The Chronicles of Mingo

Mingo’s Back, Or, Miracles Are Exhausting

Boulder Creek Veterinary Hospital called at 10:20 this morning. A stray cat had been found (I thought they were looking to place it) and then she said, “We scanned him and found a chip. It’s Mingo.”

I cried. I had hysterics. The worst thing, the absolute worse thing, about Mingo disappearing was the uncertainty. Was he dead, hurt, in pain, trapped, hungry? Was he lost and frightened? Closure is such an overused word, but that’s what I was missing and I couldn’t move on. I’d drive into town and look for him by the side of the road. Somewhere.

He disappeared on June 27, 2018. One year and seven months ago. Surely he was dead, no matter what had happened it was over. And then they called. I found out later they’d recognized him, with disbelief (“Oh, it can’t be. It’s been too long.”), and then there was a bit of competition over who got to call me.

He’d showed up a week ago at a house no more than two miles away, hungry. The nice lady (whose name I didn’t get, sorry, I was in shock), had fed him and enticed him into her garage. When she had a few hours she took him to the vet in case he had a chip.

There he was, skinny, full of fleas and ticks, fur matted, and he’d pooped in the carrier so he smelled horrible. Did he recognized me? I’d have to say No, there wasn’t a Disney moment. But he was calm, with all these strange people, and he accepted being petted, having the worst mats removed, de-ticked, and combed. They’d wanted to bathe him but he tried to go out the window, so we settled for chem wipes and combing.

He got all his shots, wormed, flea med, and there was an awful wait for the feline leukemia test result, which thanks be was negative. Then I took him home.

All I thought, all this morning and through the afternoon, was: This isn’t real. This doesn’t happen. I’d fantasized about just such a call and then it happened. In my experience, it doesn’t. Hollywood moments don’t.

Apparently, they do. I’m incredibly grateful to the nice lady, to the vet’s, to the universe whose mysterious dice roll came up double sixes, and to whoever fed and cared for him for the last nineteen months. He’s in too good condition to have been outside all this time, but we may never know who or where.

He’s still Mingo. He’s in my back bedroom asleep after eating three bowls of cat food and my entire house smells of Male Cat Spray. Who could have done that? (Rhetorical) Squeaky, my elderly black cat, smelled my hand, gave me a horrified look, and hid under the bed all afternoon. Sophie the Tiny Cat has been either under my bedspread or in the closet — she’s not eating. Adjustments are in order all around; the next few days are going to be interesting.

And no, I’m not letting him outside. I’ve already talked to the contractor about building a large catio. This may take a week or more, so I expect a mighty battle with Ming the Merciless for dominance, space, and whatever I happen to have in my hand at any time. Remember, this is a cat who tried to climb into a hot oven.

I’m exhausted. Who knew miracles are so tiring? Where does it say the disciples watched a man walk on water and passed out drunk after talking about it for six hours? After the Buddha reached enlightenment, did he get to take a nap?

Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

1 thought on “Mingo’s Back, Or, Miracles Are Exhausting”

  1. I cannot wait to see him. I’m practically in tears, I know what you went through when he disappeared and im ecstatic for you.

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