Ruby is my small black cat. She is independent and fast. She’s stealthy and curious. Any opening, any crevice, any high place is fair game to her.

One day in early November a few years ago, Ruby got outside. And we didn’t know because we were away, out of town with a sick child.

We had a family member coming in to look after the cats, and our small, slick, silent cat got past him somehow.

So we didn’t realize she was missing until a tearful girl cried out, “Where’s Ruby? I can’t find her!”

We were already tired from a long trip, and it was Sunday. So what did we do?

We started by checking through the whole house extra-carefully. All of her little hiding spots were turned inside out. We checked the washer (see photo above), and all the closets. We pulled out the best treats and shook the bag, as well as opening a can of her favorite cat food. When there was no reply, no sign of her, we knew for sure she’d gotten outside.

We check the rest of our property — around the house, under the deck and in the detached garage. We also had a playhouse that we checked and a tree-lined lane that was inspected.

Next was the neighbors — we split up and knocked on doors, asking our neighbors to check their yards and sheds for our little escape artist.

Once the neighborhood was on alert, we started making phone calls. Now, calling the Kingston Humane Society and asking if they had any stray black cats come in during the week of Halloween. Well, they told me to come on down and look, there were lots of black cats in residence.

To the question, “Does she have a microchip?”, I had to answer, “No.” (Spoiler alert, the answer now is “Yes”).

That’s how we started our search for Ruby.