Wednesday, 2 February 2011

02.02. My cat went missing

Hi, I promised you a few days ago that I would tell you the story about when my cat went missing, so here it is: my cat was born in November 2001 and I got him from a charity together with his sister who unfortunately disappeared in early 2004. My cat was castrated when he was quite young, so his instincts for roaming and fighting disappeared along with other behavioural problems associated with non-castrated cats. He has always been a very loving cat and has never been away from home more than half a day, usually only a few hours at the time. I have a cat flap in my back door, and he is free to come and go as he wants to, day and night. He always calls me when he arrives through the cat flap – as to say “I’m home,
where are you?” and I always answer him, well, that is if I am home and awake!

But one Sunday in March 2010 he went out as usual in the afternoon and was out the whole day. He didn’t even come home while I was making dinner, which is very unusual, because my cat knows the time, he knows when it’s around 7:30 and I usually start cooking my dinner. If I am late getting started, he will usually come and find me and sit in front of me, staring at me as if to say “don’t you know what time it is?!” If I make a move, he will be up on his feet before I know it, heading for the kitchen. If I don’t follow, he will be back after a few minutes, sitting down in front of me again and resume the staring tactic until I give in and follow him into the kitchen! The reason for all this is because while I make my own dinner, he always gets his second meal of the day – just the same old cat food he gets for breakfast, but that doesn’t seem to make a difference; it’s the highlights of the day every time I get the tin out of the fridge :-)

Back to that Sunday in March; he didn’t turn up for dinner, and he didn’t turn up later in the evening, which is very unusual – he always lies in my lap while I watch TV after my dinner. And when I went to bed and he hadn’t turned up I knew something was wrong, but several trips out into the garden calling for him had not given any results so there was nothing more I could do that late in the night. I hoped he would be home the next morning, but he wasn’t, and I went out regularly in the garden calling for him, in case he had been in a fight and was too hurt to come home. After a week I made a poster with a photo of him and printed up enough copies for all the houses that have a garden into the square I live in, in all 4 streets, nearly 60 in total, and my son went and put them through people’s doors. No one called to tell they had seen him, unfortunately, and I tried to prepare myself for the fact that this would be the second cat going missing.

This is the thing about having cats; it’s not like when you have a dog that you take out walking on a lead a couple of times a day,  a cat needs to be able to freely walk in and out of the house, unless you decide to have an indoor cat. I have never been keen on keeping cats indoors all their life, I think it’s very much against their nature, and I wouldn’t want to have an indoor cat. But it is a risky life being a cat in a big city, the main hazard being created by cars. So as a cat owner I realise that there is a certain element of risk and that I have no control over what happens to my cat every time he leaves through the cat flap. I have no idea where he goes, how far he goes, what he does, if he visits other people and if he eats other people’s food...all these things are entirely up to my cat, I have no control over it – but I would really like to know! One thing I do know is that my cat occasionally visits a man who uses a very nice aftershave! Whenever he comes home smelling of that aftershave, at least I do know he has been back there, although I have no idea who that man is and where he lives of course. I also think my cat visits someone who feeds cats, or perhaps set out food to the foxes, which some people actually do!! (Please read my post from last month about foxes to see why that is making me furious!) I can tell by the amount of food he eats here at home that he must have found food elsewhere too. My cat has always got dried cat foot available, I never remove it, and yet he eats less tinned food in some weeks compared to other. I am pretty sure he has found some little old lady feeding stray cats in our area, and he is lining up along with the rest of them looking as hungry as he can manage to get his share. It’s probably better and more expensive cat food than what he gets at home too!

