen with a big hole in it and one missing cat. The window he escaped through wouldn’t latch and he figured out how to slide it open, too bad he couldn’t figure out how to get home. With battle plans drawn I head off to 2nd and 1st street again. There’s Rock, same place as before.
Eventually someone moved into the place on 1st street and every time we left for 2 days I would go and warn them they may be visited…and a couple of times they were.
I’ll never understand how salmon can find the correct stream to swim up or how migrating birds know where to go. I ask myself why do some people know distinctly were to go and others couldn’t find their neighbors house. Why can a cat lost in the desert find its way home and if mine blinks he’s lost. I don’t know. Until then though, I will continue to add an extra hour to my travel time.