New cat (owner) in crisis

Simba wandered into Lisa's yard about a month ago. Looking like a tiny, fluffy tiger, this stray kitten knew a sucker when he saw one, and immediately he batted the lashes over his golden eyes and brushed against her leg.

Pretty soon, she was leaving food out for him. He'd eat and then take a nap in her flower pot.

A few days after that, Lisa announced, "I'm naming the kitten Simba."

Our mutual friend Gail and I made bets as to how long it would be before Simba was sleeping in Lisa's bed.

Faster than you can say "Lisa is wrapped around Simba's little furry paw," the cat was an official "indoor" cat, living the cushy life of canned cat food and air conditioning.

A few days after that, little Simba was comfortable enough to go on his first adventure inside the house. He found some cozy little nook and maneuvered his teeny body out of sight. If Lisa had looked close enough, she probably could have spied yellow eyes peering at her from high in the rafters or low, beneath the couch.

Instead, she panicked.

We were chatting online when Lisa started to panic.

"This cat is really missing!" she typed.

Gail and I - both owners of multiple examples of felinus painintheneckmus - tried to comfort her. "I really don't think the cat is missing," Gail said. "I've been late for work because I couldn't find one of the cats."

"Lisa, I almost missed my college graduation ceremony because my cat Simon was hiding," I added. "The little snot was in the house the whole time."

But Lisa wasn't convinced. She had walked around the house, shaking the box of dry cat food and wafting an open can of delectable stinky food. And neither had produced a kitten.

"What if he's stuck somewhere?" she worried.

I tried to explain. "Lisa, cats don't get stuck. Cats, however, have the ability to turn invisible. I'm sure that's what happened. That cat is hiding somewhere, watching you and laughing his furry little butt off.

"Put his canned food on plates around the house, and just sit down and relax for a bit," I advised. "Don't call him, don't look for him. Cats know when you're worried. They love that!

"You are his entertainment, Lisa. Don't be his puppet!"

Lisa disappeared from our chat for awhile. While she was gone, Gail and I gently picked on our friend.

"What a rookie," I said, and Gail agreed.

After another half hour of tearful searching, Lisa came back to our chat to report that His Royal Catness had suddenly reappeared, as if nothing had ever happened.

He was exhausted, however, from his nine-hour adventure - most of which, I'm sure, he spent sleeping. Since Simba tends to run her ragged, Lisa has learned that, when that little kitten sleeps, she should as well. So she decided to take her little bundle of fluff and go to bed.

"It's so amazing the responsibility one has when owning a kitten," Lisa gushed. "I love him so much."

She left our chat room and Gail and I gave virtual shakes of our heads.

"Wrapped right around his little furry paw," Gail said.

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