I Believe You've Lost a Cat

Submitted into Contest #30 in response to: Write a story about someone who loses their cat.... view prompt



“Where is Chester?” Meg sighed in frustration; she hadn’t seen him in days. Meg loved how he could smooch - and purr his whiskers off. She liked everything about him from his silken, grey fur to his hot, fishy breath. He would follow her around and weave his way between her ankles. Each night he slept on her bed and in winter would curl into the small of her back. They kept each other warm by mutual agreement.

Then, in mid-summer, Chester disappeared.  Why?  thought Meg. Was he feeling the heat? Milk turned sour in the saucer? 

She didn’t sit idly by hoping he’d return. Far from it. Meg posted lost cat messages on the internet, on all the popular ‘missing pet’ sites. And on A4 sheets on local lampposts. Someone must have seen him. In the evenings, after the office, she patrolled the neighborhood making the squeaky, mewing sounds he was familiar with. Each time she called his name, dogs barked in the still summer air and people wandered out to see what all the calamity was about. Some offered sympathy.

Eight nights passed but there was still no sign of Chester. Then one balmy evening, just as the sun was going down again on Meg’s hopes, someone rang her doorbell. She switched on the porch light and was surprised to see a young man in navy tee shirt and jeans.  Meg recognized him as a guest from a recent family gathering. Her heart began to beat faster. She hoped he couldn’t hear it, didn’t want to appear too keen.

He grinned. “Hi. Meg isn’t it? We met at the McKenzie reunion?”

“Did we?” There was an awkward silence then she continued. “Oh yes, maybe we did.” 

He introduced himself as David and looked towards his car. “I…..believe you’ve lost a cat?”

“Have you found him?”

“Maybe. He’s on the back seat. Come and look.”

Meg followed him down the path and soon found herself staring into a cat cage at a creature bearing no resemblance to Chester in shape, size or color. But from her mouth these words blurted. “Yes, that’s him. Where did you find him?”

“Um, er.….. just a few blocks away.” He carried the wire cage full of cat into the house and placed it on the rug on the living room floor.

Meg thanked him, then he settled on the sofa, saying, “Aren’t you going to let him out?”

“No, not yet.”

 The cat’s yellow-eyed gaze reminded her of a prowling lion she’d once backed away from at the zoo. If she opened the cage door, she feared the creature might attack her or bolt and make it obvious they were strangers. She’d dug herself into this situation and didn’t quite know how to get out. Meg left the room to give herself time to think.

When she returned she placed a few salmon-flavored cat biscuits on the cage floor.  ”Here puss, I have missed you.” She turned to David. “They’re his favorite treats.”

“Are they? He’s not eating them. Let him out.”

“No. Not a good idea. Been gone eight days, might be traumatized.”

David leaned forward. “How long have you owned him?”

“18 months.”

“Bullshit,” said David, taking Meg by surprise. He laughed and stretched out both of his long legs, one of which connected with the cage.

Hissing, the cat arched its back then flailed about hitting the sides of the cage in the process. The door burst open and the cat bolted into Meg’s bedroom. She followed and witnessed him take a spectacular leap and land in the middle of her bed. Light from the overhead globe shone onto pillows and sheets and over the animal’s motley fur. Meg grit her teeth and grabbed the cat’s striped tail. It wasn’t soft like Chester’s but wiry and harsh in her fingers.

“You need to use some backbone with this one,” said David suddenly appearing. He lifted the cat and, holding it away from himself so it couldn’t scratch or bite him, carried it from the room.

Meg bit her lip. He knows the creature’s not mine, she thought. As she turned, she caught a glimpse of herself in the bedroom mirror.  Her cheeks had turned a bright shade of coral. Great she thought. I look like a flaming flamingo.

In the living room, she stood watching David lock the cat in the cage, then mumbled apologetically, “I have a confession. About this cat. It’s not mi--”

“I know.”


“Because he’s mine.” 


David shook his head then strode towards the door with the mewing cat. He stepped outside.  

Meg followed as he hurried down the path.  “Not so fast. I need to know what’s going on.”

“You tell me.”

“What? You’re the one who turned up here pretending your cat was mine. Are you crazy or something?”

He stopped at the car and didn’t make eye contact with her. “I just wanted to see you again, okay?  We hardly spoke at the reunion. You were with someone.”

“My brother yeah. We were organizing stuff. No time to socialize. Oh never mind. Who are you anyway? A cousin, in law or--”

           “No relation. More of an outlaw. Anyway, my plan backfired because actually—I didn’t expect you to say it was your cat. Why did you?”

“Dunno, it just happened.”

David set the cage on the back seat of the Honda, then turned to Meg.   “Hope Chester turns up. But right now I’d better get Lust outa here.”


“ Him, my cat.”

 “You’re not serious?”

“Yep. Want to know why he’s called that?”

She rolled her eyes. “I can probably guess.”

“It’s not what you’re thinking but quite a story. Could tell you over a long lunch. This weekend? You interested?”

She said nothing, raised her eyebrows. 

But before he drove away they did exchange phone numbers. And eventually, as Meg allowed Lust into her life, she started to forget all about Chester.


the end


February 22, 2020 09:56

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