One year, in October when it was close to Halloween, disaster happened! Mema and Pepaw had just gotten back from a long weekend at the beach with Pepaw’s brother Fred and his wife, Jeanette. Pepaw opened the side door to the garage and they entered. Mema put her luggage down, picked up Sawdust and took her inside the house. Sneakers ran under the car parked in the garage. Pepaw let the garage door up so he could get their bags into the house easier, but didn’t bother to put it down again when all their stuff was inside. Mema told him that Sneakers could get out, but he didn’t think he would. Ha! Mema knew he had done it before. The next thing Mema knew, Pepaw had a flashlight looking for Sneakers under the car, but the cat wasn’t there or anywhere in the garage. Mema said he wasn’t in the house either. So everyone went outside to look for him. Apparently, Sneak had made his way to the back yard, but just when Pepaw was about to get to him, Bruno, our neighbor’s large collie, decided to trot over to see what was happening. This obviously did not set well with Sneakers and they saw him bolt and head into the woods next door which covered about ¾ acre.
While Pepaw was in the woods searching, Fred was hanging around also with a light. Mema got the food bowl to rattle to attract Sneakers with food and headed down the road towards Weavil Road. She spotted Sneak outside of the woods meowing rather pitifully, but just as Mema headed towards him, he took off down the road back towards the house. Okay, this was a good thing. He didn’t want Mema near him at first, but then he stopped and Mema was able to pick him up and drape him over her arm, still holding the food bowl in the other hand. Big mistake. Mema yelled triumphantly, “I have him!” She was approaching the house when Sneak got very heavy and Mema was losing her grip on him.
“Pepaw! Please help me before I drop him,” Mema pleaded. “Take the food bowl so I can get a better grip on Sneakers.”
Pepaw reached out to take the cat instead. Maybe Sneakers didn’t recognize Pepaw since it was very dark out by this time, but he started squirming very hard and the next thing Mema knew, he had scratched up her face with his back claws while trying to escape her grasp, bit Pepaw hard in the thumb and they both let go long enough for him to hightail it back into the woods. This was terrible! There’s nothing more difficult than trying to find a black cat that doesn’t want to be found in the woods in the dark!
The search was on again. Pepaw was back in the woods and Mema was trying to stay by the road in case he came out of the woods to keep him out of the street. There wasn’t much traffic, but there was some at this time so it was dangerous. After a while, almost at Weavil Road, Pepaw said he had found him. The only way he could see him was when the light shined on his eyes and they glowed! However, Sneak had found a very cozy hiding place in a spot thick with brush and we couldn’t get very close. Mema kept talking to him nicely, but when Mema tried to reach out and pet him, he hissed at her very menacingly! This was usually a very laid back kitty and they have never seen him hiss before in his whole life, but he was obviously very scared and didn’t want anyone near him at this point. So after a few hisses, Mema knew getting him was not going to be easy this time. Pepaw said he wanted to go back for some thick gloves which seemed like a real good idea, so Mema just kept her light on Sneak and talked to him trying to get him to calm down. Well, as soon as he heard Pepaw rustling the underbrush, he bolted! Mema never even saw him move, he was just gone again! It was back to the search.
Pepaw finally found him not too far away huddled next to a tree. He was behind Sneak, Fred was in front of him outside of the woods trying to distract him, and Mema was on one side. Pepaw was able to get closer and closer and finally got his hands on him. Mema quickly laid a towel down she had brought and they put the errant cat on it and wrapped him up inside it. Mema told Pepaw to just get him to the house while Mema picked up the flashlights, food bowl and sheet that he had left behind. Mema and Pepaw finally let him loose in the garage where Pepaw cleaned the brush off him and saw he was all right. As soon as Sneakers went into the house, he was just as sweet and loving as usual and they gave him lots of rubbing and attention. Mema felt that she was more traumatized than Sneakers was!
Mema put hydrogen peroxide on their wounds and hoped they didn’t have any ill effects. The cats were indoor cats and had all their shots, but there was still the chance of infection.
Mema told Pepaw never to leave the garage door open while Sneak was out there because he WOULD “sneak” out, true to his name. And he could be very fast when he wanted to be. This was just the first time Sneakers was lost in the woods.