I’ll be honest with you. It’s been a rough week.
Monday, my oldest started kindergarten. There were lots of pictures, lots of emotions, and no small amounts of chaos. It went well, despite all that.
Later in the evening, as I was getting the kids ready for bed, I thought to myself that it was unusual that Callie was not begging for food (that is pretty much all she ever does.) And come to think of it, I hadn’t seen her all afternoon.
I opened the door and went out in the backyard to look for her. She is an inside cat, a scaredy cat who will on rare occasion dart out when I’m not paying attention, but never goes more than 20 feet from the door. Obviously though, at some point this day, she did.
I looked for her for several hours, to no avail. That is completely unlike her. I thought back to when we first moved in, and my discussion with the two elderly people who lived next door at the time. “You keep those cats inside?” he asked. I nodded. “Good,” he said. “Lots of coyotes ’round here.” He looked at Apollo, my black cat. “The black ones last a bit longer.”
Callie is grey.
It’s been 3 solid days now, and despite people trying to reassure me that they have had cats go for a week or more only to turn up again, I just have a terrible feeling. Callie is not an adventurer but a homebody. Our area has coyotes, cars, and big dogs. We are in the middle of a major heat wave, where the high today was 104. She has lived a life in a quiet, safe world, unaware that she needs to be careful of the terrible things that lurk beyond. It’s never been an issue.
I’m a big fan of keeping your cat indoors, for all the reasons I am now ripping my hair out over. The day before I had my daughter, I distinctly remember falling on my huge pregnant face trying to chase Apollo back into the house. The phone I was holding went skittering across the cement, my sister on the other end screaming in terror as she heard crashing, yelling, and a dull thud. I’m committed. 10 years of keeping Callie safe, and she has to pay for my one lapse with her life? Doesn’t she get one freebie?
Perhaps there is a little girl who found her, and liked her enough to want to keep her. Perhaps her parents haven’t gotten around to taking her to a vet, where they might discover her microchip. I tell myself this to keep me from completely melting down, because I know firsthand about coyotes and cars, having worked in an ER. I can’t bear to imagine- I just can’t.
I think about that, and I get angry at myself for letting her slip out.
I think about the $1000 I spent last month fixing her resorptive teeth lesions, and I get mad at her for repaying me by getting eaten a month later. Then I get mad at myself for getting mad about that.
I get mad at myself for not blogging about her more, because cats are hard to photograph and a little harder to write about. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her any less. She was with me from my sophomore year in veterinary school, my sweet talkative little cuddler who managed to absorb three dogs and two kids into her life with nary a squawk. The house is terribly quiet without her here.
I think back to how relieved I was when she made it through her anesthesia last month, worried that Kevin was lurking nearby, angling to hurt me yet again. And then I get REALLY mad. Spitting mad. I’ve managed to shepherd 4 animals for 7 years without a single problem, then in an 8 month period I go through this.
I haven’t said anything about this all week in the hopes that she would show up one evening, chirruping and weaving in and out between my feet like she always does. I’d gently scold her, then give her a huge hug and a big can of food, then we’d all have a good relieved laugh. That’s what happened to everyone else I’ve talked to. I’ve been going out every night, shaking cans and treats, calling her name. Yelling it, then calling it, then whispering it. Callie! Callie? …callie…. But all I hear in response are crickets, leaves skipping across the pavement.
If it weren’t me this was happening to I would secretly harbor suspicions of Munchausens by Internet. As it is, I have to suspect my enemies have placed a curse on me, though I have no enemies that I know of. If I knew a voodoo priest, I would seriously consider looking into the curse thing. If I believed in psychics, I would ask one to tell me what happened.
As it stands, all I have is myself and the dull knowledge that the chances are great that Mulan and Emmett have been reunited with their feline buddy, and all I can do is cry. So we’re going with the little girl in the next neighborhood theory, OK?