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?
Oh Dr. V! *cries* I’m hoping for the little girl theory too. Sending you good internet vibes and hugs, I can’t imagine anyone spreading a curse on someone who does so much good.
Don’t lose hope yet. The very same situation happened to my family with our spoiled and beloved 10 year old Siamese, Boo.
He had literally never been free out of doors, but one day he slipped out somehow and as a declawed (by original owner…we adopted him at 6 months) neutered and very sheltered kitty lost in a coyote filled wooded area, after two days of searching we assumed the worst and spent a lot of time grieving and blaming ourselves.
Five days later I was checking the lock on the back door before bed and heard an odd sound outside.
I opened the door and there sat a very much alive and grumpy Boo cat complaining bitterly on the step.
He was thinner, filthy and hungry and thirsty, but otherwise healthy and rather annoyed at the huge amount of relieved affection he got from us all.
I really hope that your story turns out as well, my thoughts are with you.
Oh! I’m so sorry. I know that doesn’t help, but know that there are people out there thinking of you. I have been in this spot. My Zen cat disappeared. I still hold out hope that he found a new, safe home. It helps.
Kate @ Savour Fare says
Man. My parents had the best cat, Calvin, who spent most of his time indoors but liked to slip out when my dad got the morning paper and patrol the perimeter, slinking down the driveway. One morning he didn’t come back in. A big orange love of a guy.
I am so sorry. 🙁 I know what you mean about the cats and not being as photogenic or easy to write about. We have two cats as well, and I don’t think my co-workers even know that I have them (one for 8 years even!)… but they definitely know about my dogs. It’s not that we don’t love them any less, of course, but they are just so much more independent!
Keeping good thoughts that the little girl in the neighborhood has a new cuddle buddy.
This happened to Brian’s cat (who turned into Brian’s parents’ cat after college) last year when we happened to be visiting for his grandmother’s funeral. We were devastated as we all loved him. It’s so hard not knowing where they went. I’ll still hold out hope that she turns up.
I’m so sorry. I’ve been hoping that no news was good news. I still hold out hope for you. I heard that there was no more room at Kevin’s so I think the little good theory is a good one.
Little GIRL theory, not little good.
Meant to also say that I’ve heard nightmares about people being negligent in scanning the chip so don’t give up on your due diligence. I have the sneaking suspicion you wouldn’t but you know, I like to preach to the choir 😉
Have you placed her food near your house? I’m not well versed in cat returns but I know of someone that was doing that for their cat, also an indoor cat that was sort of spooked. Because of how beautiful Callie was and well taken care, I have a feeling that she was picked up by someone. And maybe they aren’t knowledgeable about microchip scanning. *paws crossed* your girl shows up soon.
I’d be careful about leaving out cat food in an area with coyotes. If Callie did come back it would be awful if the yard had turned into a stop on the nightly coyote route.
🙁 I’ll hope for the best.
I’m sorry. I hope she returns home to you soon.
I’m delurking to share a story from my childhood… back in the ’80s, people weren’t as careful about keeping cats indoors, and we had indoor/outdoor cats for many years. One of our beautiful cats, Amos, decided to go walkabout – and was gone for 3 weeks. My parents called all the neighbors, combed nearby neighborhoods for signs of him, put posters up all over the place, and even put an ad in the paper. It was that ad that did it… a family that lived over 3 miles away called us the day it ran to say they had found Amos hanging around the culvert at the end of their driveway with an injured tail, but otherwise no worse for the wear. He never ever went walkabout again after that. I hope Callie finds her way home to you – I’ve never lost a pet (not in that way, though Kevin has spent his fair share of time at my house, too), and I can’t imagine how it must feel.
crap! crap crap crap! Sometimes it is soooo hard… crap! ( I say that because I cant say what I really want to say.
Georgia Jewel says
The Georgia Jewel animals all have our paws crossed for you. Please go home, Callie!
Awww. Been there. Don’t beat yourself up. Busy moms (I have two, too) sometimes can’t be here, there, everywhere for all of our pets and people. It happens. :-/
We have the same worries where I live (esp coyotes), When I had a cat go missing, I looked and looked. I feared The Worst. Finally thought to check the small barn. The door was cracked, but not enough for her to get back out. Argh. A happy reunion, and she was fine. I hope the same for your Callie! Anywhere she could have climbed into – to escape the heat?
