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From Cat Lover to Cat Stalker

Ben Christopher | April 9, 2013 | Lifestyle Story Culture

Caroline Paul was just beginning to accept that her cat was dead. Then Tibia reappeared, happy, healthy, and oddly well fed. That led to a months-long obsession and, now, Paul's hilarious mini-memoir Lost Cat [Bloomsbury], illustrated by her partner, Wendy MacNaughton. If the following sounds like you, consider it a cautionary tale.

Your cat’s lack of appetite inspires jealousy, not relief.
Caroline Paul: “Even with the dimmed lights and the cooing come-to-dinner voice, Tibia was just unwooable. After 13 years together, I guess the romance was gone.”

You keep tabs on your tabby with the help of cat cams and a GPS.
CP: “I did buy a cat surveillance drone recently—which is exactly what it sounds like.”

Pet detectives and people who talk to animals for a living think you’re more nuts than they are.
Wendy MacNaughton: “They kept asking, ‘So, the cat’s back already? Why do you need us again?’”

And your cat agrees.
CP: “The feeling I got from Tibby? He was totally bemused by these silly humans.”

Even after spending countless hours and dollars trying to understand your feline, only to be rebuffed, you still call yourself a cat person.
CP: “One thing I realized during this quest was that you don’t ever know what’s going on with the creatures you love—human or animal.”
WM: “I was not a cat person. Now I’m the craziest cat lady you’ll ever meet.”

Originally published in the April 2013 issue of San Francisco.
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