About a week ago, Cat disappeared. She’s been an outside pet for years (there was no stopping her, believe me) and I didn’t worry at first—she’s been known to wander, and in the hot weather we had recently she barely came inside, preferring to lounge in the grass and absorb heat into her fur.

She always comes home at night, though, in order to power the contents of her food bowl and meander off to yowl at top volume outside Dylan’s room. After a couple days went by without seeing her we started thinking, hmmmm.

Once, after returning from a vacation during which we elected to leave out food and water (and a slightly opened window to the utility room, unsafe as that probably was) instead of boarding her, she didn’t come home for a few days and I thought the worst. Eventually she returned, a little scraggly-looking and extra raspy-voiced, but no worse for wear, and I’ve been hoping for the same happy outcome to this situation . . . but it’s been so long, and this time we’ve been home the whole time.

I’ve done the unpleasant missing-pet tasks: driving around looking for her, posting flyers in the neighborhood, calling the pet hotline, placing an ad on Craigslist. Yesterday I went to the local animal shelter and looked through their found pet reports and peered at all the jailed cats—so many friendly animals coming alive in my presence and issuing forth mrows and blrrrts and sticking paws through the mesh of their cages; me knowing some (all?) of them are surely doomed to euthanization—and they told me to keep checking back, sometimes cats don’t get picked up and taken to shelters for months, but keep in mind they’re only held for 72 hours. Jesus.

As each day goes by without her coming home I feel worse, guilty (no collar! No microchip!) and sad and jumping at every outside noise and rushing to the window. I hate not knowing, and the idea that I might never know, that she might never come home and we’ll never, ever know what happened to her . . . oh, it just sucks.

Every day when I’d come home from work she would emerge from her hiding place in the bushes along our front walk and accompany me to the front door, where sometimes she’d come in and sometimes the cacophony of shouting children would send her back out onto the lawn, where she’d roll and stretch and wait for things to quiet down. For a week I’ve been pulling in the driveway, and she’s not there. I keep looking out the living room window and she’s not there.


We turned the cat food auto-dispenser off so it would stop dumping food into a bowl no one is eating out of. Her bed is empty.


I was hesitating to write anything about her being gone, thinking, oh, she’ll probably show up as soon as I hit publish and won’t I feel silly then. But now I would very much like to feel silly. I would like to once again be driven half out of my skull by a pet who wants in, who wants out, who meows outside doors and bedroom windows, who occasionally crawls inside the dog’s food container to take a stealthy shit, who has been a giant pain in my ass ever since I took her home from the shelter when she was a tiny, evil kitten; who has lived with me in houses, apartments; in Corvallis, Portland, Las Vegas, Seattle; who has been a part of my life for over ten years.

“Where do you think Cat is?” I asked Riley a couple days ago, because I secretly believe children know everything we don’t.

“I think she DIED,” he said. “Because she’s old like Grandpa’s cat.”

“Well, no, she wasn’t that old,” I told him.

“Oh,” he said, and thought for a moment. “Then I think she’s on a cat vacation.”

I hope so. I hope she’s having a good time. And I hope she comes home soon.











181 Responses to “Cat”

  1. Celtickat on August 14th, 2009 4:45 pm

    Been there. I have an older cat, like yours. She’s been with me thru the good times and the bad – like yours. Can’t imagine life without her – like you.
    God bless & may she come home very, very soon.

  2. Swistle on August 14th, 2009 7:14 pm

    I keep thinking and thinking about this. Awful.

  3. Ashley on August 14th, 2009 7:17 pm

    I’m with you Swistle, I just stopped by hoping for a big giant UPDATE! FOUND! at the top :(

  4. Chris on August 14th, 2009 8:58 pm

    My fingers are crossed… my cat disappeared for 6 months once, not a sign of him, then one day he just showed back up. I hope the same for you and Cat.

  5. Kristi on August 14th, 2009 8:59 pm

    I’m sorry – that waiting and wondering thing just sucks giant ass! My kitty is 13 – and once, a few years ago, she was gone for 2 weeks before returning. My animals give me as much gray hair (and joy) as my kiddos. Sending hugs your way – that is so hard to go through.