Sending you some Big Hugs and some stinky kisses from my dog Fanny. This totally SUCKS and i’m hoping that Callie will find her way home to you guys.
Hang in there!
I’m so sorry to hear this. 🙁 I’ll be sending good thoughts your way.
Aw, geez, you just can’t seem to catch a break. I’ve had two different friends have indoor cats slip out and god missing for over a week – in both cases the cats had slipped into outdoor sheds and been accidentally locked there. Maybe comb the neighborhood to look for houses with sheds out back (or really even garages would be worth scoping out too if they don’t sit open much of the time) and ask their owners if you could check? I assume there are posters up and all the local vets and shelters have been informed / canvassed?
I hope Callie is with the same sweet little girl whom I choose to believe took in my cat Willie when she didn’t come home one night. 🙁
Georgia Jewel says
Dr. V, I know it won’t help, but I, too , feel like a horrible pet parent. In addition to losing both my corgis within the last 2 month, I woke up last September to my seemingly healthy kitty , Triscuit, dead on the bathroom floor. He was only 6 and had shown no singns of illness. 1 year and 3 broken hearts. It’s no wonder I’ve been stress eating.
Still saying prayers for Callie here in the Peach State.
Growing up in a family of many, many cats we too had a cat that vanished one day. Mind you this was 20 years ago and, we lived on a dead end where there were endless bushes where she could have easily lost her bearings. She was very overweight, a bully at dinner time and would snatch any morsel available. She was gone for 2-3 months and we had all but given up hope when she appears back at our house slim and trim.
I still say you canvas your neighborhood and call out her name. She may be in someone’s garage or shed and is too scared to come out. Sending good thoughts that Callie finds her way home.
My Mom had a cat named ‘Fluffy’ when she was about 7 years old. Every time my Grandmother called the vet’s to have her spayed, Fluffy ran away. Well, eventually she didn’t come back, and they thought the worst. About 3 years later, my Mom was visiting her friend who lived down the hill. Guess who’d found Fluffy? After my Mom said, ‘Gee, that looks like Fluffy!’, the girl told her they had found the cat wandering around. And, ‘Fluffy’ had several litters of kittens, so she obviously wasn’t spayed. So, the little girl theory is still possible.
I’m so sorry about Callie. 🙁
Good thoughts for both of you.
I’m so sorry. I agree with one of the other posters in that it’s be worth printing off flyers to distribute in the neighbourhood, specifically asking that people check sheds, garages and other outbuildings. Callie may have gotten scared and found a refuge she now can’t get out of. Hope she returns to you. Take care.
Kimberly in OH says
I’m so sorry to hear this. Before I met my husband, he had a black lab named Thor that went missing while he was away for some military training. The neighbor was meant to be watching Thor, but he just went missing one day and never came back. This was over 10 years ago, but we like to think that Thor ended up with a loving family that was able to devote endless attention to him.
I’m sending happy vibes and thoughts your way for Callie and you!
Same thing happened to me. Burger (short for “Hamburger”… that’s what u get when you ask a 3 yr old to name the new pet). Burger went missing for 7 days. We posted signs everywhere. She was an indoor cat too. We thought the worst and on the 7th night she hopped in the back room window close to midnight and slept on my bed for 2 days straight. Next day we had her microchipped and fitted her with a collar with a little bell so we could hear where she was. I hope the best for her safe return.
I adopted this cat from the SPCA, big handsome black and white maine coon. We couldn’t figure out what to name him, ended up calling him “kitty” for so long that it just stuck. His name is Kitteh.
Anyways, second night we had him, the little bastard figured out how to open the window and took off for 2 days. I was distraught, wandering up and down the streets at 4am calling for a cat that didn’t even know his name, bawling cause I felt like such an awful owner. If only I’d locked the window, if only I’d gone to bed later, if only if only if only…
I woke up 2 days later and there he was, sleeping beside my pillow. He’d let himself back in through the window and gone to sleep like nothing had happened. I kept my window locked after that, crafty bugger.
I have faith that she’ll show up sooner or later, if Kitteh could find his way home after being freshly adopted, Callie’s definitely going to know where she needs to be. They have good survival instincts. My heart goes out to you, though, it’s awful when a pet goes missing.