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The Cat Came Back

My family spent last Labor Day weekend at our Deep Creek Lake, MD, home. As usual, we brought the dogs; but our sole remaining cat, Skinny, stayed at home. At 21, she's getting a bit old to travel. She lost her teeth several years ago due to the malnutrition she suffered as a kitten. My son Wes -- the Patron Saint of Homeless Cats -- found the poor emaciated kitten when she was about to take her last breath. He insisted that we summon the vet on his day off, and Skinny's life was saved. She really was skinny until she lost her teeth, and we had to feed her moist cat food twice a day. Then she actually became a bit pudgy.

Anyway . . . she's accustomed to amusing herself when we're gone. Our neighbor drops by every day to feed her, and she is able to come and go through the dog door. She was just outside the door when we left for Deep Creek. But for the first time, when we returned from our lakeside holiday, Skinny was not there to meet us. I figured that she had known it was her time, and she had wandered off to die, as cats are inclined to do. Jim, however, said she might show up, and he insisted on keeping all of the cat supplies in place.

Nearly two weeks later, I set off for Deep Creek to prepare for class. No sign of Skinny. But when I called Jim to tell him I had arrived in Maryland, he couldn't wait to say, "Guess who showed up?" You guessed it: Skinny was back . . . about a pound lighter, but otherwise in good shape. The whole rest of the day, the old Kingston Trio folk song "The Cat Came Back" kept running through my head.

According to Guinness, the world's oldest cat is 34. So who knows how long she'll be around! Here's Skinny, taking it easy.