My Best True Cat Story

I’ve told this story in a few other places, but don’t think I’ve told it here:
Back in the early 80’s, our alpha cat was a big grey fluffy male who had been a stray around our first house. (Walked up and introduced himself: “Hey, you! Wanna house and feed the World’s Best Cat? Here I am.”) We usually try to keep our cats as indoor-only, but having lived on the street for a while, he insisted on occasional outdoor strolls.
We’d had him a few years, and had moved to a different neighborhood and house. One Sunday morning, as I was driving Hilde and our young son Chris to church, about a block away Hilde and I saw… a large grey fluffy cat, lying dead in the street with his head badly crushed.
Hilde and I exchanged looks as we drove slowly by, but didn’t want to upset Chris before church. So I drove them to church, then came back, retrieved the body, took it home, and buried it in the back yard, with a lot of tears. (He may not have been THE World’s Best Cat, but he was a contender.)
After Hilde and Chris got back home, we broke the news to Chris. More tears, more sadness.
We felt down all day, but had some out-of-town friends scheduled to visit that evening, so we bucked up and tried to put a good face for the visit, not mentioning the loss.
After dinner and chat, we took our visitors out on the back porch to see the hot tub we’d recently purchased. After a few moments, one of the visitors looked down into the shadows by the hot tub and said, “Oh, did one of your cats slip out with us?”
We looked down and saw… a large grey fluffy male cat. The same one we’d believed dead all day. The cat looked back up and meowed. (“Where’s my food?”)
We, of course, were overjoyed to see him so unexpectedly alive. Hugs and pets ensued. (Cat: “Whatever. Food?”) Then I realized…
…I had buried someone else’s cat.
Never found out where the dead lookalike cat had come from. Even now, decades later, I feel a bit guilty that somewhere a family’s cat disappeared and never came back, and they never found out what had happened to it.
But the punchline to our cat returning from the dead?
Our cat was named Aslan.

(Copied this from a recent comment I left on File 770. Aslan lived to be nearly 20 before he passed away for real. The pic above is from a free-image site; not the original Aslan, but pretty similar.)

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