That’s one cool cat, man

Published 10:59 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Last October our household acquired a kitten because I wouldn’t let Daughter No. 2 have a dog. It seemed like a good compromise at the time, but I forgot about the pampering such a fragile thing requires. For a while he/she (the jury was out) would have to be protected from our larger cat and even larger Lab, whose jawline had proven fatal to felines in the past. Thus the garage became Animal Kingdom.

Confined quarters didn’t suit Scout, though. He would attempt escape whenever an open door provided the opportunity, including one afternoon my husband was working in the garage/Animal Kingdom, and I was in and out, too, grabbing things from our extra fridge.

Six o’clock rolled around, and it was time for us to leave to have dinner with friends. Scout was nowhere to be found. Daughter No. 2 fretted throughout the evening, and by the time we returned, I was concerned enough to interrogate the dog and search the flower beds for clues to Scout’s whereabouts. My husband tried a different approach – meowing. Smart guy, that husband of mine. Before long he was hearing some very weak “meows” in response, coming from somewhere in the garage.

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“Check behind the freezer,” he directed, moving to find a flashlight. I craned my ear in that direction.

“Sounds more like he’s over here,” I motioned, pointing to a bank of shelves. We searched hard, but no cat. Suddenly I had a crazy thought. “Surely not,” I said out loud, walking over to the one door I’d never considered as a potential escape exit.

But with a quick tug, the refrigerator opened – and out came Scout, none the worse for the wear. One life down. Eight to go.

A few weeks passed, and Scout made a smooth transition to the great outdoors. That’s why I didn’t think much of it the morning he was reported missing again. We had relatives to meet for lunch at Porches. We’d worry about the kitten later, I assured my daughter.


Our bowls of turnip green soup had hardly hit the table when I heard a commotion and turned to see my three nieces pointing wide-eyed at a blur darting across the aisle.

“Wow, a cat,” I thought to myself, once the object of our attention decided to pause beneath the hem of a linen tablecloth in the corner. Something made me get up from my chair for a better view, though. That’s when my daughter looked at me, and I looked at her.

Surely not, we shook our heads. How . . . ?

Make that seven lives.

Over bread pudding we had fun piecing together probable explanations of how Scout managed to join us for lunch, but it later occurred to me that his survival in a frost-free fridge and Highway 51 traffic was really nothing in comparison to all the ways God has probably protected me and mine in the past year. A tree that didn’t fall on the house? A four-car pileup we avoided? A purse that wasn’t snatched?.

We may never know any more about such matters than we do of how our cat hitchhiked 10 miles to town, but lack of knowledge doesn’t negate them, those countless graces of God.

Four days after Scout’s adventure at Porches, we were driving back from spending Thanksgiving with our favorite Marine when we received sad news. It seems that some sayings hold true (about curiosity and the cat) and others do not (regarding nine lives).

That’s why a column that began light-hearted is ending as an elegy – and a good reminder. We would do well to be thankful for unknown graces.


Wesson resident Kim Henderson is a freelance writer who writes for The Daily Leader. Contact her at