Austin, Texas

"The Story of Kitty Villa (or, The Mysterious Fourth Cat)" (Part II)

Morning finally came (after Adam and Albert got literally no REM sleep). We went to the Austin Juvenile Hall to play a 45 minute concert for the kids there. Concert went great, even though we were all wrecked.

After coming back to the house of Kitty Villa (yes, that could be translated as "Cathouse"), I discovered a sheet of paper on the kitchen counter. This piece of paper was filled with single-spaced instructions relating to care of the cats. I took the paper to the living room and started reading it to the guys. As we got the second paragraph, we discovered a manifest of the cats living at the house complete with names, descriptions, and lifestyle (indoor, outdoor, indoor/outdoor). At this point something strange dawned on us. Firstly, the paper had descriptions for only three cats. We hadn't counted, but we could be sure that there were more cats than that in the house during the night. Secondly, the cats on the list were all basically black-and white cats, no gray ones! Lastly, the description of the kitten (black and white stripes) said that she was an entirely indoor cat, and should not be allowed outside!

Panic stared to settle in. Who was that gray cat? Where was the kitten? Was that a stray that was causing all the chaos the night before?

Over the next few hours we go questing for the various cats in and around the house. No success. We put food out front. We put water out. Finally - milk. Nothing. Not a single cat to be found.

Eventually, I do find the elderly one hiding under the bed in the master bedroom. I bring it out to the living room to the shock of the quartet. Their is a moment of celebration until we realize that we still may have contributed to the death of 66.6% of our host's pet population. At this point, however, we have to move on and check into the hotel that Matt Hinsley got for us for the night, graciously sparing us from another night of cats...

We check into the Holiday Inn Austin, have dinner with Matt Hinsley, and then go downtown to hear some truly phenomenal live music - a trio of guitar, Hammond organ, and drums playing a kind of Stevie Ray Vaughan / Jimi Hendrix fusion that totally blew me away. After the bar closes, we run back to the car in the middle of a torrential Southern storm. We get back to the hotel only to realize that the two remaining cats would be tuck out in the rain, that is, if they weren't dead already. Miraculously, Jack happened to still have the key that we were supposed to return to Matt Hinsley at dinner.

Adam had the brilliant idea to take the key, go back to the house (at 4am by now) and save the drowning cats. I protested out of tiredness at first, but eventually relented. We drove back to the house, went in the front door, but didn't see either of the two cats around. Adam went back to the patio door, opened it, and one soggy cat came running back in! Fantastic, now there only remained the possibility that we killed the "indoor only" kitten, a mere 33.3% of Kitty's pet population.

I went out onto the deck in back to look. I checked in the sunroom. Nothing - but as I walked toward the yard, I heard a faint meowing. I went down around the deck and heard the meowing more clearly. The rain was still coming down, and it was completely dark, but I pulled out my cell phone and used the screen to bring some light to the area underneath the low deck. Apparently attracted to the light, I saw the little kitten's face peek out. Unfortunately, the area was lined with thorny rosebushes and I couldn't get in. The kitten was coming toward the light, but didn't want to come out into the rain. I attempted speaking to it in the small amount of cat-language I know as I pushed (painfully) into the thorns. After about five minutes, we eventually met in the middle and I was able to scoop her up, shield her under my jacket, and bring her back into the house.

She shook out the water and went right to her food dish where she proceeded to chow down at a rate that was frantic, but incredibly cute.

Satisfied that had now killed 0% of Kitty Villa's cats, we turned off the lights, returned the TV to the state it was on when we arrived (playing an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation), locked the door, and left. We got back to the hotel to get enough sleep to move on to San Antonio for our next concert...