As the weeks went by without my cat turning up my hope of ever seeing him again dwindled, and after 2 months I had no hope left at all. It was spring and warm weather, but I could see no reason why he hadn’t come home, other than if he had been injured so badly that he had been killed. During the summer I was asked by several people if I would have another cat again, but I thought it was too soon to start all over again. Besides, I would never take on an adult cat; I would only take a kitten I could bond properly with, and they are a lot of work the first year so I didn’t feel I would be able to do all that at the moment. Then one evening, it was actually another Sunday, just as I was getting ready to go to bed I heard the cat flap slam. Not that that noise was anything unusual; every time it is a bit windy the cat flap will slam, it’s just a sound I was used to and I took no notice of it. I had been thinking of covering up the cat flap, as I obviously didn’t need it anymore, but just hadn’t got around doing it yet. So there I was, in the bathroom brushing my teeth, with the door half open, and suddenly I felt something stroking my bare leg. I literarily jumped, luckily not making a noise, as that would probably have scared what stood in front of me....because right there on my bathroom floor stood my cat, after 4 months and 3 weeks away! And he was just as affectionate as usual, he behaved just like he always used to, he looked just like he used to, wasn’t skinny at all, not even slim! And the first thing he asked for was food, then a cuddle on the sofa and then he slept in my bed the whole night and hasn’t left the house for more than a few hours at the time since then, which is now 6 months ago. Amazing huh? :-)

I really, really would have liked to know what happened to him. What made him not come home in the first place, and what kept him from coming home all those months? Was he injured and took all this time to heal? Not very likely, he would have been very skinny, because if he couldn’t have come home he probably couldn’t have found much food either. Did someone out there take him in and adopt him so that he “forgot” about me and his home? Don’t think so, we had a great bond which seems to be exactly the same as before, so why would he have had temporarily amnesia for nearly 5 months and then suddenly remembered me again? What about this one: there is a garage in the centre of the square, right over on the other side from my garden. My cat is always lying on  top of the wall at the end of my garden, looking down on their yard so he is probably a frequent guest there. What if he climbed in to the boot of a car they had left open, and they closed it without seeing him; the owner came to pick up the car and drove home – which could have been very far away, and when they came home and opened the boot, my cat probably just ran out in panic....and then my cat spent all those months finding his way home to me. It’s just speculations of course, but my cat isn’t telling me where he has been and what he has been up to, so all I am left with is guessing. I really would have liked to know! And, more importantly, I would have liked to know so I possibly could have prevented it from happening again. I thought he was dead, and I was preparing myself for perhaps making the decision not having a cat again, to spare myself for the heartache of losing yet another cat.

I hope he is back for good :-) I hope whatever made him disappear won’t happen again, but if it did, I won’t give up hope so soon. I have seen now that he can come back after a very long time. Sadly, that didn’t happen to his sister. But whatever made him go on his excursion, something made him come back, and that’s what makes him come back here every day. A lot of people who don’t have cats say that cats only come home because they know they will get fed. That’s so not true. A cat has a bond to it’s owner similar to what it had to it’s mother; it can be a very strong bond if you cuddle and give your cat a lot of attention or it can be a weak bond if you give it less attention, but food on it’s own is not enough for a cat to keep turning up and asking for attention, if it only got food the cat would leave again as soon as it got fed and not stay and sleep and ask for your attention. My cat and I have a very strong bond, I know what he wants most of the time, and he also responds to me surprisingly well. He knows for example that it takes me a lot longer to walk down the stairs in the morning now than it used to do, so he no longer run down the stairs to get downstairs for his breakfast. Instead he takes the stairs in my pace, waiting on the landing for me, before jumping off a few more steps, turning around and looking at me to see that I am still on my way and when I am almost down he will run off and sit outside the bathroom door waiting for me. He knows there will be no food until I have been there first! Another thing he does, which is really strange....during the night he usually sleeps on top of a work surface I have put up in the hallway right outside my bedroom, on a thick blanket. But sometime during the early hours of the morning he usually comes into my bed, as I leave the door ajar, and he will sleep the rest of the night in the foot end of my bed. But when I am in bed with a migraine, he always come and lies on my pillow, close to me. This is quite strange, because I can’t get him to do this normally, if I ask him to come and lie closer he might come and lie down for a few minutes, but then move away  down to the foot end pretty soon. But when I have a migraine, he will lie next to my face, purring for hours and hours. It happens so often it can’t be a coincidence, I am sure he can sense that something is wrong with me. I quite like it and it doesn’t usually disturb me as long as I can manage to keep his tail out of my face :-)

