Recognize that cat? We thought so, too. She was the one in our house freaking out when we packed bags for Christmas. She also sneaks up on Bart’s ankles at night, purrs one moment and attacks the next, and likes helping Zoe with homework.
And she’s a joy to have around when I’m trying to work, if I leave the door open and she can’t find her “person” (which is actually Bart). I am not her person.
But hopefully you now recognize that cat, Jasmine. Not named after a princess, which Zoe insisted when she was 5 years old and named her. She was named after a girl Zoe met on a playground, who she’s never seen or talked to again. That Jasmine.
Flash forward to a pandemic surge (that shouldn’t be hard) during which the Johnson family barely leaves the house, except to drop off kids at school, which we find to be the most risk we’re willing to take on a regular basis. Until last weekend, when we decided we MUST get out of the house.
Conveniently, I’ve been wanting a VR headset and talked my husband into one, but we could only find it at a Best Buy in Woodland Hills, about 20 minutes away. And they had curbside pickup. Bonus! So Bart found a restaurant with an outdoor patio near the store, and we left the house to take the girls on a mini-adventure.
As we pulled into our curbside pickup spot, we got a text from our neighbors asking if our cat had gotten out… We surveyed the car and all agreed that there’s no way she could have gotten out before we left the house. She’s quite slow (and generally not that interested) in trying to get outside anyway. But as we replied to that text with “We don’t think so,” they were texting us this:
In case you’re struggling to make out the cat in that picture, here’s a zoomed in view (which is exactly what we had to do when we got it, since we couldn’t believe our eyes):
To which we replied, “Omg. That’s our cat.” Now remember, we were 20 minutes away from home, and we’d planned a highly unusual lunch date with our kids to maintain our sanity. Oh, and also remember that our cat can be a pain in the butt. Ok, maybe forget that part, especially when our kids are in the back seat freaking out that their cat has gotten out.
Anyway, decisions decisions. Thankfully, my husband is brilliant and immediately texted our neighbors that we are able to unlock our door remotely (we are) and asked if they could try and get her over to the house and back in. They had been bribing the cat with food to keep it near, so it seemed possible.
Less than 2 minutes later, we were watching on our Ring camera as our saint of a neighbor appeared at the door, holding a cat under his arm. This should have been our first clue. We unlocked the door, he dropped her inside, we thanked him profusely through the Ring, and he giggled and said, “No problem.” Disaster averted. So we headed out to our lunch.
As we arrived at home, Zoe rushed into the house to check on her “baby” Jasmine, then stepped backwards slowly towards the door and said, “Mom. There are 2 cats in the hallway.” At first, I didn’t believe her, but her eyes were huge, and guess what?
That was as close as I could get to the two cats in close proximity to one another, which was not something either of them was happy about… They chased one another down the hallway, through the entire house. The kids were freaking out, Bart was still near the doorway, and I was laughing as I tried to document the adventure. I mean, they’re just cats.
Sure, I was concerned about the fact they had been trapped in our house for 2 hours, chasing one another and hissing with those huge tails puffed up. Yes, I had the thought that they had destroyed and/or urinated on something in our absence. But all that paled in comparison to my amusement at the fact that pesky Jasmine had been trapped in her own house with her doppelganger. And we had to get one of those cats OUT of the house.
My biggest fear? That we would let the WRONG cat out. I swear I couldn’t tell the difference, until the not-Jasmine hopped up on a credenza to hide herself.
It became obvious that while OMG they look alike, this cat was a) not quite as big as ours and b) not as crazy. Jasmine would never have let a stranger get that close if she were cornered. So we chased the real Jasmine into a back room and closed the door, then I was able to pick up this little scared one and get her outside, at which point she bolted, clearly wanting to get as far away from Jasmine as possible.
A side note: Jasmine had a “brother” when we got her (from a lady’s purse in a liquor store parking lot – you can find that story here). That kitten was identical to Jasmine, and if we could have handled two cats, we would have taken him also. But we didn’t. I’m pretty sure that THIS cat was a girl, though I was not at all interested in checking.
Anyway, what are the chances that we’d come home to two identical cats in our home, more than six years later? Slim. And yet, it happened. I’ve been teasing Jasmine for a week, asking where her friend is and why she couldn’t have been nicer to her. Though Bart will not admit it, this does not bode well for his Bernedoodle being welcomed by our insane cat, assuming we end up with a dog. We shall see.
In the meantime, Jasmine is perfectly happy being queen of the house, alone.