Sripati update. Short version, everything is expensive but fine, and he’s coming home today. Dramatic version follows.

Some of you may have seen my post that Sripati was missing. He went out on the startlingly warm day we had, Sunday February 2, and didn’t come back. We didn’t fret too much at first — the cats go outdoors every day, roam their territory, and come back in for dinner, treats, scritching, sleeping, but when he wasn’t back the next day, we started worrying.

Sri is super friendly, though, and has a bad habit of slipping his collar (we have gone through so many collars and styles of collars, sigh), so we were fairly sure that the same thing had happened as usual — some kind soul had reported him, thinking he was a stray, and the police (Animal Control) would pick him up and bring him to the Animal Care League, and they’d scan the microchip and call us to come pay the fee and collect him.

Days go by. A few weeks. Usually it’s just a few days, but last time it was two months, which was awful, and we still don’t know why that person kept him so long; we never got to talk to them.

So on Tuesday, I’m getting ready to make family dinner with the kids, when Kevin walks in with some mail. There’s a very stern and threatening letter from the police, saying Animal Control had picked up our cat, and if we don’t pick him up in time, they’re going to consider him abandoned and try to re-home him.

Here’s the infuriating part — and I don’t get angry very often, but this really got to me.

• They picked him on up 2/2; that’s the warm day, so he hadn’t even been gone overnight at that point. He must have slipped his collar; if he’s collared and tagged (licensed with the Village), they don’t pick up outdoor cats. (That’s its own ongoing issue — how to keep a collar and tag on Sri. We could do a harness, but that seems potentially unsafe. We’ll probably just keep replacing collars and tags. Sigh.)

• The letter was dated 2/10

• The letter was postmarked 2/14

• The letter said that we had until 2/17 to pick him up, or he’d be considered abandoned

• The letter got to us on 2/18 (2/16 was Sunday, 2/17 was President’s Day, so no mail delivery)

• The nonprofit’s office was closed on 2/18, and wouldn’t actually be open again until 2/20 (I think they’re understaffed).

I kind of lost it. I mean, I could see that this is clearly just administrative bureaucracy at work, and I’ve been a secretary — I was one for years. I can see how someone might take a little while writing a letter, sending it out, etc.

But PLEASE, folks, if you’re going to send out a letter saying someone has a week to do something before something terrible happens, then please make sure it reaches them when they actually have a week left. Rather then negative-1 days left. And I couldn’t even TALK to anyone official about it. It’s bad enough when it’s about my cat, but I’m sure this kind of thing happens with people’s children, their cars and homes, etc. It must be terrifying.

I sent off e-mails and FB messages to the Animal Care League, and tried to chill and enjoy family dinner, but I was in a terrible mood, snapping at Anand (who was being extra exuberant for some reason, crashing around the kitchen) enough times that he got teary and I had to apologize. Then we made the mistake of telling him *why* Mommy was in such a bad mood, and then Anand got even more teary, because he is very attached to Grey Kitty (Anand’s name for Sri). Gah. Not our finest hour as parents.

(We had a long conversation then about why the cats are outdoor cats, and we are still agreed on it as a family, but also agree that it is hard loving someone with a wanderer’s heart. No comments here against having outdoor cats, please. They will be deleted.)

I got an e-mail back from the Animal Care League yesterday, thankfully, and they still had Sri, and I can pick him up this afternoon. They’re also charging us about $350 for his stay, and I would be angry about that too, but they did try to call us repeatedly, it turns out.

They called Kevin’s cell, which was the number they had on file, and got a message that his mailbox was full. It wasn’t full, but it *is* giving that message; Kevin spent a while on the phone with Verizon, and yes, his mailbox is giving that error, and no, it’s not full, and no, Verizon doesn’t know why and doesn’t seem inclined to do anything about it, which is its own ARGH. But re: the Animal Care League, we will give them our home number and my cell number as well, so this never happens again.

There’s really no one to argue with about the $350 (all the gods know we’re not going to get it out of Verizon), so we’ll just suck it up and pay it. I’m trying to consider it a donation to the Animal Care League in my mind — they do good work. It’s not their fault that this cat is a genius at slipping collars.

I’m still a little annoyed at the police department for the threatening tone of their letter and the timing of mailing, but I’m trying to let that go too. They have plenty of tough stuff to deal with. They try.

But it was just a rough, rough sequence for us all around. We’ll be glad when Sripati is home again.

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