I’ve mentioned previously that our new cat Willow has an almost inaudible little meow, which she rarely uses.

Unless she is running, her footsteps are inaudible too. The only time I’ve really heard her make noise is when she knocks something over when she is in an unauthorized location- the kitchen counter, for example.

Until today. Willow eats and sleeps on top of the dryer in our laundry room. The dryer is next to the wall, in the corner by our backdoor.

Willow, an indoor cat, does not try to follow Waldo and me outside. Instead, she has gotten into the habit of hopping up to her food dish, having a nibble, and watching us through the glass of the door.

This afternoon, I stepped out back, with Waldo at my heels. Before he could get through the door, Willow let loose a yowl that stopped my heart.

I started, then froze for a moment. Looking behind me, I realized that her tail must have gotten caught in the door. I heard a panicked scramble, followed by the sound of ceramic hitting concrete, and the scattering of kibble.

By the time I could get turned around and past a confused dog, Willow was gone.

I walked slowly and quietly down the hall to the master bedroom, agitated. Had I broken her tail? Was it a paw? would she let me get her into the carrier to go to the vet?

I found her in the window sill in my room, crouched strangely, her tail arched in an odd shape. She did not seem to want to look at me. I decided that it would be safe to give her a little time to herself.

I comforted myself by comforting Waldo, who clearly knew something was wrong. After a decent interval, I went back to check on Willow, who was now stretched out on the bed. She seemed very indifferent to me, but allowed me to pet her and handle her tail, which now seemed to be back to normal. No purring or snuggling though; she does not trust me right now, I can tell.

I’m not sure of the protocol for cat apologies. I guess I can start with a new dish.