  6. Amanda on August 15th, 2009 3:51 am

    Oh so sad – I hope Cat comes home very very soon!

  7. Lori O on August 15th, 2009 8:03 am

    I don’t care much about cats (dog lover here), and I of course don’t know your cat personally, but this posts makes me all teary-eyed and sad for you.

  8. Maria on August 15th, 2009 9:37 am

    I’m so sorry.

    I didn’t even think I liked my cat that much until he died.

    Cats are weird like that.

    Come home, Cat.

  9. Sassy on August 15th, 2009 10:44 am

    From all your stories of Cat over the years, it sounds like she likes to remind you on a regular basis that she is in charge (as do most cats). Perhaps she’s doing the ultimate version here in stubbornness and will be all proud of herself when she returns and looks at you to say, ” How do you like me NOW!?!? ”

    Here’s another vote for this being a Cat vacation (“I can has vacation?”), and to hoping she comes back once she feels her point has been made.

  10. Chris on August 15th, 2009 12:14 pm

    we had an old red cat that just showed up one day and stayed, then just as he came, he went. and i couldn’t bear it. my boy loved him so. I think I made up some bs story about him going to live with another family for a while, which seemed to appease him…sort of a cat vacation, just like Riley said.

  11. Penny on August 15th, 2009 2:16 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry. I have cats too, and love them and would feel the same way if they went missing.

    And still, I laughed at those pictures because Cat looks so pissed off in every one of them.

    I hope he’s just on vacation too.

  12. sooboo on August 15th, 2009 3:07 pm

    Maybe it got too loud at your place and Cat found a quieter spot close by. That’s how we got one of our cats. Then it got too loud at our place and she moved onto the neighbors place, but does come around for food. If they fed her more, I’ll bet we’d never see her.

  13. Jen on August 15th, 2009 7:45 pm

    I hope she comes home soon.

  14. Deanna on August 16th, 2009 4:24 am

    As a cat owner I known nothing I can say will make you feel better. I know how hard this is.
    My feel good story (in case it can make you at least smile a teeny bit) is my cat Thompson was gone 1 week shy of 2 years. He’d gone the 9 miles (through country and city etc)back to our old house. The shelter called and we could not believe it. He was even profiled on the news.

  15. kristi on August 16th, 2009 5:47 am


  16. Anais on August 16th, 2009 10:44 am

    I’m sorry about Cat! I truly hope she comes home soon.

  17. Jen on August 16th, 2009 11:45 am

    I really hope cat comes home soon… :(

  18. Linda on August 16th, 2009 12:45 pm

    Delurking to mention that when I was a kid, one of our cats, Mr. Cat, came home after being gone for 10 years! He decided to live with a family down the street for a little while (we had no idea), and then turned up one day as though he’d never been gone.

    I hope Cat returns sooner than that, happy and healthy and with a tale to spin.

  19. Heather on August 16th, 2009 3:45 pm

    I’m delurking to say that I too am compulsively checking, hoping for an “UPDATE: FOUND” on top of your page, and each time it’s not there, I get a little more sad.

    I’m so sorry. Here’s one more hoping for a cat vacation.

  20. Megan on August 16th, 2009 8:18 pm

    Oh, Cat! Come home, damn you!

  21. Karl on August 16th, 2009 11:06 pm

    Daughter has cats (we don’t). Her inside cat vanished recently, for 3 months, and the reappeared as if nothing had happened. I hope your cat returns.

  22. Jakki on August 17th, 2009 6:42 am

    It WOULD take a lost cat post to take me out of stalker mode…my cat is an inside cat but he loves to go out and play like he’s the king of the ‘jungle’. He does leave nd eventually he pops up, eyes, glowing looking the a window. Scares the crap out of me, and I ‘get’on him but deep down I’m always glad he comes back. Let us know WHEN she comes back….

  23. Gina on August 17th, 2009 8:34 am

    I hope you get to feel silly, too. I worry about my cat all the time. He came to us as a stray and it’s impossible to keep him fully indoors.

  24. Quiana on August 17th, 2009 12:54 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about Cat.

    I hope she comes home soon.

