Here's one thing you should know about me: I hate cats. HATE them. Passionately. They're just so boring. Cats hate me, too, so I suppose it works out pretty well. There is one exception to my cat hatred rule: his name is Felix. He is a wonder cat.
This isn't Felix, but Felix is black and white. I thought this cat looked kind of super hero-esque like Felix, so feel free to use him for your mental imagery in this post.
I don't remember the exact year of Felix's greatest adventure, but I do know that it happened at least a decade ago during a 4th of July weekend at Lake of the Ozarks. The Meeder family has a long standing tradition of spending every Independence Day together under the guise of some themed family reunion (for example: "slow no wake weekend" and "lakelympics"). If memory serves correctly, I was eating an Oreo when my uncle got a phone call. I couldn't tell you exactly who was on the other end of the phone or what was being said, but I could tell you that it was NOT GOOD. Yelling followed, my uncle turned bright red, my aunt turned even redder, they got into a car, and they left. I think the other adults had been tuned into what was going on, but as usual the kids were left in the dark. My cousins and I came to the conclusion that my aunt and uncle's fury was most likely the result of something my oldest cousin, Michael, had done. He was the only family member not present at the lake. The plan had been that Michael was going to get up early, drop the family cat off at the vet, and drive three hours to the lake with a friend. Things didn't exactly work out that way...
Michael has always been a big fan of sleep. On this particular morning, he accidentally overslept. This wasn't the least bit surprising and wouldn't have been a problem were it not for the fact that the vet had closed by the time Michael woke up. On to plan B: the cat was coming to the lake. Michael found a box, put Felix in it, and hit the road. Oh, and one more little detail that's important: he was driving a convertible. With the top down. About halfway through the drive, a guy pulled up next next to Michael. Their exchange took place as follows:
Random guy: "Hey, man, your cat just flew out!"
Michael: "What? My cap? I wasn't wearing a cap...?"
Random guy: "No man, your CAT!"
That's right. I'll give that last sentence a second to resonate.
Picture it with me. Box in the back seat = empty. Imagine yourself as Felix: very confused as to why you're in this square brown thing, you want to break free. After a few exhaustive hours of struggling with the box, you succeed at your task. The top of the box opens and you leap to freedom. You get to enjoy the sweet smell and taste of fresh air all around you for about a millisecond then--WHOOSH--that very fresh air carries you away with it. Now imagine yourself as the random guy: did you just see a CAT fly out of the back of that car? Surely not...right? RIGHT? Oh my gosh. A CAT just flew out of that car!!!
Now before you go calling some animal rights group, let me tell you that this story has a happy ending. However, it was very unhappy for a while. My aunt and uncle (Michael's parents) drove all the way to some random scrap of highway and searched all over for Felix. They were gone for HOURS. Felix was nowhere to be found. So my aunt and uncle came back to the lake and had to tell their two other children (they were probably ages 10ish and 13ish at the time) that Felix was gone. Additionally, Michael had been so flustered that he drove away from a gas station with the pump still attached to the car. He ripped out the hose and nozzle without even noticing. The gas station owner, however, did notice and sent my uncle a bill a month later. Just the icing on the cake. Over the course of the next few weeks my aunt called every animal shelter she could find. Eventually the Meeders gave up on Felix, but one day the unexpected happened...
A woman from a trailer park around the area where Felix had disappeared called my aunt. Felix had wandered up to her trailer and she had called the number on his collar to return him home. And so a month after being blown from a moving car traveling at top speeds on a Kansas highway, Felix found himself back at home as if nothing had happened. No scratches. No bruises. No missing limbs. No major health issues. He was a little hungry, but totally fine. How did he do it? I haven't the slightest idea.
This particular feat is Felix's most famous triumph, but by no means his only triumph. Over the course of his life, Felix has been run over by my aunt's car, crushed by a garage door, placed on an IV for some illness I don't remember the details of, and gotten into plenty more trouble that my cousins can tell you all about. And did I mention, FELIX IS STILL ALIVE TODAY? I hate cats, but how can you hate Felix? Impossible.
And that is the story of why this cat has become know as, and will always be known as, "Felix the Wonder Cat."