Cat

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.

frontwalk

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.

catbed

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.

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heather
heather
13 years ago

sigh. i’m so sorry. sometimes the not knowing is the worst. let’s just choose to believe riley’s point of view: cat vacation.

tanya
tanya
13 years ago

That breaks my heart. I know how it is, loving them, losing them, finding them, losing them. Your pictures are great – you can see what a part of your lives she has been. Fingers crossed.

Melinda
Melinda
13 years ago

Dammit CAT! Come home!

samantha jo campen
13 years ago

That picture of her looking in through the window has always been my favorite of her.

God I’m just so sorry. I REALLY hope you find her. Like, I’ve been thinking of you guys ever since you posted it on twitter.

XOXO

Emma
Emma
13 years ago

Oh, I hope you find yourself feeling really very silly soon!

JennB
JennB
13 years ago

We lost Parker’s cat last summer, she (Jelly) had mandated that she was to be an outdoor cat and one night she didn’t come home. We had warned Parker that if she was to be an outdoor cat that something might happen to her, and when she didn’t come back for a week, and then two, then a month, we know that happened.

Parker had a funny response (funny as a 3-year-old) and very frank, but I don’t want to upset you any more than you probably are.

So I’ll second the notion of Cat on vacation.

Shannon
13 years ago

:-( Hope kitty makes it back soon. Hugs.

Beautiful pics.

Amy M.
Amy M.
13 years ago

I’m sorry. I hope she wanders back soon with a great story. Good luck!

The Gray Panther
The Gray Panther
13 years ago

I hope so too. I remember the time in Portland when you left your door open hoping she would return, and when you came home she had, along with several others she had met in route.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

Oh Cat, come home soon!

I really hope she is on a cat vacation just like Riley said.

IdleMindOfBeth
13 years ago

Keeping Cat, and all of you, in my thoughts. Here’s hoping for a quick return from vacation with stories of wild parties and the BEST CATNIP E.V.E.R.!

Amanda
13 years ago

One of my cats goes on cat vacation every once in awhile. He’s been gone up to two weeks before.

Mine love the outdoors too. As soon as it’s dark they mrow to go out and are pacing in front of the door mrowing to come in as soon as they hear our alarm go off in the morning.

I’m hoping Cat is enjoying her vacation and returns to you soon!

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

Awwwww, I hope so too. As a card carrying cat person, I really empathize with you. ((hugs))

Beth Fish
13 years ago

Have you checked the airport? We had a cat disappear once, and I later dreamed that he was living behind the airport with hobos who feed him hotdogs. Stupid, assuredly, but I’ve decided to cling to the idea.

Alexa
13 years ago

Oh CAT! I keep hoping and hoping to hear she’s back. I’m so sorry. This is awful. Come home Cat! We miss you!

Liz Brooks
13 years ago

This makes my heart hurt a little bit. Keep us updated.

Dianna
13 years ago

I’m so sorry. She is a pretty cat, too. Hope she finds her way home soon.

ChrisC.
13 years ago

I’m so sorry to hear about Cat. I went through something very similar with my cat, Scout, last year, and the not knowing is SO hard. I’ll be thinking lots of Cat-come-home thoughts for you.

jen
jen
13 years ago

Oh I am so sorry! Hopefully hitting the publish button today will be the trick. Cat vacation…it is August afterall.

Also, they only keep them 72 hours?!? That seems like, not very long, particularly considering pets could be lost for months before being brought in. That makes me so so sad.

Kristen
13 years ago

Oh, man. I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I’m still sobbing. I’m so sorry you and your family have to go through this, but maybe Cat is really just on a fun vacation. I hope so. Those pictures are beautiful and inspire me to get my camera out to take more pics of our furry little ones.

oregoncoastgirl
oregoncoastgirl
13 years ago

Yes, it does suck. I’m sorry. Hoping she is catcation as well.

Brenna
Brenna
13 years ago

Oh, Cat. Come home.

Ours has done this a few times, once for so long that we were sure that coyotes had got her. But she has always returned. Except for that one time that she wasn’t gone at all, but rather trapped in the ductwork.

