“I think I found your cat.”
There was a pause on the other end of the line, then a cautious, “Yes?”
I petted the friendly, orange-striped stranger who had made herself at home in my lap. “Burberry? She has a collar with this number on it. Is your cat missing?”
Again the pause. “Burberry. Yes, but she has been missing for over a year. We’d given up hope. Are you sure you have the right cat?”
“A red tabby with one white foot.”
“That’s her!” the woman shrieked. Then I heard her call to someone, “Danny! You won’t believe! Someone’s finally found our precious Burberry!”
Plans were made, numbers exchanged, and before I knew it, I was pulling up in front of a small southeast Portland bungalow with a carrier full of cat. I felt good. Finally after all the years of following lost cat websites, I’d found one right in my own back yard! I’m a cat lady myself, and though mine are all indoors, stuff happens. I sympathized with anyone whose cat went missing.
“Lynley Cannon,” I said to the elderly lady who had the door open before I’d pulled to a full stop. “And Burberry.”
“And I’m Fiona, Oh do come in. I’d like you to meet someone.”
She guided me to the living room where a lanky teenage boy sat slumped on the couch. He stood when he saw me.
“Danny, this is Lynley. See? She’s brought your Burberry back to you.”
Danny eyed me uncertainly, as if this might be some kind of trick.
“Here she is. Should I let her out now?” I asked as the silence began to stretch.
“Yes,” Danny whispered, coming a cautious step closer. “Please.”
I placed the carrier on the floor and unlatched the gate. Instantly the cat was out and sniffing the scents of her old home.
Burberry explored the room with the solemn intensity of her species. Finally she came to Danny who hadn’t moved a muscle. Abruptly he crouched and held out his hand. Without hesitation, the tabby leapt into his lap and begin smoothing her lush sideburns across his cheek.
“She certainly remembers you,” I said to the boy, but he was too busy hugging the affectionate cat to notice.
Fiona took my elbow and led me away. “Thank you so much, Lynley. You have done an amazing thing. Burberry is more than just a feline friend, she is a therapy cat. Danny has an anxiety disorder, and the only thing that helps when he has an episode is Burberry. It was devastating when she was lost. We were beginning to give up hope, think we should look for another to take her place, but Danny was dead set against it. Now I’m glad we waited.”
I looked back at the two on the living room floor. The cheerful scene brought tears to my eyes.
“I’d better get going and leave you to your reunion. I do suggest getting her checked by your vet. She seems healthy, but you never know after such a long time.”
“Oh, we will, first thing.”
I started down the front steps when Fiona called after me, “Hold on, Lynley. I have something for you.”
She disappeared for a moment, then came running back, a red heart-shaped box in her hand. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
I took the box of chocolates and thanked her. Once in my car, I tossed the box on the passenger seat. The fact that today was February fourteenth had totally slipped my mind.
“Cat Found” is a flash fiction story based on my Crazy Cat Lady cozy mystery series and its hero, cat shelter volunteer Lynley Cannon.