We rescued him. Readers named him. I plan to feature him soon in my next novel, incorporating an incredible journey. Unfortunately, Mel keeps the pictures of him in his computer and he’s at work, so I can’t show you our cat in striped pajamas right now.
The rescue of PJ happened nine years ago when he came in from the cold and asked for a home. We gave it to him. Because of PJ (short for Pajamas) and our other interesting felines over the years, I’ve gained an insight into cat behavior. When I started including these characters in our books the readers loved them. I think some of our former neighbors probably joked about me being the cat lady because we’ve rescued and neutered ten cats in the past ten years. Do they ever have different personalities! One was bossy, one was exhaustively loving, one was happy in his own skin, one loved to play in the snow, others hated getting wet. One loved to try to take a bath in our Jacuzzi tub. Many were old and had apparently been abandoned. It broke my heart, but they found a home with us.
So begins the incredible journey: Last week we moved 850 miles from where we used to live in the Missouri Ozarks. Halfway there, PJ, who looks like a white cat almost completely covered in dark gray striped pajamas, the great escape artist, escaped from his carrier while I was driving the car and Mel was driving the Uhaul. PJ climbed over the seat and peered into Data’s carrier in the seat beside me, then crawled to the floorboard, jumped onto my lap, peered with fascination at the traffic passing us, then freaked and tried to hit the floorboard beneath my feet.
I grabbed and held him until I could find an exit from I-29 in extreme northwestern Missouri. Once stopped, I climbed out of the car to place him back in his carrier. He escaped. He’s not accustomed to the loud noise of traffic on an interstate highway, so he took one look at speeding semi trucks and plunged into chest-high grass, into a thick forest, and disappeared from sight.
We called and called for him, waited for him to return, and then went for help. Now PJ is well-known on the St. Joseph Craigslist as well as FindMyDoggie.com and other rescue loops. One wonderful angel who lives nearby read about him on the Facebook page of a writing friend of ours, Kim Sawyer. Kim loves cats, too (and she’s a wonderful novelist so I highly recommend her books.)
That wonderful woman, Karen, has been taking food and water to the place where we last saw PJ, eleven miles south of Mound City, MO. How kind is that? A stranger trying to help us care for our lost cat.
We will not give up the search for our cat. And now, neither will Molly Gilbert, one of our favorite characters in our latest series, who also rescues cats, dogs, a miniature horse, a goat, and who knows what next? I have all these ideas spinning through my head and I can’t wait to get started on that book. I hope our ending for PJ will be as happy as the ending I have planned for Molly Gilbert and her beloved pets.
If you think about it, would you please say a quick prayer for PJ? He has a lot more novels to inspire, and his adoptive brother, Data, is lost without him.