Don’t give up hope yet.

AndreAnna
13 years ago

Ugh, Poor Cat! One of my mother’s neighbors stole her cat when they moved. At least that’s a happier outcome to think about, eh?

I hope she comes home soon.

Stephanie
Stephanie
13 years ago

Way to make me cry right here at work. So sorry about Cat. I lost one the same way last year and, though I hate to say this, I cry a little for him almost every day. I sure hope Cat comes home soon.

Michele
Michele
13 years ago

I am so sorry, Linda. I don’t comment often, but oh, I’m so sorry for you.

It’s been four years since my cat ran away (my brother thought the screen door closed behind him – THERE WAS NO SCREEN DOOR), and the thought of him still sends me into a hysterical mess of tears and snot. I’m sitting at work crying over the cat that’s been missing four years, my GOD.

ANYways, I’m sorry. You’re in my thoughts, and I’m willing Cat to come home now.

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

I hate this for you. I’ve been there, once the cat came back after two weeks and once, well, she didn’t. That’s the shit of it with cats. You never know when to stop being hopeful. There’s a feeling that you’re betraying them if you give up too soon and then they REALLY won’t come back because now they know what a traitor you are.

I hope she comes home soon.

Lawyerish
13 years ago

Oh. OH. Sad Pet Things absolutely slay me. I hate this for you.

Add me to the crowd that believes she’ll show up out of the blue, all nonchalant, as if no time had passed. I hope you get to snuggle her soon.

Michelle
13 years ago

Oh, Cat. Please come home. I’m going with Riley’s vacation theory, too, and keeping my fingers crossed that your friend will meet you in the driveway soon.

beanery
beanery
13 years ago

I’m sorry your cat is missing. I hope she returns soon. I had a dog disappear as a kid and my sister and I stayed hopeful for years. My sister was convinced she ran off to Hollywood to have lots of fun adventures without us. Maybe your cat is off living a similar glamorous life?

Jill
13 years ago

Poor Cat! I hope she finds her way home soon.

Bill
13 years ago

Well I’ll be honest – I’m really not a cat person. But those pictures of Cat with the kids make her look like a dog (consider that the highest compliment I can give, because when it comes to pets it is).

I hope she cuts her vacation short and comes home soon.

sharon
sharon
13 years ago

I’m so sorry. I had a dog that left and never returned and it’s so hard not knowing. I hope she comes back.

Kate
13 years ago

Gack. The NOT KNOWING. So awful and painful and torturous. Love the pictures of Cat, especially the last two. I too have many, many pictures of my cats, as I am aspiring to be a crazy old cat lady.

Hope you get a great surprise very, very soon – Cat returning from her cat vacation. Everything’s crossed for you!

Sande
Sande
13 years ago

Cat come home!! If she doesn’t come home, I will ship you my 17-year old cat who is currently in Senior Cat Jail. Instead of shitting in Dog’s food dish, she will puke in it. That could be a welcome change. Plus my cat looks just like Cat. You won’t know the difference. She is EVIL too!

Seriously though, I hope Cat comes home. On the brighter side, my mother in law takes “stranded” cats in. If they stay around her place for more than 48-hours, then she takes them in and calls them hers. Maybe some old lady like my MIL did the same with Cat.

Here’s hoping hitting the publish button worked. And let me know if you want my old cat. :o) She’s free…..

Amalah
13 years ago

What a shit week for pets.

Come home, Cat. Please come home.

serror
serror
13 years ago

So sorry about cat… My friend’s cat just went on cat vacation and disappeared for two weeks and then showed up kinda rumpled and loud. I hope your kitty comes back!

Kristen
Kristen
13 years ago

Oh Cat! I hope she comes home soon, Cat Vacations can’t go on forever. I can’t take any more tearing up over a cat I don’t even know, but still love a little bit.

Claudia
13 years ago

Aw. We lost our cat Oscar in May. He was hit by a car and I discovered *the body* on the side of the road. Which was awful. I hope you find cat….however you find him, if only for closure. But, I do hope he turns up alive and well very soon.