  25. breckgirl on August 17th, 2009 1:55 pm

    Don’t give up hope. You know, our cat Mocha is the same way and she, too, has disappeared in the past… We always discovered that when she did not come back, it was because she was trapped somewhere she could not get out of – the neighbor’s garage, a storage unit, under a hot tub, etc. So be sure to look in places where she might be stuck – do any of your neighbors have sheds or decks with closures? You THINK you might hear her, but if she is weakened, you may not. Sorry – you know I had a friend whose cat got trapped under a hot tub (in the enclosed space) and that damned cat lived under there for over 2 weeks. She was skinny but she was alive! So don’t lose hope. Do more poking about on foot and examine your neighbors’ property, if they will let you.

    Good luck – I know that sucks shit.

  26. Kerri on August 20th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Come home, kitty cat. :(

  27. mary baginski on August 22nd, 2009 5:59 am

    i’m teary. don’t give up…I can totally relate,shaking the damn treats. I even grabbed somebody else’s cat. I was that desperate. My husband loves sharing the details of that winner. we went on our honeymoon and for 3 months our Gobi from Arlington, WA cat full o cats then Xcounty to Bflo. He found a nice lady who fed him and a place for respite. He’s on a holiday for sure!

  28. Lena on August 24th, 2009 1:51 pm

    During my blogging hiatus my dear kitty cat went missing. It was incredibly painful and not being able to write about it was even worse. I did the whole drive around the neighborhood crying and shaking treats thing for about a month.

    When we moved from that house 8 months later I had a big ugly cry just for Jack.

    I’m so sorry.

  29. LaCrowe on September 2nd, 2009 1:07 pm

    Having just gone through this with our cat of 10 years a *week* ago, I think hearing everyone’s stories of their cousin’s boss’ cat who ran away for a month but then came back makes your situation even worse. My cat’s story didn’t end well; we were devastated. He was my first baby. And then I had to decide what to tell my 2nd & 3rd babies (my 2 kids–oldest age 3.5). My son isn’t buying the “cat ran away to make his own family” story. Choose carefully your words to your own kids. I’m so sorry. For what it’s worth, signs seemed most helpful for us–people all over (strangers) were calling, stopping me on the street, asking about him. So they’re worth the effort. Our thoughts are with you and your lost buddy.

  30. Maggie on September 7th, 2009 8:48 am

    I hope your kitty comes home. My boyfriend found a kitten 3 years ago running in and out of a gas station in downtown MLps, at the time we lived with his parents and couldnt keep her. My sister took her in, after 3 years we got her back. After a week of being at our apt, she jumped off the deck and dissappered, I looked for weeks, she’s a little cat (looks like 5-6 mo old kitten) so everybody just thought she was dead. We told oursevles she will be back when its cold. We moved at the end of Aug 09, (missing 3 months then) we had been moved a week to the day, I went to visit some of my old neighbors, and was about to leave, I said if you see Hope you grab her and call me, I know shes going to come back when it gets cold. Within mintues of saying her name Hope, up the sidewalk form the edge of the woods comes a cat, I called her she turn it was too dark to know for sure, I sat of the sidewalk with a bag of treats calling her, I was ready to cry cause she wouldnt come close to me, I know it was her, I was able to pet her so I grabbed her, the neighbor grabbed my bag and got out my car keys, in the car she went. Called my boyfriend he was as happy as a little kid, and my sister who cryed, and said she wants her back. The cat is so loving and happy to be with us at his parents while we wait for our new place to be open, (40 min drive away). She needed a bath and flea drops (missing hair on head and neck), and skinny. We were worried she had left a litter of kittens some where, but I think she came home just in time to have them, the little brat dissappered 3 days before going to the vet to be fixed and get shots. This week shes going to the vet and if shes having a litter we want to keep one and let my sister have her back. I named her Hope, because she had hope in my boyfreind that he was finding her a home. I still cant beleive that the last time I stop to visit, here she comes, like dont forget me. Keep hope, as it gets cold they do come home. Just keep Hope!

  31. reann on July 27th, 2010 3:02 pm

    hope u found your cat
    please tell me she came home

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