The Pantry Cat in Space and Time

The last time I wrote, we were expecting a winter storm with high wind, snow, and a glaze of ice. It ended up being not worth a warning–at least, not in our area. We got several inches of snow, and a slight glaze of ice, but no high wind. EJ said he had no difficulty driving to or from work.

Today we also have a winter storm warning with high wind, snow, and a glaze of ice. So far we’ve gotten a couple inches of snow, the wind has blown the snow a bit, and EJ messaged me that it was “special” driving to work. He had to slow down to 45 mph.

We have always bought new chicks from the farm store when we wanted to expand our flock. However, with fires destroying numerous chicken farms, we decided to order an incubator to hatch our own. Ideally, our hens would hatch their own eggs, but we’ve only had a broody hen one time in the seven years that we’ve had chickens, so we decided not to wait for them to do the job. UPS was supposed to deliver it today. I tracked the delivery van’s progress via the internet so I could go get it as soon as it arrived. In the winter, deliverymen put our packages in a wooden box at the bottom of our driveway rather than try to drive up our long, steep driveway, and I like to retrieve them as soon as I can because I don’t want them to get stolen. We’ve never had a package stolen, but porch pirates exist and it’s better safe than sorry. If today’s package had been delivered on time, EJ could have retrieved it from the box on his way to work. However, UPS was about a mile from our house when I got a message that it was delayed because of an emergency situation or bad weather. EJ thinks the van probably got stuck. Now I’m hoping the package won’t be delivered until tomorrow because I don’t want to trudge down the hill for it and lug it back up especially after dark.

I can always tell what the weather is by looking out the window and counting how many chickens are outside. They stay in the coop if it’s nasty outside because they don’t like cold, snowy winter weather. The nicer the weather, the more chickens are outside. Today all the chickens stayed snuggly inside their coop so I shut their little door at about 2 pm rather than waiting until twilight.

I also shut Theo the cat safely in the garage. Millie should have been with him, but…

We have two indoor cats–Timmy and Little Bear–that we adopted when we lived downstate. We also have two outdoor cats, which we adopted through the Michigan Barn Cat Program. This program finds homes for cats that prefer to stay outside. Not every cat likes being a house cat. The program actually connects people who have unwanted barn cats with people who want them. Theo and Millie actually help keep our rodent population down. We always make sure they are shut safely in the garage at night to keep them safe from predators.

Usually, Theo and Millie are waiting in the garage for EJ’s homemade cat food when I go out to lock them in. However, a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t find Millie. I called and called for her and she didn’t come running. I didn’t see any cat prints going outside the fenced-in garden so I figured she was somewhere in the garage–or maybe she had camped out in the chicken coop. I reassured myself that we have many places where she could shelter if necessary, but I still don’t like her to be out overnight. I didn’t see Millie anywhere the next morning or afternoon. Towards evening, suddenly I saw her in the hallway in the house. I don’t know how she got into the house. Theo sometimes dashes in, but he’s easy to see and catch and put back in the garage. Millie is shyer and has never tried to get in the house–but here she was. I picked her up and put her in the garage.

One morning late last week, I was heading out to let the chickens out of their coop. Millie was waiting on the step into the garage–and then proof! She disappeared. EJ and I often joke that cats have the ability to teleport because they seem to get from one place to another very quickly. For example, I’ve looked out the living room window at the front of the house and seen a cat, then walked to look out the bedroom window at the back of the house and seen the same cat dozing in the garden. EJ says that sometimes he’s given lovings to a cat in the garage, put it down and walked into the house and out the front door–the garage door and front door are very close to each other–and has seen the cat he just cuddled sitting calmly on the front porch. To get from the garage to the front yard, the cat would have had to run very fast through the pet door into the garden in the back yard, through the fence, around the house to the front, and then sat down–in a matter of seconds. And sometimes we’ve found Timmy or Little Bear sleeping on our laps in the house and exclaimed, “When did he come onto my lap?” Or one cat will be sleeping on our laps and we will look down and it’s the other cat sleeping there and we don’t know when they changed places. So we say, “Hmmm. They must have teleported.”

When Millie suddenly vanished, I quickly looked but I didn’t see her in the garage. I also didn’t see her in the hallway or the panty that is located through a door in the hallway. She was definitely either in the garage or the house so I shut the pet door so she couldn’t go outside. The next morning, I briefly saw her in the pantry when I went to get food for Hannah, but we haven’t been able to find her since even though both EJ and I have looked for her. We are joking that we now have a mysterious pantry cat. Or maybe Millie is teleporting through space and time so she could be anywhere or anywhen. Perhaps she is like Schrödinger’s cat–you know, the quantum physics thought experiment in which essentially, we can’t know what state or place an atomic particle–or a cat–is in until it’s observed. So a particle–or cat–could hypothetically be in all possible states or places until then. Maybe Millie is both in and out of the pantry until we observe her there.

The pantry contains food and water for the cats and their litter box so all Millie’s needs are taken care of…if she’s there and not teleporting herself through space and time.

Image by Михаил Прокопенко from Pixabay

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