Marie Green
13 years ago

You know I’ve been thinking about Cat for days too, due to your twitters. A couple of years ago our kitty Chloe must have slipped outside (she went out some, but was very timid and scared of vehicles and noises and usually either hid in our bushes or darted back in) while we were loading the car for a camping trip.

We *meant* to call our neighbor to give them the heads up, and tell them to let her in if they saw her, but when we got to the campground we had little/no cell reception and, well, we sorta just forgot about it.

Turns out, she WAS outside when we left, b/c our neighbor DID see her, but didn’t know we were gone.

We’ve never seen her since, and it still haunts me. The NOT KNOWING just drives me INSANE. I mean, I can really except that she got hit by a car and died swiftly… but anything else… *SHUDDER*

I held out hope (still do sometimes) that someone took her in and was holding her hostage, not knowing we were looking for her. I picture her plotting her escape, waiting for that door to be left open…

I’m so sorry. That’s what I’m saying.

Jenny
13 years ago

Keeping Cat in my thoughts. A roommate’s cat once went off on an extended vay-cay and suddenly reappeared, a little skinny but otherwise no worse for wear, well after we’d given up. So I’m hopeful for y’all.

Kym
Kym
13 years ago

I LOVE those pictures of her! My heart goes out to you, hope she returns safe and soon!! Keep us posted :)

Accidental Olympian
13 years ago

I love how honest children are. Options for disappearance, dead, or on vacation.

The pictures really did me in. I truly hope Cat returns…

cindy w
13 years ago

Oh, this sucks. I’m so sorry.

When we lived in Seattle (well, Duvall), our cat disappeared for 3 weeks. We thought surely a coyote had gotten her. Our other cat was driving us insane with his yowling because he missed her, so my husband went to a shelter & got another cat, so our remaining cat could have a friend. Literally within minutes of getting the new cat to our house, the missing cat showed up. I kid you not.

Cat vacation sounds nice. Maybe she’s on a little kitty cruise. Sampling the finest seafood and drinking tuna juice margaritas with tiny umbrellas in them.

Redbecca
Redbecca
13 years ago

I’m sending “come home Cat” signals out right now. Oh wait, I live in DC. How about “Go home, Cat” instead.
One of ours is sick and we are in the midst of spending our “Hi thanks for buying a house here is some money” check from Mr. Obama on him. Sigh. I’m never going to get that new car.

Suzy Voices
13 years ago

Oh, she is soooooo beautiful!!! Praying she comes home soon. I, too know exactly what you’re going through!

geri
geri
13 years ago

Linda, I’m so sorry Cat is missing. It’s so hard to lose a pet no matter what the circumstances, and the uncertainty must make it all worse. I really hope Riley is right and she’s just on an extended cat vacation, enjoying fruity beverages and snacking on mousey appetizers on a tropical beach, or whatever cats do for fun.

Stephanie
Stephanie
13 years ago

I hope Cat comes home soon. My inlaws’ cat was gone for about 2 years and reappeared one day. We think someone took him in and made him an indoor cat and one day he just escaped..so there is hope.

birdgal (another amy)
birdgal (another amy)
13 years ago

Cat is EXACTLY like my feline sidekick and this type of situation is just what I worry about happening. Here’s hoping Cat finds her way home….

Erica W
Erica W
13 years ago

This is not exactly the same, but we have three chickens at our house in Seattle, and we let them out to wander around the yard a few times a week. One of them, the little one, didn’t come back one evening.

She had been gone for two months when our backyard neighbors (who also have chickens) went out on their porch to find a cardboard box with our chicken in it. No note, no idea where she’s been, and she had a shoelace tied around her leg…

We were 100% positive she was gone for good. I hope something amazing happens to get Cat returned to you.

janet
13 years ago

I’m sorry about Cat. I generally believe that when cats go missing, they are just at kitty summer camp, making lanyards and eating smores. Or so I tell myself…

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