I lost the cat. Again.

The move was successful, but Bearcat is confused. I think she spent half of Friday trapped in a closet, and I’m not yet sure how she got in there. (She’s not saying or blaming yet.) When I returned to the new home from an exciting day of cleaning at the old home, I couldn’t find Bear. Boxes make for excellent hiding places, so that wasn’t too unusual at first. But after about 10 minutes … When I finally called her, there was a mew from the bathroom closet. Which I was into before I left for the day’s adventures, but I swear Bear wasn’t around then.

This is not the first time I’ve lost the cat: The last time was in a South Dakota hotel.

In 2004, I was moving to Indiana from Washington (the state — not just a scenic adventure from D.C.), and stopped overnight somewhere in South Dakota. I checked in at the hotel, turned a drugged Bear lose (she does not like car rides), fed her and left to get something to eat. When I returned, Bear was nowhere to be found.

There weren’t that many places to hide in the room. She wasn’t under the bed or desk. She wasn’t behind the night stand or TV.

I even checked the rest of the hotel in case she’d somehow escaped. (There was a gap under the door — big enough for a Sunday New York Times to fit through, but, I was pretty sure, not quite big enough for a cat to slip out.) I asked the front desk if they’d seen/heard about a cat on the prowl; they hadn’t. (It was a good thing they already knew I had a cat with me.) I searched laundry areas, poked through the plants near the pool, checked around and behind vending machines.

Bear was gone.

I went back to my room to ponder how one loses a cat in a hotel when, in the mirror, I saw a paw frantically waving from inside a recliner. The fabric along the back was loose to allow the chair to recline — and loose enough for Bear to sneak inside.