A Chance adventure

Posted by Karen Hadalski at 5 January 2012

Category: animals/pets

Last winter, during the holidays and a rare Virginia snow storm, we lost our kitten, Chance, for 16 agonizing days.  He was a small, thin rescue cat; not yet a year old; and had never been outside the warmth and safety of his house. He “escaped” by darting between the legs of our dog as I let her into the backyard, through our picket fence, and into the night.  After employing every recovery method known to man–search & rescue dogs; ads; posters; a 500 call Lost Pet Amber Alert; daily check-ins at every animal shelter, rescue, and hospital within a 10 mile radius; and non-stop scouring of three neighborhoods and nearby woods; it was the simplest, most common-sense actions which finally brought Chance back to us.  We sprinkled what was left of his previously used litter on top of the ice and snow around the perimeter of our house so that he could “smell it out,” and left the garage door open enough for him to squeeze under it and devour the refreshed food we set- out every evening. Finally, our confused, disoriented, dirty and even skinnier kitten found his way home. Where he had been and how he survived is both a mystery and a miracle.

Yesterday, almost a year to the day, and during another unusually frigid bout of weather, he disappeared again. But, this time, we had no idea how. I had stroked him before going to bed the night before and my husband gave him a treat before leaving for work in the morning.  Yet, when it was breakfast time, he didn’t rush to his bowl along with his sister, Lily, as he did every other day. While shaking the “Greenies” bag, I rushed through every room in the house calling his name and looking behind, in, and on top of every piece of furniture until a familiar, sinking feeling settled-in.  I then began an outdoor search.

After returning home to rest and warm- up, I looked into the eyes of my worried pup, Odin, and asked: “Where is Chance?!”  He immediately began to sniff and scurry around, finally halting and pawing at the linen closet door.  When I opened it, there he was: peacefully snoozing behind a tall stack of towels on the top shelf. What a relief!! No one remembers opening or closing that door and Chance had never before exhibited any interest in exploring that space; yet, I should have thought to open every single door and drawer before concluding my inside search.  Cats are quick, quiet, endlessly curious, and mysterious creatures. This incident served to remind us that we had let-up a little on the precautions we had put into place after Chance’s return last year, and to get busy reinforcing these.

It is during the first month of every new year that we seem to have the most energy and resolve to make productive, positive changes in our lives and lifestyles.  While doing so this year, don’t forget the animals.  How impoverished, predictable, and boring life would be without them!


  1. john hadalski says

    It’s been a year now. I hope he’ll be with us for many more without incident

  2. Kathrin says

    Hey, Nice work! This is very helpful to my research and i hope to run through more of your posts someday! How i wish i could see you in person so i could get to know you more.

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