I realise that this post is getting really long; I suppose I should be rounding it up now. I have put some photos here of my cat, you might have seen them before if you read my posts lasts month, but I just don’t have any more recent pictures of him. I guess I need to take a lot more pictures of him if I am going to continue using my cat as a topic :-) But I have found a picture of him and his sister, as 9 weeks old kittens, I thought I would finish today with that picture. Aren’t they just lovely? Well, that was the story about when my cat went missing for almost 5 months and then turned up again as if nothing, as if he had just been away for a few hours! Till next time, take care :-)

8 comments:

  1. I loved this story so much. I have a cat missing now for 2 and a half months. He disappeared during the snow and it is utterly heartbreaking. My partner loved him like a child and we've both been really affected by his disappearance. Like you we have a cat flap and give our cats that freedom. They are all neutered including the missing one (the only one we didn't chip). Anyway - thank you so much for this lovely tale.

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  2. Hi Jaki, thanks for your comment. It would be great if my story could give you some hope that your cat still can turn up. Don't give up just yet!
    And thanks for becoming my follower number 5, much appreciated :-)

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  3. oh god, this echoes everything I am feeling right now. Sonny has been missing since May 2 2011 and my heart has been punched clean out of my chest. I have never felt so useless in all my life and I feel like I have failed him. Like you, I have gone through every scenario, all his routines and cannot understand what has happened to him. I have put flyers in every house in the village (all 400 of them), posters everywhere and he's been in the local paper 3 times. He's registered with animal search and all vets, rescue centres etc. I am praying that my little man is spirited enough to find me again and his brother is going crazy with the loss. I am so pleased your boy came home and I hope, one day, I will have that happy ending too! I have lost part of myself and only Sonny and bring that back. Thank you for your ray of hope, I'm sure you of all people know just how much that means!!!

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  4. The story you have narrated soothes me because, i am going through the same pain currently. My boy, Tommy has gone missing from 28th july, 2011 and is not home yet. There is not much traffic in our area and no animal catchers. So, I and my husband are waiting for his safe return. May god bless me with that happiness. Thank you for the post, as it is giving some hope to me.

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  5. Omg your story has made me feel a bit better, my kitten Ollie (8 months) has been missing only for 4 days but I feel so bad. My husband, son and myself feel so heartbroken, done lots of phoning around now starting on posters.I just hope and pray my little boy will come through his cat flap and start crying for his food. Once again thank you for you post it is giving me hope to finding my little friend again

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  6. I love your story. My Skippy was the same way,
    coming home for a dinner, sleeping in my bed, etc but 3 days ago he left house around 7 am and did not come back yet.
    I feel in my heart that something went wrong, he would never take off just like that. I miss him so much...

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  7. To all of you who has commented on this post, and to all the hundreds of you who has read it since I wrote this, I hope your cat has come home safe and sound :-) And if not, don’t give up hope just yet, you never know, one day they might just turn up just as mine did. My cat is 10 years old this month, and I thought I would celebrate it with a special post dedicated to him, look out for it at the end of this month :-)

    Take care, good luck with your cats and thanks for stopping by here.

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  8. I've just found this site by chance and i'm SO glad. My little 2year old female cat went missing 5 days ago. She's chipped so i know if handed in we'll get a call BUT it's the not knowing that is awful. My husband and I have been out day and night between us calling for her within a mile radius. Hubby has been up hill, down dale, over fences, under hedges...surprised he's not been arrested for snooping!! Posters are up everywhere, local gardners and cleaners (we live on a holiday complex in Spain) are all aware to keep an eye out....nothing, no sign, no miaows, nothing. We're devastated. I've not slept through the night for days with things going through my head as to what could have happened. She was my husbands shadow, followed him everywhere, slept on his pillow above his head, stood at window each morning to send him off to work, ran down to meet him at night when she hears his car and only went out for a couple of hours a day at most. I'm now feeling a little more hopeful after reading your story that she could well return when she's ready....fingers crossed she will wander in over the next few days!!!

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